"For pictures to be effective they have to be affective," says SI photography editor James Colton. "They have to invoke a reaction -- make you laugh, make you cry, make you cringe, make you linger just a little big longer to absorb all they have to offer." Here, then, are SI's best shots of 2008, beginning with Michael Phelps' split-second victory at the Beijing Olympics.
2 of 56Damian Strohmeyer/SI
David Tyree hangs on to a clutch reception against Rodney Harrison in the Giants upset win in the Super Bowl.
3 of 56George Tiedemann/GT Images/SI
Dustin Carter and Calin Dubay
Dustin Carter of Hillsboro, Ohio, (left) earned national attention by competing in the 103-pound class of the high school wrestling association. He lost 1-0 to Dubay in this first-round match.
4 of 56John Biever/SI
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford got flipped upside down after going airborne and fell short of the goal line in the third quarter against Oklahoma State. Oklahoma went on to win 61-41.
5 of 56Simon Bruty/SI
Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final
6 of 56Gary Bogdon/SI
Thanks to a remote camera attached to the catwalk of Tropicana Field, photographer Gary Bogdon was able to get this shot of Baldelli being tagged out at home.
7 of 56John Biever/SI
Jamaica's Usain Bolt set the world record in the 100 with a time of 9.69 at the Beijing Games.
8 of 56Bob Martin/SI
Ana Ivanovic of Serbia celebrates her victory over Dinara Safina of Russia in the women's final.
9 of 56David E. Klutho/SI
Detroit's Valtteri Filppula (51) falls towards the ice as he scores against Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
10 of 56Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Aaron Maybin and Brandon Minor
Penn State's Aaron Maybin landed in an awkward positiion after tackling Wolverine running back Brandon Minor.
11 of 56Robert Beck/SI
Grand Sumo Tournament
12 of 56John Biever/SI
Li Na and Britta Heidemann
Britta Heidemann of Germany scores against Li Na of China during an individual epee semifinal.
13 of 56Robert Beck/SI
Wincing in pain while playing on his surgically repaired left knee, Tiger Woods made a 12-foot putt on 18 to force a Monday playoff with Rocco Mediate at the 108th U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
14 of 56Bob Rosato/SI
Marquis Maze and Chris Hawkins
Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze (4) went on the defensive by trying to keep LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins from catching a pass.
15 of 56Bob Rosato/SI
Nastia Liukin on the uneven bars on her way to winning the gold medal in the individual all-around.
16 of 56Chuck Solomon/SI
Brad Lidge and Carlos Ruiz
Lidge and catcher Ruiz celebrate the World Series-clinching victory in Philadelphia, the team's first title since 1980.
17 of 56Darren Carroll/SI
Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, having broken free of a tackle attempt by Curtis Brown (3), scores the winning touchdown with a second left as Texas Tech knocked off No. 1 Texas.
18 of 56John Biever/SI
Mario Chalmers goes up for a game-tying three-pointer with time running out in regular against Memphis. Kansas would go on to win in overtime.
19 of 56Bob Martin/SI
Serena Williams couldn't contain her jubilation after defeating Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open for a third time.
20 of 56John W. McDonough/SI
Dominique Johnson and Sharrod Davis
UCLA wideout Dominique Johnson tries in vain to make a one-handed catch over Sharrod Davis of Fresno State.
21 of 56Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Michael Phelps celebrates winning the gold medal in an Olympic-record time of 50.58 and by 0.01. It was his seventh gold medal at the Beijing Games.
22 of 56Peter Read Miller/SI
Fireworks let up the sky at the opening of the Beijing Games.
23 of 56Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Big Brown pulls away from Eight Belles (right) and the other 19 horses to become the first horse to win from the 20th post position since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929. Eight Belles (inset and right) collapsed with two broken ankles moments after finishing second.
24 of 56Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown raced with a loose shoe on his right hind hoof, but some experts say it had nothing to do with the horse's loss at Belmont.
25 of 56Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Charles Scott, LSU
Florida's Ahmad Black (35) and Justin Trattou (94) deliver a helmet-jarring blow to Charles Scott of LSU.
26 of 56Chuck Solomon/SI
Hawaii shortstop Christian Donohue reacts to the last out of the Little League World Series against Mexico in Williamsport, Pa. Hawaii won 12-3.
27 of 56Bob Martin/SI
Ice Speedway Motocycle Racing
Balance and nerves were on display at the Ice Speedway World Championships in Inzell, Germany.
28 of 56Bill Frakes/SI
Kim Sookyung of Korea had a hair-raising experience while competing in the weightlifting competition in Beijing.
