The showboating Jamaican sprinter blazed onto the scene during the Beijing Games, setting world records in the 100 meters (9.69 seconds), 200 meters (19.30 seconds) and the 4x100 meter relay (37.10 seconds). Bolt became the first man to win gold in all three events since Carl Lewis accomplished the feat in 1984.<br><br>Who would you add to the gallery? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 of 22John W. McDonough/SI
The third overall pick in the 2008 draft, Ryan took over the reins for a Falcons club still reeling from the Michael Vick debacle. Ryan's first ever NFL pass was a 62-yard touchdown strike to Michael Jenkins, and he's hardly slowed since. In leading the Falcons into the playoffs, Ryan threw for more than 3,200 yards and had tossed 15 touchdowns through 15 games.
3 of 22Bob Rosato/SI
The 27th pick in the 2006 NFL draft and the NCAA's all-time leader in all-purpose yards (7,573), Williams struggled to find playing time behind the Panthers' DeShaun Foster until this season. Given the starting job out of camp, Williams notched seven 100-yard rushing games and scored 20 touchdowns (18 rushing) through 15 games. He scored a season-high four TDs in a Week 13 shootout with the Packers and again in a Week 16 loss to the Giants.
4 of 22Damian Strohmeyer/SI
The big third baseman earned a spot on the Rays' roster on April 14, and never relinquished it. Longoria earned the AL Final Fan vote for the last roster spot on the All-Star team, competed in the home run derby and helped lead Tampa's youthful roster to the World Series. It was only fitting that on Sept. 20 Longoria recorded the game-ending out against the Twins, sealing the first playoff appearance in franchise history.
5 of 22Matt A. Brown/Icon SMI
The 5-6 running back helped lead Oregon State to an 8-4 record, which included an upset win over No. 1 USC, in which Rodgers rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, he rushed for a Pac-10 freshman-record 1,253 yards and became the first freshman to win the conference's player of the year award.
6 of 22Al Tielemans/SI
Often overshadowed by teammate Shawn Johnson heading into the Beijing Games, Liukin (center, whose parents were both champion gymnasts) won five Olympic medals in 2008, including one gold. In doing so she matched the American record for most gymnastic medals won in a single Games, joining Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller.
7 of 22David E. Klutho/SI
Two days after his NHL debut, Kane (88) notched his first assist and first shootout goal, a game winner against Dominik Hasek and the Detroit Red Wings. The right winger played all 82 games for the Blackhawks, scoring 21 goals and picking up 51 assists on his way to winning the Calder Trophy, which is given to the league's top rookie.
8 of 22Bill Frakes/SI
The top-rated receiver in the 2008 recruiting class, Jones became the first true freshman to start a season-opener in Crimson Tide history. He had a breakout performance against No. 3 Georgia, catching five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown, and he continued to have big games against ranked teams, notching a 103-yard game against Tennessee, a 128-yard game against LSU, and a 124-yard game against Florida in the SEC championship game.
9 of 22Gary Bogdon/SI
Just months after pitching for Vanderbilt, Price was called in from the bullpen for the most important at-bat in the Rays' brief postseason history. With two outs in the eighth, the bases loaded and the Rays leading the Red Sox by two runs in Game 7 of the ALCS, Price struck out J.D. Drew and pitched a scoreless ninth, sending Tampa to the World Series.
10 of 22John W. McDonough/SI
After four seasons of playing special teams and backing up LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego, Turner signed with the Falcons and made an impact right away. In his Atlanta debut, Turner set the franchise single-game rushing record, running for 220 yards and two touchdowns on just 22 carries.
11 of 22AP
Ranked by many as the top player in the 2007 recruiting class, Mayo signed with USC and sparked the burgeoning power to its second-straight NCAA tournament. He left L.A. after his freshman season and was picked third overall in the NBA Draft before being dealt to Memphis for former-Pac-10 rival Kevin Love. Through 25 games, Mayo led all rookies in scoring, with 20.8 points per game.
