Celebrating the Best Sports Moments of 2008
2008 saw many exciting moments in sports by individuals and teams alike. In a year where the economy was down and people's way of life changed drastically, there were sports to lift them up.
We saw a kid from Baltimore shatter Olympic records in a mere eight days.
We saw a Giants team take on the mighty Patriots in the Super Bowl and come out on top.
We saw the Boston Celtics take the NBA by storm and bring back a championship after a long drought.
We saw a former drug addict relaunch his career in baseball, and gave fans one of the best Home Run Derbies ever played.
We saw the fallout of the 'Mitchell Report' and an effort to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.
We saw a young team from Tampa take the baseball world by surprise and make it to the World Series after only ten years as an organization.
The list goes on and on of all the amazing, stunning, and compelling moments in sports for 2008.
Here's a chance to look back on many of them as a reminder that when everything else is going bad, sports can lift us up at the times we need it the most.
Giants Beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl
David Tyree made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history as Eli Manning scrambled to find the open man. Tyree provided the Giants with a big first down that eventually led to their win over Tom Brady and the heavily favored Patriots.
Fall Out from the Mitchell Report
At the end of 2007, Senator George Mitchell released a report he'd been conducting for well over a year on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. His report included a list of players who were suspected users. Some of the biggest names on that list were Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Miguel Tejada. The following weeks would see the effort of Clemens to clear his name, his former personal trainer going against him, and Andy Pettitte looking for forgiveness. Not exactly the best way to start off a season--just ask Andy--he went 14-14 in 2008 something he never does.
Stephen Curry puts Davidson on the Map
Stephen Curry had all eyes on him during the NCAA tournament this year. The point guard put on impressive shooting shows game after game and kept Davidson in the tournament a lot longer than anyone could've expected.
Kansas downs Memphis in NCAA Championship
Kansas was a strong contender throughout the entire NCAA Championship, but as the tournament started winding down they were barely escaping with wins. Still, they managed to beat UNC and advance to the championship game against Memphis. Memphis looked like they had it all wrapped up, but then missed a bunch of free throws down the stretch and Kansas forced over time winning the National Championship in a most impressive fashion.
Big Brown Wins Kentucky Derby
Big Brown took the Kentucky Derby by storm, and became the seventh undefeated Derby winner in history. Jockey Kent Desormeaux got his third victory at the Derby, but all of this was overshadowed by the tragic, life ending injury to Eight Belles.
Celtics Bring Championship Back to Boston
For the 2007-2008 season, the Boston Celtics took the NBA by storm taking one team down at a time. They not only made it to the playoffs, but landed themselves in the championship against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. They defeated the mighty Lakers and brought Boston it's second championship a few months after the Red Sox won the World Series.
Tiger Woods Shows Why He's the Best
Bad knee? No problem when you're Tiger Woods. Tiger ousted Rocco Mediate in the 2008 US Open after being behind for much of the tournament. Woods made some of the most impressive shots to keep himself in the game, all on one leg and still ended up as the one with the trophy. It's tough being the best.
Nadal Finally Beats Federer at Wimbledon
It truly was the best against the best in this Wimbledon match up. Nadal has been waiting patiently to overtake the great Roger Federer and he did just that this past summer. The match had everything tennis fans could ask for—amazing serves, shots just making it in & of course a rain delay or two. It was the first match up of the summer between the two greats, and before the season changed there would be one more.
The Williams Sisters Battle It Out
Nothing says competition like a little family rivalry. The WIlliams sisters squared off again at the Wimbledon Championship Women's Final this summer. Venus ousted her sister to win her fifth straight Championship.
Spain Wins 2008 Euro World Cup
Spain put their soccer team back on the map by defeating Germany in the 2008 Euro World Cup. However, it was the quarter-final match against Italy that really got everyone's attention. Spain defeated the World Cup Champions to advance and bring a trophy back home.
Brett Favre Comes Out of Retirement & Gets Traded to the Jets
Brett Favre followed in the foot steps of Michael Jordan and Roger Clemens and claimed he was hanging it up after his last game in Green Bay in January '08. It was somewhat of a surprise when Favre announced he wasn't ready to walk away and then was traded to the Jets.
Josh Hamilton Makes the Home Run Derby Worth Watching
Josh Hamilton went from being a drug addict with no future in baseball, to one of the best offensive and most motivational players in 2008. Hamilton shattered the record for most home runs hit in the first round by blasting 28 and wowing the Yankee Stadium Crowd with each swing. Hamilton ended up losing to Justin Morneau in the third round, but he sure gave people a reason to cheer.
