Top National Sports Stories From 2011

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Feb. 16: Lance Armstrong Retires
Cycling’s most famous face, Lance Armstrong, retired “for good,” racking up seven consecutive Tour de France victories. His career was not without controversy, however. His retirement was announced amid doping charges from the U.S. federal government.
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Feb. 6: Super Bowl XLV
Nick Collins #36, Clay Matthews #52 and Desmond Bishop #55 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after Collins scored a touchdown on an interception return against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
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April 4: UConn Defeats Butler For National Championship
Shabazz Napier #13 and Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.
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April 8: Manny Ramirez Retires
Manny Ramirez, known for his success with the Indians, Red Sox, and Dodgers, retired after testing positive for steroids for the second time while playing for the Rays. Ramirez has now been reinstated back into baseball.
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April 13: Barry Bonds Found Guilty On Obstruction Of Justice Conviction
Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds (C) is flanked by security guards as he leaves federal court following a sentencing hearing on December 16, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement and two years probation after a jury found him guilty on one count of obstruction of justice on April 13 and was a hung jury on three counts of perjury for lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs.
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May 8: Phil Jackson Retires
The “Zen Master” said early in 2011, “This year, there’s no maybe,” referring to his decision to retire after the season. Following the Mavericks’ sweep of Los Angeles, Jackson stuck to his word and stepped out. He’s the only coach in the country’s major professional sports to have won at least 10 championships and has the highest winning percentage of any coach in the NBA Hall of Fame.
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May 13: Derek Boogaard Found Dead
The NHL enforcer was discovered dead in his apartment in Minnesota at the age of 28. He played five seasons for the Wild and 22 games for the New York Rangers. His death was ruled an accident caused by a mix of alcohol and oxycodone.
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May 17: Harmon Killebrew Dies
Fans place flowers and notes at the base of Harmon Killebrew's statue as the Minnesota Twins remember Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew on May 26, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harmon Killebrew passed away on May 17, 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer.
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June 12: Mavericks Win NBA Finals
Dirk Nowitzki (C) of the Dallas Mavericks celebrate defeating the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 to win the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Terry scored 27 points and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks won the best-of-seven championship series four-games-to-two to claim their first NBA championship in franchise history.
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June 15: Riots Breaks Out After Game In Vancouver
A person with a Canadian flag walks in front of a burning vehicle on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals.
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June 19: Rory McIlroy Wins U.S. Open
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland had an eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.
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July 17: Japan Wins Women's World Cup
USA's players react after the FIFA Women's Football World Cup final match Japan vs USA on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Japan won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 2-2 following extra-time.
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July 25: NFL Lockout
DeMaurice Smith (L) executive director of the National Football League Players' Association and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (R) address the the media on July 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFL players and owners announced they have reached agreement and ended the lockout.
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Aug. 18: Georgetown, China's Bayi Teams Fight
Basketball players from Georgetown University in Washington DC and China's Bayi team trade punches during their friendly game at the National Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Beijing on August 18, 2011.
(credit: YangShiZhonh -China Daily/AFP/Getty Images)
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Sept. 17: Mayweather's KO Punch
Floyd Mayweather (R) slams a left to the head of WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz in the 3rd round during their fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz in the fourth round to win the WBC Welterweight title.
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Sept. 19: Mariano Rivera Sets Saves Record
Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees is presented with a framed picture during a ceremony to celebrate his record 602nd career save prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox on September 25, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.
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Oct. 7: Minnesota Lynx Win WNBA Finals
The Minnesota Lynx celebrate with the WNBA Trophy after they defeated the Atlanta Dream during Game Three of the 2011 WNBA Finals at Philips Arena on October 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Oct. 16: IndyCar Driver Dan Wheldon Dies In Fatal Crash
Image 29 in a sequence of 47 images of the crash in which Dan Wheldon of England driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda was involved during the Las Vegas Indy 300, part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda on October 16, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wheldon was pronounced dead less than an hour after the crash, his death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head sustained in the incident.
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Oct. 28: St. Louis Cardinals Win World Series
Jason Motte #30 and Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2 to win Game Seven of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri.
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Nov. 7: Joe Frazier Dies At 67
A picture taken in January 1973 of US heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier during a training in Kingston before his match against George Foreman.Joe Frazier, the former undisputed heavyweight champ famed for his epic fights against Muhammad Ali, died on November 7, 2011 after a brief but brave battle with liver cancer. He was 67. The family issued a statement confirming Frazier's death late Monday night.
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Nov. 9: Penn State Scandal
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at Centre County Courthouse, on December 13, 2011 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Sandusky was charged with sexual abuse involving 10 boys he met through the Second Mile nonprofit organization.
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Nov. 12: Wilson Ramos Kidnapped
Venezuelan Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos embraces his mother Maria Campos as he arrives home after being rescued in Valencia on November 12, 2011. Ramos, whose kidnapping in his native Venezuela has anguished sports fans around the world, has been rescued alive, government officials said.
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Nov. 26: NBA Lockout
Maurice Evans, Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, and Peter Holt speak to members of the press to announce a tentative labor agreement to end the 149-day lockout on November 26, 2011 in New York City.
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Dec. 4: Tiger Woods Wins Chevron World Challenge
Tiger Woods celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 4, 2011 in Thousand Oaks, California.
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Dec. 11: Tim Tebow Mania
Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos walks off the field after winning in overtime against the Chicago Bears at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bears 13-10 in overtime. Tebow is open about his religious faith, which has got him fans and foes -- but mostly, it has grabbed the attention of America.
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