12 of 22AP
The mammoth heavyweight swarmed veteran Heath Herring for his first UFC win, and made for 90 of the most exciting seconds we might've seen this year in a loss to Frank Mir. Lesnar defeated Randy Couture to take a portion of the UFC title. Quite the introduction for a guy who immediately became a top pay-per-view draw for the UFC.
13 of 22John Biever/SI
Soto became the first rookie catcher to start for the National League All-Star squad and earned the league's Rookie of the Year award in 2008. For the season, he batted .285, hit 23 home runs and drove in 86 while helping the Cubs win the NL Central.
14 of 22Fred Vuich/SI
After notching 10 top-10 finishes, two poles and one win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Joey Logano was introduced by Joe Gibbs Racing as the replacement for Tony Stewart, who left at season's end to drive for his own team. At just 18, Logano is the youngest modern-era driver to compete in NASCAR's top division.
15 of 22David E. Klutho/SI
A former McDonalds All-American, Rose helped lead Memphis to the NCAA Championship game and to the most wins in college basketball history (38) in his only season at Memphis. The No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, Rose returned to his hometown and the Chicago Bulls, where he's averaged more than 17 points and six assists per game.
16 of 22Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Even though he missed the last month of the season with a fractured wrist, Quentin finished second in the AL with 36 home runs and won his first Silver Slugger. Last season was Quentin's first season in Chicago and his first as a regular. He batted .288, drove in 100 runs and scored 96 more for the Central Division champs.
17 of 22Jessica Kluetmeier/SI
Although he jumped more than 150 spots in the rankings in 2007, Tsonga really made a name for himself at the 2008 Australian Open. Unseeded in the tournament, Tsonga defeated four seeded players, including world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, on his way to his first Grand Slam final. Tsonga went on to win his first two career ATP Tour tournaments in 2008, and reached as high as No. 6 in the rankings.
18 of 22John Biever/SI
The 6-3 guard set an NCAA record for 3-pointers by a freshman in 2007, but exploded onto the national scene in 2008 as he led Davidson to the Elite 8. Curry posted 30 second-half points in the Wildcats' first round upset of Gonzaga -- the school's first tournament win since 1969 -- and carried them to wins over second-seeded Georgetown and third-seeded Wisconsin, before losing to the eventual national champion Kansas Jayhawks.
19 of 22Bob Martin/SI
Despite splitting his time between the European Tour and the PGA Tour, Romero made enough of a mark stateside in 2008 to earn the PGA Tour rookie of the year award. The Argentine earned his first win in '08 (at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans), but, more impressively, notched some of his best finishes at the majors: T-7 at the PGA Championship and T-8 at the Masters.
20 of 22Robert Beck/SI
Although he made 20 cuts in 26 starts in 2007, Anthony Kim skyrocketed to the top of the golf world in 2008, notching the first two wins of his career and finishing in the top-10 eight times. Kim also earned a spot on the United States' victorious Ryder Cup team (he defeated Sergio Garcia, 5 and 4 on Sunday), and finished the year ranked sixth on the money list.
21 of 22Al Tielemans/SI
Lester's breakthrough game may have been Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, but he asserted himself as one of the game's best pitchers in 2008. For the season, Lester went 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA, while notching AL pitcher of the month honors twice. He also tossed the first no-hitter of his career, a 7-0 victory over the Royals.<br><br>Who would you add to the gallery? Send suggestions to email@example.com.
22 of 22David Bergman/SI
Filling in for the injured Tom Brady, Cassel proved his critics wrong by leading the Patriots to an 10-5 record. Heading into the final week of the season he had passed for 3,615 yards and 21 touchdowns. In Week 11, he became the first quarterback in league history to throw for 400 yards and run for 60 (he ran for 62) in the same game.<br><br>Who would you add to the gallery? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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