29 of 56David E. Klutho/SI
Kyle Taber and Drew Naymick
Drew Naymick throws down two while Kyle Taber is left to wonder who's landing where.
30 of 56Robert Beck/SI
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao (right), the WBC lightweight champion, destroyed Oscar De La Hoya in a fight many expected the Golden Boy to win. The eighth-round TKO victory bumped Pacquiao's record to a jaw-dropping 48-3-2 with 36 knockouts, while De La Hoya dropped to 39-6.
31 of 56Robert Beck/SI
For the second consecutive Olympics, Kerri Walsh (pictured) and Misty May-Treanor found gold in the sand as the duo teamed to win the women's beach volleyball.
32 of 56John W. McDonough/SI
UCLA's Kevin Love goes up for a rebound.
33 of 56Al Tielemans/SI
Humberto Quintero and Pat Burrell
Houston catcher Humberto Quintero has his eyes on Phillies' left fielder Pat Burrell and not on the ball during the first inning of their early season game.
34 of 56John W. McDonough/SI
Kevin Garnett beats the Lakers to a rebound in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
35 of 56Bob Martin/SI
Rafael Nadal won his fourth consecutive French Open, defeating Roger Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.
36 of 56David E. Klutho/SI
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Marian Hossa (18) tries in vain to score against Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood. Detroit held off Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup in six games.
37 of 56Bob Martin/SI
Natasha Kai and Heather O'Reilly
Natasha Kai (left) and Heather O'Reilly helped the U.S. get past Brazil 1-0 in the championship match at the Beijing Games.
38 of 56Robert Beck/SI
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor
Kerri Walsh (left) and Misty May-Treanor found gold in the sand as the duo teamed to win the women's beach volleyball gold medal.
39 of 56John Biever/SI
Huo Liang of China finished fourth in the platform final at the 2008 Olympics.
40 of 56Peter Read Miller/SI
Shawn Johnson, 16, won the gold medal in the balance beam in Beijing.
41 of 56Al Tielemans/SI
Lionel Messi and Chibuzor Okonkwo
Lionel Messi of Argentina and Chibuzor Okonkwo of Nigeria compete for the ball during the Argentines' gold-medal winning match in Beijing.
42 of 56Robert Beck/SI
Matteo Tagliariol and Jose Luis Abajo
Matteo Tagliariol of Italy (left) takes on Jose Luis Abajo of Spain in the bronze medal match.
43 of 56Bob Martin/SI
Felix Michel and Sebastian Piersig
Germany's Felix Michel and Sebastian Piersig at the Beijing Olympics.
44 of 56Al Tielemans/SI
Nastia Liukin exhibits her grace and skill while edging teammate and reigning world champion Shawn Johnson for the gold medal in women's all-around gymnastics.
45 of 56Robert Beck/SI
Ahmed Belgasem of Libya finished last in his event but helped make a good photograph.
46 of 56Simon Bruty/SI
Dara Torres helped the U.S. women to a silver medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay.
47 of 56Simon Bruty/SI
Usain Bolt after setting the world record in the 200 with a time of 19.30.
48 of 56Bob Martin/SI
In a season in which he struggled at times, Roger Federer easily defeated Andy Murray to win his 13th career Grand Slam title and fifth straight U.S. Open.
49 of 56John W. McDonough/SI
Lamar Odom and LaMarcus Aldridge
Lamar Odom and LaMarcus Aldridge anticipate their next move while waiting to see if a shot is good or not.
50 of 56Peter Read Miller/SI
Quan Cosby had nine catches for 122 yards in the Longhorns 45-35 win over No. 1 Oklahoma in Dallas.
51 of 56Bill Frakes/SI
Florida's Joe Haden soaks up the confetti shower following the No. 2 Gators' victory over No. 1 Alabama.
52 of 56Jessica Kluetmeier/SI
The largest BASE-jumping and extreme-sports event in the world took place in Fayetteville, W.Va., and attracted over 300 jumpers and 100,000 spectators. BASE is an acronym for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump -- Building, Antenna (tower), Span (bridge) and Earth (cliff).
53 of 56Bob Martin/SI
In a riveting, five-set marathon, Rafael Nadal outlasted Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 to become the first man to win Wimbledon and the French Open since Bjorn Borg in 1980.
54 of 56Simon Bruty/SI
A month after the first IRL victory of her career, Danica Patrick qualified fifth for the Indianapolis 500. She finished 29th after her car was clipped by another driver on pit road.
55 of 56John Biever/SI
Canada's Marilou Dozios-Prevost finished 10th in the women's flyweight division.
56 of 56Al Tielemans/SI
USA's Donny Robinson
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