The Final All Star Game at Yankee Stadium
In typical Yankee fashion, the organization decided to invite a bunch of Hall of Famers onto the field for pre-game introductions. It honored the history, the present, and the future of baseball, as well as the House that Ruth Built all at once. It only took fifteen innings, but Michael Young hit the game winning RBI for the second year in a row to give the American League the win and secure home field advantage for the AL in the World Series for the 12th year in a row
Michael Phelps' Quest at the 2008 Summer Olympics
On August 9, Michael Phelps began his quest to pass Mark Spitz's record for 7 gold medals in a single Olympics. 8 days later Phelps had done the impossible and collected 8 gold medals for the only person to ever win 8 gold medals in a single Olympics.
US Women's Volley Ball Team Dominates And Takes Home the Gold
Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh dazzled the game of beach volleyball with their individual skills and amazing team work. The ladies breezed through most of the Olympics and then took on China for the gold and walked away victorious.
The US Men's Basketball Team Returns to Dream Team Glory
The last time the US Men's Basketball Team played in the Olympics they looked like a bunch of high school kids who couldn't get it together. They walked away with the Bronze in 2004, and everyone could see there was no togetherness with Team US. In Beijing though, the team returned to the glory of the 'Dream Team' days and crushed most of their opponents to take the gold back home to the US
The US Girls' Gymnastics Team Makes a Name for Themselves
It looked like China was going to take home all the Olympic gold medals in Women's Gymnastics, but Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin had other ideas. Liukin took home the silver medal in her individual program while Johnson won the gold. The girls proved that the underdogs can always find a way to get it done.
Dara Torres Still Has It At 41
Dara Torres demonstrated this summer that age is only a number. At 41, Torres showcased her skills in swimming and won two silver medals in Beijing. Torres proved that you can improve with age, and she plans to compete in 2012 because she hasn't "peaked" yet.
A Lightning Bolt
It seemed like every time you blinked sprinter Usain Bolt was shattering another world record and winning another gold medal. Bolt walked away with three gold medals and at 22, he is likely to only get better.
US Women's Softball Team Says Goodbye
The US Women's Softball team was heavily favored to win gold in Beijing. They were also told that this would be the last year softball would be a part of the Summer Olympics. They didn't walk away with the gold medal, but they did leave a lasting impression on the Summer Olympics by placing their cleets on the field to let the world know they had been there and they weren't going to go away quietly.
Roger Federer Bounces Back
Just a few months after losing Wimbledon to Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer proved that he's still got it. Federer won his fifth straight US Open
Serena Williams Is Back On Top
After losing to her sister at this year's Wimbledon, Serena Williams defeated Jelena Jankovic at the 2008 US Open for her ninth Grand Slam title. Not only did Williams put on an impressive match, but she regained the No. 1 ranking for women in tennis.
Tom Brady's Season is Over After One Game
The first game for the New England Patriots wasn't even half over when Tom Brady suffered a knee injury that forced him to leave the game, and ended up ending his season as well. The Pro-Bowl quarterback hadn't missed more than a few games over the past several years, and was leaving the offense in the surprisingly capable hands of QB Matt Cassel.
One Night & One More Time-Yankee Stadium Closes Its Doors
After 85 years, the House that Ruth Built closed its doors for the final time. The Yankee defeated the Orioles, but no doubt it was the pre-game ceremonies that featured past Yankee greats and honored those who have passed. Derek Jeter's salute to the fans at the end of the game was also another big moment on the night.
Mike Mussina Finally Wins #20
At 39, Mike Mussina became the oldest pitcher in history to get to 20 wins for the first time. After an awful 2007, Mussina bounced back in 2008 and served as the anchor for the Yankees' rotation. He went 20-7 on the year, and in November decided to hang up his cleets for good.
Tampa Bay Stuns the Sports World & Goes to the World Series
After ten years of being an organization, the Tampa Bay Rays, who have been the laughing stock of baseball emerged as a power house in the AL East. They defeated the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS with young pitching and timely hitting to win a trip to the World Series as the ultimate Cinderella team.
Phillies Win It All
After twenty plus years, the Philadelphia Phillies finally brought a championship trophy home. They defeated Tampa Bay in 5 games thanks mostly to the pitching of Cole Hammels, Jamie Moyer and Brad Lidge.
The Yankees Get a Jump Start on 2009
The 2008 off season was a serious time for the New York Yankees. After not making the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, the organization wasted no time going after top free agent pitchers CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. Sabathia and Burnett were signed to multi-year deals and are expected to help return the Bronx Bombers to glory for 2009.