The D.C. Area's Most Popular Athlete: Here's a Hint, He Isn't a Redskin

Josh McCainSenior Writer ISeptember 16, 2009

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 18:  Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals poses with the Lester B. Pearson Award, the Hart Trophy and the Maurice Richard Trophy following the 2009 NHL Awards at the Palms Casino Resort on June 18, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images for NHL)

Hello there. loyal readers. Hopefully your Wednesday has been more exciting than mine, but that's okay, because my boring day gave me time to come up with a new article just for you.

Lately, here in our nation's capital, there has been a debate going round about "who is the more popular athlete in D.C?"

Frankly, it’s a good one.  Over the past 30 years or so, this could also be called "who is the most popular Redskin?" since football has dominated here for so long. 

In the '70s, the title was held by Sonny Jurgenson, '80s it was Riggo, and the '90s were split between Art Monk and Darrell Green, respectfully.

However, at the turn of the century, something strange happened.  The very popular owner Jack Kent Cooke past away, and it seemed when he died so did the Redskins. 

You see, for those of you who don't know, a tiny little miser named Dan Snyder bought the team and a revolving door of high priced, and passed their prime talent came waltzing in and then quickly out.

None of these guys had a chance to become popular with fans.

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Then another funny thing happened just a couple of years ago.  A small hockey team (some of you may have heard of them) called the Washington Capitals drafted a young man from Russia.

His name: Alexander Ovechkin.

His rookie season was cut drastically short, zero games, thanks to the lockout, so everyone would have to wait a whole year to see this phenom.

That next season saw something no one thought possible.  People going to hockey games.

The "Great 8"'s raw passion and pure excitement for the game was electrifying.  Even with a losing record people came out in droves to see the kid play. 

The last two seasons, though ending in defeat to rivals in the playoffs have seen hockey in DC take of faster than any other sport outside of football.  Not only that is has broken the Redskins' strangle hold on having the most popular player in town.

Sure the Redskins, as a team, are the biggest draw, but even the likes of Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley (arguably the most popular Redskins) concede that Ovie is the most popular sports figure in the area.

So, Alex, I say to you (lets face it we all know he reads my articles) congratulations on another dominate year on the ice and at the NHL Awards, and I hope to see you raise Lord Stanley's Cup next season.

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