Top Ten Sports Moments of 2008
10. Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 to become the first woman to win a major (NASCAR, Indy, Formula One) auto race.
9. Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine won his 300th game, then retired at the end of the season, to just about cement his selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame in five years. And if Randy Johnson signs a contract and can stay healthy for two to three months, he'll join Glavine next season on the list.
8. As of this writing, the Detroit Lions have yet to win a football game, meaning that they are closing in on reverse perfection as they attempt to become the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 for season.
7. Speaking of the NFL and perfection, the attempt by the New England Patriots to run the table and go a perfect 19-0 for the regular season and the playoffs was ruined in the Super Bowl when the New York Giants, led by Peyton Manning's younger brother Eli, pulled off the stunning last second upset to win the NFL's championship game.
6. But another team from New England took up the domination theme as the Boston Celtics stormed their way through the NBA regular season and the playoffs, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in the final series to win their first NBA Championship since some guy named Larry Bird was running around the Boston Garden in tight shorts.
5. In a sorry day for major league baseball, Roger Clemens appeared before Congress to testify under oath about his alleged steroid/HGH use. Clemens ratted out his wife as a user of HGH, but maintained his innocence.
4. The Tampa Bay Rays took the American League by surprise, winning not only more than 90 games for the first time in their history, but also winning more than 70 games for the first time in their history. They easily handled the Chicago White Sox in the first round of the playoffs, struggled against the Boston Red Sox, then advanced to the World Series where they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in a strange series of bad umpiring, new rules, and bad weather.
3. 2008 was the last year for softball in the Olympics, primarily because the US women were such a dominating team. Which, I guess, makes it appropriate that, in the last softball game ever played in Olympic competition, the U.S. women were defeated by Japan in an upset of "Miracle on Ice" dimensions.
2. Michael Phelps swam to world fame in the Olympics, becoming the first person to ever win eight gold medals in one Olympics. He sat world records in seven of the eight races -- he sat Olympic records in all eight -- and his seventh gold medal came in one of the closest finishes in history.
1. Jamaica's Usain Bolt electrified the world by winning the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the Olympics. Like Phelps, he shattered the world records. What's even more amazing is that, in the 100-meters, he slowed up with about 20 meters left, yet still ran the fastest time ever.
-- John Royal