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Top 30 Stories from 2010
#30 Montreal Canadiens Upset Two Cup Contenders in Playoff Run – The Canadiens, who came from behind to upset first-place Washington and defending Cup champion Pittsburgh in the first 2 rounds, didn’t have the stamina to do it a third time against the Philadelphia Flyers.
#29 Phillies Sign Cliff Lee Shocking the Baseball World – The Phillies shocked everybody on December 14th signing Cliff Lee to a 5 year $120 million dollar deal that instantly gives the Philadelphia the best starting rotation in baseball – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt makes this team virtually guaranteed of a return to the World Series. Lee and Halladay might be the best one-two punch in baseball history.
#28 Shciavone Becomes First Italian Female to Win a Grand Slam Singles Event – In the first final between two first-time slam finalists since 2004, #17-seed Francesca Schiavone stunned #7 Samantha Stosur 6-4, 7-6(2) to win the 2010 French Open Women’s Singles Championship. Schiavone, who turned 30 in May and became the most unlikely winner in this decade, had previously only won three titles in her 10+ years on the WTA Tour, none of which were more prestigious than a Tier III. She had never before made it to the final four of a grand slam singles draw either, but once she arrived into the second week of Roland Garros her game reached a level it never before had.
#27 Canadian Skeleton Racer Jon Montgomery Wins Gold for Canada – The pride of Russell, Manitoba, Jon Montgomery, finished with a flourish to win Olympic gold medal in skeleton at the Vancouver Olympics in February. Montgomery, an automobile auctioneer, celebrated by drinking beer out of a pitcher on his way to a CTV interview after the race! He was an instant hero for many Canadians at these games, winning Canada their 4th gold medal.
#26 Federer Wins 16th Slam in Melbourne – Way back in January, World No. 1 Roger Federer won the 2010 Australian Open men’s singles championship, claiming his 16th Grand Slam title with a straight-sets victory over Andy Murray. Federer did not win any of the three remaining Grand Slam titles and is stuck on 16.
#25 Women’s Hockey Team Defeats USA to Win Gold – Marie-Philip Poulin scored two goals, Shannon Szabados made 28 saves and Canada rolled through its American rivals, 2-0, to win gold medal in women’s hockey for the third straight Olympics.
#24 Canada Wins Men’s Curling Gold – Canada’s 43 year old skip Kevin Martin is one of the greatest to ever play the game. Entering the 2010 Olympic Games, he had won nearly every prize in curling save one, Olympic gold. That all changed when he and teammates John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert and Adam Enright defeated Norway in the gold medal game. As the game was wrapping up and it became clear that Canada would be the victor, the home crowd serenaded the team with a rousing version of O Canada in one of the game’s strongest displays of love of country.
#23 Kim Clijsters Dominates US Open Final – Kim Clijsters is very comfortable around the courts of the U.S. Open, where she’s won three titles and 21 straight matches, few easier than the final against Vera Zvonareva. Clijsters’ 21st consecutive victory at the U.S. Open broke a five-way tie for the tournament record on hard courts, besting Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Venus Williams and Steffi Graf. She’s also the first woman to repeat as champion since Williams in 2001. Last year she became the first mother to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.
#22 Blue Jays Outfielder Jose Bautista Hits 54 Home Runs - In 2010, Bautista set a Toronto Blue Jays single-season team record by hitting 54 home runs, making him one of 26 players ever to reach the 50 home run club. He was also the American League and the Major League home run champion in 2010.
#21 San Francisco Wins World Series with Phenomenal Pitching – The San Francisco Giants won Major League Baseball’s World Series for the first time since 1954, when the team was based in New York City. The National League champion Giants beat the American League champion Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series to clinch baseball’s 2010 overall title, four-games-to-one. The Giants do have one superstar. The winning pitcher in Game 5, a guy known as “the Freak,” is a skinny, long-haired 26-year-old righthander with all the tools. Tim Lincecum is the two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner and is a legitimate superstar.
#20 Spain Defeats Netherlands to Win World Cup Thriller – Spain rules the soccer world, winning the FIFA World Cup at long, long last. The triumph came after an exhausting 1-0 victory in extra time over the Netherlands in South Africa. Two years after winning the European title, the stylish Spaniards did even better capturing this coveted trophy in impressive fashion. The Netherlands now has more victories in World Cup games without a title than any nation: 19. Spain had held that dubious record with 24.
