After losing in the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer and winning the gold medal in London, Murray was finally able to capture his first major with a victory in the U.S. Open. It didn't come easily; Murray looked well on his way after the first two sets, but he had to fend off Novak Djokovic to finally pick up his first major.
2 of 12Bill Frakes/SI
Four years after electrifying the world with world records and a cocky but delightful self-assurance, Usain Bolt repeated as champion in both events. Bolt became the first sprinter to repeat in both as well as the first sprinter to repeat in the 200. Bolt had told the press all week that he would win both events, and after his victories he labeled himself "the greatest athlete to live."
3 of 12Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images; Ted S. Warren, Jeff Chiu/AP
It was the first time in Major League history that three different pitchers threw perfect games in one season, two of which came in the same ballpark. Humber, a career journeyman for the White Sox, silenced the Mariners in April at Safeco Field before Seattle's own Hernandez flummoxed the White Sox for nine innings a few months later. In between the two was Cain's silencing of Arizona, which was the first perfect game in Giants' history.
4 of 12Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history with 19 medals after winning a gold medal in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay. Though he had a couple disappointing performances to start the 2012 Games, Phelps still left London with six medals and established himself as the most prolific Olympian in history.
5 of 12Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Spain became the first team to win three consecutive major titles (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012) after thrashing Italy 4-0 in the European final. Playing a thrilling brand of end-to-end soccer, the Spaniards scored two wondrous goals to start and two more goals late to overwhelm an aggressive but overmatched Italian side.
6 of 12John W. McDonough/SI
LeBron James was finally able to join the elite after he and the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. James was masterful in the playoffs, averaging 30.3 points, 9.70 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
7 of 12David E. Klutho/SI
Paying their first visit to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1993, the Los Angeles Kings rode an incredible hot streak throughout the playoffs en route to the franchise's first Stanley Cup victory in its 45 years. Led by Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and goalie Jonathan Quick, the eighth-seeded Kings were an astonishing 12-2 in their first three series before entering the Finals against New Jersey. Despite taking a 3-0 lead in the final series, the Kings needed to work a little harder to clinch a six-game series.
8 of 12Bill Frakes, Greg Nelson/SI
Not one, but two No. 2 seeds lost in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the first time that has happened in tournament history. First it was Norfolk State, leaning heavily on forward Kyle O'Quinn to keep pace with Missouri's rapid attack -- which held steady -- before eventually shocking the Tigers 84-83. After that was a game with a significantly different feel, led by a hidden star; Lehigh's C.J. McCollum fundamentally outclassed every player on the floor -- including Duke's heralded freshman Austin Rivers -- scoring 30 points and leading the Mountain Hawks to a 75-70 win over the Blue Devils.
9 of 12Greg Nelson/SI
The Wildcats and wondrous freshman center Anthony Davis seldom looked challenged in Kentucky's championship run, the first for veteran coach John Calipari. Davis, the eventual first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, anchored an extraordinarily talented team that never appeared to struggle and brought a title back to Lexington for the first time since 1998 with its win over Kansas in the final.
10 of 12Robert Beck/SI
Despite finishing the regular season just 9-7, the New York Giants played stellar defense and tremendously balanced offense under quarterback Eli Manning en route to a 21-17 win over the favored New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. It was the second time that the Giants defeated the Patriots in a Super Bowl in the last five years, and it marked the second Super Bowl MVP trophy for quarterback Eli Manning.
11 of 12G Fiume/Getty Images
While this play had no playoff implications, Trout's unbelievable theft of a sure Hardy home run signaled the arrival of one of baseball's most exciting players. Trout's grab was reminiscent of Torii Hunter's grab of Barry Bonds' home run in the 2002 All-Star Game. Trout has emerged as a favorite for the American League MVP and could become the third player in history (Ichiro Suzuki, Fred Lynn) to win MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season.
12 of 12Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images; Heinz Kluetmeier/SI; Chris Trotman/Getty Images
It may feel like too long ago for Knicks' fans, but former Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin, working off of a non-guaranteed contract after having been cut twice, took the world's biggest stage by absolute storm. The diminutive but lightning-quick point guard rattled off tremendous performances against the Nets, Jazz and eventually the Lakers, where he thoroughly outperformed Kobe Bryant by scoring 38 points and dishing out seven assists.
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