From Shalane Flanagan crushing the 26.2 miles of the New York City Marathon to Roger Federer’s record setting 8th Wimbledon title to the Houston Astros first World Series Championship… 2017 was filled with many an epic sports moment! Here are a few of our favorites that had everyone talking – be they sports fan or not – and you should be too as we look back at the year!
1. SHALANE FLANAGAN WINS THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON
On the first Sunday of November, Shalane Flanagan cruised to her first New York City Marathon victory in dominant fashion, running the last mile almost as fast as her first. At age 36, she became the first American woman to win the race in 40 years. It was her first marathon back after a hip fracture that kept her out of competition since the 2016 Rio Olympics. That’s a lot of firsts! Flanagan left three-time consecutive defending champion Mary Ketany of Kenya about a minute behind, and finished the race in 2:26:53. Crossing the finish line, Flanagan threw up her hands with an incredulous sob and celebratory “F*ck yes!” that few could hear but all could see as the cameras captured her amazing win.
2. THE HOUSTON ASTROS WIN THEIR FIRST WORLD SERIES
On November 1st, the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in a dramatic game 7 to become the 2017 World Series Champions. It was the first their first in the 55-year history of the franchise. Bringing hope and jubilation to a city that had been ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, the team was led by Jose Altuve, who also won the American League MVP title. Standing at just 5’6”, Altuve showed the world that greatness in any sport is far more about heart and determination than physical stature. A five-time All-Star, he led the majors with a career-high .346 batting average, becoming the first player in MLB history to lead his league in hits in four straight seasons. Altuve was also named AP Male Athlete of the Year, beating out second place New England Patriots star quarterback, Tom Brady, and third place Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. But more on them later…
3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS EPIC SUPER BOWL LI COMEBACK
On Sunday, February 5th, the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, 34-28, in one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history. After a scoreless first quarter, Atlanta put 21 points on the board in the second quarter, before New England made a field goal with two seconds left and trailed 21–3 at the half. Behind by 25 points in the third quarter, 28–3, Tom Brady and the Patriots then scored an unanswered 25 points to tie the game at 28–28 with 57 seconds left in regulation play. Going into overtime, New England won the coin toss and received the kickoff. In the first play they mounted the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, with a 75-yard drive for a touchdown and the first Super Bowl win in overtime. For Brady, the game’s MVP, and the Patriots, their fifth Super Bowl victory established the ineffable legacy of this quarterback, coach, and team as perhaps the best ever. And Brady got to go home with Gisele, too.
4. ROGER FEDERER AND RAFAEL NADAL SPLIT THE 2017 TENNIS MAJORS
Coming back after extended injury layoffs, both tennis champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reestablished their dominance on the courts in 2017. They divided the four major titles of the year between them, and demonstrated why they are still two of the all-time greats in the game. Recommencing their reign on the ATP tour at the Australian Open, Federer and Nadal met in an epic 5-set final where Federer took the title. Next came the French Open where Nadal, indomitable on the red clay of Roland Garros, won for a record setting 10th time. Wimbledon followed with Roger Federer winning for his record setting 8th time, the oldest man to do so at age 36. The 2017 season ended with Nadal taking the US Open championship. For both champions, 2017 proved to be one of the best of their long and storied careers!
5. THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS AND CLEVELAND CAVALIERS MEET AGAIN IN THE 2017 NBA FINALS
Great eras in sport are defined by great rivalries. In the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are proving that point with two of the greatest players in the game, LeBron James and Stephan Curry. Meeting in the 2017 NBA finals for the 3rd straight year, Golden State took the championship in dominant fashion, 4-1. It was a stunning rebuke after LeBron James brought the Cavaliers back from an unprecedented three games down to win the 2016 championship, 4-3. That victory was a retaliation for the Warriors NBA championship win in 2015. On pace for the 2017-2018 season, both the Cavaliers and Warriors are leading their divisions. Here’s hoping for another rematch in the 2018 finals!
6. SERGIO GARCIA WINS THE 2017 MASTERS
Though considered one golf’s greats, for years Sergio Garcia has been at the top of the “best player never to win a major list.” Garcia finally got the monkey off his back in an epic duel for the win at the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Chasing Justin Rose with four holes to play on Sunday at the Masters, Garcia missed a putt on the 18th hole that would have given him the win. He would get a second chance, however, in a sudden-death playoff, and not to be denied this time around. Garcia birdied the first hole to defeat Justin Rose for the 2017 victory and the coveted green jacket given to the winner. Months later, he was spotted still proudly wearing his prized green jacket in the stands at the Wimbledon!