#19 Saints win Super Bowl Behind Drew Brees – After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, it was widely assumed that NFL free agents wouldn’t want to sign with the city’s NFL team. There was too much baggage, too much drama and too many question marks. But Drew Brees didn’t let that deter him when he chose New Orleans over Miami in 2006. In February, his decision paid off when he led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title with a record-setting, MVP performance in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17. Brees finished the night 32-of-39 with 288 yards and two touchdowns and was named the game’s most valuable player. The 32 completions tied Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record. During one stretch of the game the former San Diego Chargers quarterback completed 21 of 24 passes.
#18 Lakers Defeat Celtics for 16th Overall Title – Kobe Bryant said this one was the “sweetest.” And he admitted it surely was the hardest. Trailing by 13 points in the third quarter of Game 7, Bryant and coach Phil Jackson must have had that sickening feeling Jerry West experienced throughout the 1960′s against the Celtics when he lost six times. But despite Bryant’s wayward shooting, he has his fifth championship ring, Jackson has his 11th coaching title and the Lakers have their second straight championship and their 16th NBA title. The desperate Lakers rallied in the fourth to spoil the “Boston D Party” and capture Game 7, 83-79 after a wild final minute at Staples Center.
#17 Jimmy Johnson Wins 5th Straight Nascar Championship – Jimmie Johnson won an unprecedented fifth-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship on Sunday with a second place finish in the final race of the season that was enough to overcome a slim points deficit. Johnson, clinched the title by 39 points over Denny Hamlin, who entered the race with a 15-point lead but slipped to second after finishing in 14th at Homestead Miami Speedway.
#16 Tom Brady and Michael Vick Have Spectacular Regular Season in 2010 – Believe it or not, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has won the NFL MVP award only once. That was after his record-breaking 2007 campaign in which he tossed for 4806 yards and 50 touchdowns. He’s won three Super Bowls, a pair of Super Bowl MVPs, been named to five Pro Bowls, was the Comeback Player of the Year for 2009 and is a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team. But only one league MVP. Well, after dismantling the Jets on Monday Night Football to the tune of 326 yards and four scores, it’s all but a lock that Brady will capture his second MVP at season’s end. But expect comeback player of the year candidate Michael Vick to be second in the voting. The two have elevated their games to the stratosphere and will be tough to beat in the upcoming playoffs.
#15 Blackhawks Win First Stanley Cup in 49 Years - After nearly half a century, the Stanley Cup again belongs to Chicago. The Blackhawks brought it home for themselves and their fans — both long-suffering and those who jumped on board during a remarkable resurgence that began just three seasons ago — when they defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime Wednesday night at a raucous Wachovia Center. The NHL championship is the Hawks’ first since 1961, snapping 49 years without the coveted Cup in their grasp and is their fourth in a team history that began in 1926 as members of the Original Six franchises.
#14 Rafael Nadal Wins 3 Straight Majors in 2010 – Rafael Nadal won his first U.S. Open title to complete a career Grand Slam, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 Monday in a match interrupted by a thunderstorm a day after it was postponed by rain. It is Nadal’s third consecutive major championship and ninth overall. He is the seventh man in tennis history with at least one title from each Grand Slam tournament. Nadal, coming off an injury plagued 2009 looked unbeatable at times in 2010.
#13 Daniel Nestor Wins French Open Doubles – Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic defeated defending champions Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic and Leander Paes of India 7-5, 6-2 to win the men’s French Open doubles title. Nestor and Zimonjic, seeded No. 2, won their third Grand Slam title together Saturday, after successful runs at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2009.
#12 Flyers Come Back From 0-3 Down to Win Eastern Conf. Semi-Final – Simon Gagne and the Philadelphia Flyers put together one more dramatic comeback in a series full of rallies. The Flyers, the No. 7 seed in the East, overcame a 3-0 series deficit and a 3-0 deficit in the first period of Game 7 before rallying to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Philadelphia becomes only the third team in NHL history to win a series after losing the first three games. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who came back against Detroit, and the 1975 New York Islanders, who pulled the trick against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
#11 Joey Votto Wins NL MVP – The Cincinnati Reds first baseman, Joey Votto, was overwhelmingly voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player ending the two-year reign of Albert Pujols. The Torontonian is the third Canadian-born MVP, following Colorado’s Larry Walker (1997) and Minnesota’s Justin Morneau (2006). Votto received 31 first-place votes and 443 points in voting announced in November by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
#10 Halladay Throws No-Hitter in Post-Season and Perfect Game in Regular Season - Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history in October, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. The only other pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter was former New York Yankees Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The ace, who started his career in Toronto, threw a perfect game on May 29 against the Florida Marlins, and is widely considered the best pitcher in baseball.
