Hines Ward fully extends to make a catch during the Steelers' preseason showdown with the Falcons. Ward finished with three receptions for 29 yards, and Pittsburgh won 34-16.
2 of 53John W. McDonough/SI
North Carolina and Michigan State
North Carolina and Michigan State kicked off the 2011 college basketball season aboard the USS Carl Vinson off the coast of San Diego. The Tar Heels triumphed, 67-55.
3 of 53Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Aaron Hernandez and David Harris
New York Jets linebacker David Harris rips the helmet off Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez during their Week 5 contest. It wasn't enough. New England defeated New York 30-21.
4 of 53Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Rajon Rondo and LeBron James
Celtics' 6-foot-1 playmaker Rajon Rondo eyes up 6-foot-8 LeBron James during a regular season game in February. Boston and Miami would clash again in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Heat advancing four games to one.
5 of 53Chuck Solomon/SI
Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter takes the field following his 3,000th hit milestone against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 9. He did it in style. New York's captain belted a home run against David Price, part of a memorable 5-for-5 day at the plate.
6 of 53Al Tielemans/SI
Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter dives onto first base to record an out during Game 1 of the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers. It was worth the effort. St Louis won the game -- and eventually the series.
7 of 53Robert Beck/SI
Shane Mosley staggers to his corner during a May 2011 bout against Manny Pacquiao. Pacquia won via unanimous decision, successfully defending his WBO welterweight title.
8 of 53Rich Lam/Getty Images
Scott Jones and Alex Thomas
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this one may be worth a million. Scott Jones kisses his girlfriend, Alex Thomas, during the Vancouver riot following the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
9 of 53John Biever/SI
Packers linebacker Diyral Briggs holds up a celebratory newspaper after Super Bowl XLV. Green Bay escaped with a 31-25 win, staving off a late Steelers' comeback to secure the franchise's first title since 1996.
10 of 53Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
San Francisco 49ers and Patrick Peterson
Patrick Peterson was hurting after losing a fumble during the Cardinals Week 14 game at San Francisco. Arizona's rookie sensation was buried beneath a heap of defenders in a 21-19 49ers win.
11 of 53Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
U.S. goalie Hope Solo walks off the field after losing in penalty kicks to Japan during the 2011 World Cup final. Despite the disappointing outcome, Solo was awarded the Bronze Ball given to the tournament's third best player (Japan's Homare Sawa won gold; U.S. striker Abby Wambach won silver).
12 of 53www.andychiz.com/Reuters
Australian surfer Marti Paradisis rides a wave at Shipstern Bluff, formerly known as Devil's Point, in Tasmania. According to reports, the swells were the biggest that they've been there for 10 years in May.
13 of 53Alex Domanski/Reuters
The spotlight is her's. Germany's Julia Goerges celebrates after defeating Caroline Wozniacki to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in front of her home country in April.
14 of 53Steve Conner/Icon SMI
Sam Stratton and Travis Stannaway
Wyoming wideout Sam Stratton flips into the air after being hit by Boise State safety Travis Stannaway during their game on Nov. 26. The Broncos won 36-14 to improve to 10-1.
15 of 53John W. McDonough/SI
Dirk Nowitzki soars past Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals, helping the Mavericks oust the Thunder in a five-game series. He went on to average 26 points in Dallas' NBA Finals victory over Miami.
16 of 53Greg Nelson/SI
Indianapolis' Justin Snow snaps the ball in a matchup with the Houston Texans, an eventual loss. it was one of many. The Colts have struggled mightily in quarterback Peyton Manning's absence due to injury.
17 of 53John Biever/SI
The Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after eliminating the Arizona Diamondbacks to advance to the NLCS. Outfielder Nyjer Morgan hit a 10th inning RBI single to seal the decisive 3-2 victory.
18 of 53Bob Martin/SI
Croatian high-jumper Blanka Vlasic clears the bar at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Daegu earned the silver medal, finishing just behind Russia's Anna Chicherova, who won first.
