2012 In Review: Top National Sports Stories

(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jan. 9: Alabama Beats LSU
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Trent Richardson of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with the trophy after defeating LSU 21-0 on Jan. 9 in the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
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Jan. 22: Joe Paterno Dies
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Students and the community gathered around the statue of Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach who died on Jan. 22 due to complications from lung cancer.
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Jan. 29: Longest-Ever Grand Slam Singles Final
MELBOURNE -- Novak Djokovic of Serbia rips his shirt off after winning championship point in his men's final match on Jan. 29 against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Djokovic won 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (7-5), 7-5, after 5 hours 53 minutes.
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February: Linsanity Reigns In NYC
NEW YORK – The New York Knick's Jeremy Lin came off the bench during the end of the NBA season and into the hearts of millions across the nation -- and the world. The unheralded Asian-American shooting guard provided his team the spark it desperately needed, scoring in droves, and even tallying game winners.
(credit: Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Feb. 5: Giants Hoist The Lombardi Trophy
INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Cruz of the New York Giants celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots 21-17 on Feb. 5 during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis.
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March 2: NFL Bountygate
Saints coach Sean Payton, his defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and numerous Saints players were investigated by the NFL in March for being involved in a bounty system that was set up internally within the team, rewarding Saints players financially for causing physical harm to opposing team's players. Payton and Williams were suspended, although some Saints players were reinstated.
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March 28: LA Dodgers Sold For … $2 Billion
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team was sold for a record $2 billion on March 28 to an ownership group that included former LA Lakers superstar Ervin "Magic" Johnson.
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April 2: Kentucky's Rolls To An NCAA Title
NEW ORLEANS -- Head coach John Calipari holds the trophy after the Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 on April 2 in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
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April 8: Bubba Watson Wins Masters, Weeps
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Bubba Watson celebrates his one-stroke victory on the second sudden death playoff hole to win the 2012 Masters Tournament on April 8 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Mere seconds after winning, tears poured down his face.
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May 2: Former NFL Great Junior Seau Commits Suicide
OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Junior Seau, a 43-year old 12-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker, was found dead on May 2 in his home, the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
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June 11: LA Kings Win First Cup
LOS ANGELES -- Scott Parse of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates winning the Stanley Cup following a Game Six victory over the New Jersey Devils on June 11 at the Staples Center.
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June 21: Miami Turns Up The Heat, Wins NBA Finals
MIAMI -- LeBron James of the Miami Heat celebrates with the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy after the Heat won 121-106 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21 at American Airlines Arena in Miami to win the NBA Finals.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Aug. 5: Andy Murray Grabs Gold
LONDON -- Just one month after losing an excruciatingly close Wimbledon final to Roger Federer in front of his faithful British fans, Andy Murray exercised virtually perfect revenge. The Briton defeated Federer in the Olympic men's tennis gold medal match in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 on Aug. 5 on the very grass he had lost some 30 days before.
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August: Phelps Becomes Most Decorated Olympian
LONDON – U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps won his 22nd Olympic record, setting the Olympic record (18 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze). He competed at the Olympic Games in Athens, Beijing and London.
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August: Flying Squirrel Soars In London
LONDON – U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas won gold in the women's all-around gymnastics competition in August at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as she was the first woman of color to be the individual all-around champ. She helped the American team win a team title, too.
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August: Usain Bolts To Another Victorious Olympics
LONDON – The World's Fastest Man retained his title in London in August, as Usain Bolt of Jamaica became the first man ever to win the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in back-to-back Olympics. He holds the 100-meter record with a time of 9.58.
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Sept. 24: NFL Replacement Refs Fiasco
SEATTLE, Wa. – Ground zero for the NFL replacement ref hatred was the Sunday Night Football game on Sept. 24 when officials ruled a game-winning touchdown to the Seahawks instead of calling it an interception, which would have given Green Bay the win. Mere days later, the NFL and the referee's union came to an agreement, ending three chaotic weeks of replacements governing the games.
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Oct. 4: Miguel Cabrera Wins The Triple Crown
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers became just the 15th player in history to win baseball's Triple Crown on Oct. 4, joining the likes of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig, after leading the AL in batting average (.330), homers (44), and RBIs (139). He was the first Triple Crown winner since 1967.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Oct. 9: Sandusky Sentenced To Prison
BELLEFONTE, Pa. – Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced on Oct. 9 to at least 30 years in prison in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall.
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Oct. 21: Lynx Can't Win Back-To-Back Titles
INDIANAPOLIS – After winning the 2011 WNBA championship, the Minnesota Lynx weren't able to retain their title, falling to the Indiana Fever in the finals 3-1 on Oct. 21.
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Oct. 22: Lance Armstrong Stripped Of His Titles
GENEVA -- Cycling legend Lance Armstrong's fall from grace hit rock bottom on Oct. 22, when the sport's governing body stripped him of all seven Tour de France titles and also banned him for life after the release of a report from U.S. officials that said he cheated throughout his career.
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Oct. 28: Giants Sweep World Series
DETROIT -- Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants celebrates with Buster Posey after striking out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers in the 10th inning on Oct. 28 to win Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series 4-3 at Comerica and complete the World Series sweep.
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Adrian Peterson's Running All Day
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' running back – just one year removed from tearing knee ligaments – is on track to set the NFL single-season rushing yard record.
(credit: Andy King/Getty Images)
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NHL Lockout Drags On
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – NHL fans' agony has yet to see any end in sight. The players and the owners have squabbled as the NHL lockout continues on.
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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