#9 Tigers Pitcher Loses Perfect Game on Blown Call by Umpire – Detroit’s Armando Galarraga was one out away from the third perfect game of 2010 and the second in less than a week in the early season, but a blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce cost him immortality. After retiring the first 26 batters in succession, Indians shortstop Jason Donald was called safe on a ground ball to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Replays showed that Galarraga clearly beat Donald to the bag while receiving Cabrera’s toss, but Joyce made an emphatic safe call to the dismay of the entire Tigers team and the fans at Comerica Park.
#8 Joannie Rochette Overcomes Tragedy to Win Bronze – Just days after losing her mother, Joannie Rochette took the ice to fulfill her Olympic dream. The result may not have been gold, but the bronze medal Rochette won may have been the most meaningful medal of the 2010 Games. Later at the Champions Gala, Rochette took the ice again, skating to Celine Dion’s Vole in tribute to her mother, who considered Dion to be her favorite artist. It was a moment that television viewers will never forget!
#7 Olympic Luge Competitor Killed on Opening Day of Winter Games – An Olympic luge athlete died after a horrific crash during training just before the Opening ceremonies were to start. Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia died after he lost control of his sled near the end of a practice run. He was ejected from the course and his body hit an exposed steel support pole. The ugly incident cast a giant shadow over the start of the Vancouver Games forcing organizers to dramatically change the course for the event.
#6 Let the Party Begin: Heat Welcome Trio of Superstars – In one of the biggest NBA free agency signing periods in the history of the National Basketball Association, the Miami Heat landed the big prize in mid July as LeBron James left his hometown team in Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat, who retained their own superstar free agent Dwyane Wade along with adding on yet another superstar forward Chris Bosh from the Toronto Raptors. The moves make the Heat instant favourites to challenge the Lakers and Celtics for NBA supremacy.
#5 Tiger Woods Goes Winless in 2010 – Here are some astonishing facts about Tiger Woods since he turned pro in 1996; he has 71 PGA Tour wins, including 14 majors. He has finished a season with nine wins (2000) and just one win (1998). He won twice his rookie season, despite turning pro in September. All of these things are incredibly impressive, and might be the foundation of a career bettered by no one, but 2010 will not be one of those seasons we will talk about when praising Tiger. Tiger Woods, despite constant turmoil in his life these past 14 months, did not win a golf tournament in 2010 and this, without a doubt, is the biggest story in golf this decade.
#4 Wimbledon – John Isner Defeats Nicolas Mahut in Fifth Set, 70-68 – John Isner of the United States outlasted Nicolas Mahut of France, 70-68, in the fifth set of their epic three-day first-round match at Wimbledon in late June. In an astonishing display of endurance, the players fought for 11 hours and 5 minutes, breaking all records for length of match, games played, and aces served. There were 980 points overall, and Mahut won more, 502-478. There were 711 points in the fifth set, and Mahut won more, 365-346. Despite these numbers Isner was able to prevail in mind-boggling fashion – holding serve 70 straight times in the fifth set alone!
#3 Alexandre Bilodeau Wins One for Canada and Brother Frederic – In their previous two rounds as Olympic host, Canada had failed to win gold. That all changed when freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau won the Canadians’ first gold in what would become a record breaking performance for the Maple Leafers. Bilodeau brought pride to the nation of Canada, and dedicated his performance to his older Frederic, who suffers from cerebral palsy and who Alexandre considers to be his idol. The image of Alexandre and Frederic embracing at the bottom of the course is perhaps the best of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
#2 Canada 3 USA 2 -In what may go down as the greatest moment in Canadian hockey history, the poster boy of the Olympic Games, Sidney Crosby, scored 7:13 into overtime to give the Canadians the gold medal they cared about most. It was a storybook ending for people all over Canada. They triumphed over their rival in the game they consider to be their own, did so on home soil and broke the record for most gold medals in a single Winter Olympic Games in the process. It was a perfect finish to a near perfect Olympic Games for the Canadians.
#1 Canada Tops Olympic Gold Medal Total, Sets Host-Country Winter Record - Canada did not win as many medals as it had hoped at these Olympics, but it won more golds (14) than any country in history. The last, on a goal by Sidney Crosby, an emphatic exclamation point on the 2010 Vancouver Games, will be collectively cherished more than any other. Canada invested $117 million and five years into an “Own the Podium” program that was supposed to win the medals race. At least it bought the top step. The Canadians 14 gold medals is one better than the Soviets in 1976 and Norway in 2002. It’s also the most gold Canada has won at any Olympics, winter or summer, and its the most for any Winter Olympics host country; both those marks had been 10.