19 of 53Bob Martin/SI
Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his first career Wimbledon final. The Serbian native beat Rafael Nadal in four sets, 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
20 of 53Mike Powell/SI
Despite dark and stormy weather conditions, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic dueled for the U.S. Open title in September. Djokovic won in four sets, capturing his third major tournament of the year.
21 of 53Bill Frakes/SI
Shackleford and Animal Kingdom
And they're off! Shackleford (blue cap) stormed out to an early lead, but Animal Kingdom (red cap) won the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
22 of 53David E. Klutho/SI
Milan Lucic and Dan Hamhuis
Canucks defensman Dan Hamhuis upends Milan Lucic during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Lucic and the Bruins dropped the first two games, but rebounded to four of the next five to clinch their first NHL title since 1971-72.
23 of 53John W. McDonough/SI
Joey Rodriguez and Matt Howard
VCU point guard Joe Rodriguez angles a pass by Butler's Matt Howard during the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Both the Rams and Bulldogs earned surprise berths in the Final Four, though UConn cut down the nets on April 4.
24 of 53Fred Vuich/SI
Rory McIlroy hoists his first PGA Major trophy after winning the 2011 U.S. Open in June. The Northern Ireland native finished eight strokes ahead of the second-place finisher, Jason Day.
25 of 53Brad Mangin/SI
Aubrey Huff and Carlos Ruiz
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz dives to tag out Aubrey Huff during their regular season game on Aug. 7. San Francisco won 3-1, but failed to repeat as World Series -- or National League West -- champions.
26 of 53Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Now that's what you call flexibility. Keneil Grant of Jamaica stretches out during the High School Boys' Long Jump Championships at the 117th Penn Relays in Philadelphia. He finished eighth with a mark of 7.04 meters.
27 of 53Petr David Josek/AP
Goal! United States' striker Abby Wambach converted a header in the 122nd minute against Brazil, forcing penalty kicks and leading the U.S. to a dramatic and stunning upset. Wambach and Co. would also beat France 3-1 in the 2011 World Cup before eventually falling to Japan in the final.
28 of 53Francois Mori/AP
Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar
Russia's Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar (on ground) were cool under pressure during an ice-skating competition in Paris in November. The duo won first place, with their total score of 194.13 coming in well ahead of the second-place finishers', Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, mark of 184.91.
29 of 53Julie Jacobson/AP
Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao connects on a right hook during his WBO welterweight title fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. The Filipino star won by majority decision in November.
30 of 53Alex Brandon/AP
Think fast! Eagles rookie running back Noel Devine puts his hands up to catch a ball during the team's training camp in Bethlehem, Pa.
31 of 53Evan Vucci/AP
Kevin Kolb and Brian Orakpo
Redskins' linebacker Brian Orakpo smashed Kevin Kolb during a Week 2 game against Arizona, sparking a 22-21 victory. After racing to a 3-1 start, though, Washington would lose eight of its next nine to drop to 4-9.
32 of 53Barbara Johnston/AP
Brian McCann and Charlie Manuel
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel dodges a tumbling Brian McCann during a game against the Braves on May 6. The Braves won 5-0, but missed out on a playoff berth after being swept by the Phillies in their final series of the season.
33 of 53Imago/ZUMAPRESS.com
Austrian skier Bernhard Gruber takes off during a jump at the FIS World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway.
34 of 53Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Dan Herron and Mark Murphy
Ohio State running back Dan Herron vaults past Indiana linebacker Mark Murphy for a touchdown during their game on November 5. Herron, who finished with 141 yards, was one of three Buckeyes to eclipse the 100-yard mark in the team's 34-20 conference win.
35 of 53Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
Matt Duchene and Jonathan Quick
Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene fires a third period shot on Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick during their Oct. 30 showdown. Duchene scored the game-winner in an eventual 3-2 Colorado victory.
