We look back at 2009 and the athletes that made it an amazing year in sports.
When you have Peyton Manning heading your team, you can all but expect great things but I don’t think anyone expected the perfect 15-0 start that the Indianapolis Colts have going right now. And while it’s a team sport, you have to single out Manning as being reason number one for the impressive start. The ’08 NFL MVP better start clearing shelf space for MVP number 4 because in the NFL this season, there is no better.
The knock on Kobe over the years was that he couldn’t win a Championship on his own; that Shaq was the reason for Kobe having three Championships. But like all great competitors, Kobe rose to the challenge and took that statement and shoved it back down the throat of everyone who uttered it with a convincing 2008-09 season that finished with him hoisting the trophy without a Shaq present.
Saddled with the expectations of greatness and burdened with the almost impossible task of delivering a winner to a city that has basked in its sports heartbreak for decades, LeBron has done everything but give a championship. The NBA MVP of the 08-09 season, James is the most complete player in the NBA today and has the potential to be the best of all time.
NASCAR, who watches NASCAR? Well, millions of people do and what they got to witness this season was history in the making as Jimmie Johnson won the Sprint Cup for the fourth consecutive time, a feat unheard of in NASCAR lore.
Let’s put aside the recent drama and focus on the year that was for Tiger. Coming off a major knee surgery that kept him out and off track for the second half of the ’08 season and the first six weeks of the ’09 season, Woods rebounded to have a successful season and be named the PGA player of the year.
Sid “the Kid” Crosby is the LeBron James of professional hockey, except he has the championship on the resume now thanks to an epic performance in the ’09 playoffs that ended with him being the youngest NHL Captain to hoist the cup.
Talk about you year of ups and downs. A-Rod started the year under the cloud of steroids, having been found to have tested positive for two anabolic steroids back in 2003. But he ended the year a champion, with the burden of steroid use safely swept under the rug, along with the image that he couldn’t perform in October. While he may never go down as Mr. Clutch, he has at least one postseason where he was the key to winning it all.
Giving up tennis in 2007 to start a family, everyone thought Clijsters time in the tennis spotlight was over. But she got back into the game in 2009 and got back in a major way, by winning the US Open. Not only did she defy the odds and win the tennis Major, but she went up against and beat both Williams sisters to do it; an impressive a feat as you can find.
Dubbed the “Lightning Bolt”, Usain Bolt is easily the fastest runner of all time. In the Berlin World Championship in August, Bolt shattered the World record for the 100 meter with a riveting time of 9.58. He even decided to one up himself by breaking his own 200 meeter record by .11 seconds, which is huge in the track community. He ran a 19.19 time to beat the 19.30 time he put up in the ’08 Olympics.
The king of tennis, Federer has been the poster-child for tennis excellence for years. But he stepped up the bar in ’09 when he set the world record for number of Grand Slam titles at the ’09 Wimbledon Championships with 15, winning his sixth Wimbledon in seven seasons at this years event. He also mastered the French Open for the first time in ’09, completing his collection of Grand Slam titles.