36 of 53Matt Gdowski/ZUMAPRESS.com
Australian driver Will Power's car was launched into the air during a crash at the IZOD IndyCar World Championship in October. It proved to be one of the most devastating accidents of all-time: Dan Wheldon, just 33-years-old at the time, lost his life as a result.
37 of 53David T. Foster Iii/Charlotte Observer/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com
Captain Munnerlyn and Jason Hill
Carolina Panthers defensive back Captain Munnerlyn breaks up a pass intended for Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Jason Hill during their game on Sept. 25. Carolina won 16-10, giving rookie Cam Newton his first NFL victory.
38 of 53Walter Luger/GEPA/US Presswire
FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola was flying high after leading his team to a 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final. Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma scored goals in the match.
39 of 53Imago/ZUMAPRESS.com
Petteri Nokelainen and Ole Kristian Tollefsen
Finland's Petteri Nokelainen gets into a fight with Norway's Ole Kristian Tellefsen during the IIHF World Championship in May. Finland won the game 4-1 -- and the title just three days later.
40 of 53Darren Staples/Reuters
In perhaps the goal of the year, and arguably the decade, Wayne Rooney knocks in a bicycle kick during Manchester United's match against Manchester City in February. It turned out to be the game-winner in an eventual 2-1 victory.
41 of 53Mathieu Belanger/Reuters
Glen Johnson and Lucian Bute
IBF Super Middleweight champion Lucian Bute punches Glen Johnson during their title bout in November. The 31-year-old Bute won the fight to improve to 30-0.
42 of 53Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Brazilian Rhythmic Gymnastics Team
Brazil jumps through hoops during the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The games took place from Oct. 14-30.
43 of 53China Daily/Reuters
Saimaiti Aishan, a 27-year-old Chinese acrobat, becomes the first person to tightrope walk between two hot air balloons on Aug. 6. Aishan set a national tightrope walking record at 30 meters, but failed during his 100 meter attempt, it was reported.
44 of 53Carlos Barria/Reuters
U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte competes in the 400 meter individual medley at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai. Lochte won five gold medals -- and was named the best male swimmer -- during the two-week competition in July.
45 of 53Adam Ciereszko/EPA/LANDOV
Look, no hands! Japan's Eigo Sato performed a high-flying trick at the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in Portland in August.
46 of 53Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Baylor stunned the nation -- and running back Isaac Williams -- after topping heavily favored Oklahoma 45-38 on Nov. 19. It was a banner year for the Bears: Not only did they finish 9-3 to clinch an Alamo Bowl berth, but quarterback Robert Griffin III won the first Heisman Trophy in program history.
47 of 53Nick Laham/Getty Images
Jeff Halpern and Henrik Tallinder
Capitals' center Jeff Halpern (15) and Devils' defenseman Henrik Tallinder (7) fight for the puck along the boards during a 3-1 Washington win in November. Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson scored goals in the game.
48 of 53Marc Serota/Getty Images
The players weren't the only ones on the field during the United States and Honduras' match in Miami in October. A bull frog also hopped onto the field, though he played no role in the Americans' 1-0 victory.
49 of 53Al Tielemans/SI
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals rejoice after winning Game 7 of the 2011 World Series by a score of 6-2. Tony La Russa's club rallied to win Game 6 in dramatic fashion before shutting down the Rangers for the title the next day.
50 of 53Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images
That doesn't look comfortable. Ukrainian weightlifter Oleksiy Torokhtiv fell during the European Senior Weightlifting Championship in Kazan, Russia, in April.
51 of 53Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano breaks his bat during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in April. Chicago won 5-3, but finished 71-91, a disappointing fifth in the NL Central.
52 of 53PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Anzor Urishev and Dato Maragishvili
Russia's Anzor Urishev plants on his head before defeating Georgia's Dato Marsagishvili in the 84 kg freestyle final in Dortmund, Germany, on March 30.
53 of 53Matt Cohen/Southcreek Global/ZUMAPRESS.com
Matt Marvel was bucked off his horse during the 93rd annual Livermore Rodeo in California in June. As you can see, it didn't end well for Marvel.
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