The year 2012 has come and gone and there was some unbelievable athletes that kept us entertained for the year. From Soccer to Tennis, I present the Top 10 Athletes of 2012 – These names are in no particular order, keep that in mind while checking this out!
10. Lindsey Vonn – Skiing
Lindsey Vonn has taken a step away from her sport as of late, but it’s no debate that she’s at the top of her game. (Photo: RedBullUSA.com)
If I were writing a second edition of the Hottest Women in Sports, Lindsey would be included in that too, but this one is about athletes, and she’s a hell of an athlete. Vonn has dominated Women’s skiing for years, from 2008-2010 she swept all the titles in the World Cup, and continued that dominance in the 2012 World Cup. In 2012 she became the third winningest Female Skier of all time, as well as claimed her 50th World Cup victory in Germany. Vonn fell ill later in the year with an intestinal illness, but was able to come back in late November to run the table on events held in Canada despite not being 100 percent recovered from her illness.
9. Roger Federer – Tennis
Federer held the top position in Tennis for the majority of 2012. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Roger Federer took his game to a whole new level in 2012, unfortunately just a few weeks ago he was dropped to number two in the ATP’s World Rankings, but he held the top position for the majority of the year. In 2012 he took home a Silver Medal in the London Olympics, as well as won the 2012 Wimbledon. Federer is a guy that his opponents don’t like facing because his game is never the same. He’s the Tom Brady of Tennis, a student of the game who plays with his unique skillset, but also his technique. It changes with every match he goes into and it’s one of the reasons why he’s the best Tennis star in the world, despite his dropping in ranks this December.
8. Ryan Lochte – USA – US Men’s Swimming
Gold and Grills were a big part of Lochte’s year, and he was a big winner in the Summer Olympics (Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)
Ryan Lochte was one of the highlights of the 2012 London Olympics, and he’s a pretty down-to-earth dude. He beat out Michael Phelps this summer at the games, and while he acknowledged the greatness that is Phelps, he took home the Gold and claimed the top spot of the swimming world with a total of 5 Medals. Shortly after the Olympics he even dueled Prince Harry, fully clothed and whooped him as well! Lochte is also a fun character out of the pool too, as pictured above he’s a grill-rocking funny guy who just likes being himself. He also trademarked the word “Jeah” this summer as well, his signature way of saying “Yeah”. His year was a great one, and he looks to stay on top of his sport for years to come!
7. Mike Trout – MLB – L.A. Angels of Anaheim
Mike Trout dominated in his rookie year winning Rookie of the Year and was runner up for the AL MVP. (Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE)
Mike Trout was one of the best stories in Baseball this year after exploding onto the scene for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He broke records throughout the year, the earliest was his scoring in 14 consecutive games, an Angels record and an MLB Rookie record. In July, Trout scored 34 runs, breaking a rookie record that was held since 1934. He was also the youngest player in league history to hit 20 home runs and steal 40 bases, but that’s not all as he became the first player in MLB History to post 30 home runs, 45 stolen bases and 125 runs in one season. He was rightfully named the MLB’s Rookie of the Year and came second to being named AL MVP for the season. He’s gonna be a fun one to watch for a long time!
6. Miguel Cabrera – MLB – Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera was the MLB’s first Triple-Crown Winner since 1967. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)
This seven time All-Star has been around for some time, but he surged this season for the Detroit Tigers. He’s always been regarded as one of the best in the game, and this year was no different as he claimed the AL MVP after becoming the first player since 1967 to become the Triple-Crown winner. Cabrera also became the first player in Tigers history to have five seasons with 30 or more home runs. He also set a career record, having accounted for 205 hits on the year helping Detroit get to the World Series. His year was a great one and hopefully he can continue into 2013!
5. Lionel Messi – La Liga – FC Barcelona
Messi scored an incredible 91 goals in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)
Lionel Messi was an absolute monster in 2012 setting World Records in the year. His 91 total goals in a season broke a 40 year old record for most goals set in a calendar year, and he made it look easy while doing it. He scored five goals in one match this year, setting the new record in the UEFA Champions League for goals scored in a match. His 2012 year was capped with a second consecutive top goalscorer award, and the fourth award of the same honors in the UEFA Champions League. He’s widely regarded as the best footballer in the world, and his numbers don’t lie. His athleticism is outstanding and at 25 years old I don’t see him slowing down any at all for a long time!
4. Kevin Durant – NBA – Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant helped get his team to the NBA Finals in 2012 while claiming his third straight scoring title. (AP Photo)
Kevin Durant has been fun to watch since joining the NBA in 2007. He’s insanely gifted and is arguably one of the best players in the league. He doesn’t stop, and rarely has a bad game. In 2o12 he claimed his third consecutive NBA Scoring title while leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a trip to the NBA Finals. He averaged 28 points per game in 2012, bringing his career average to 26, averaging two more than the NBA’s All-Time leader in scoring, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 2012 he set career numbers, including a 51 point performance against the Denver Nuggets. He was named the All-Star game MVP, and came second in the NBA’s MVP award. In the NBA Finals Durant averaged 30.6 points per game. Although the Thunder fell to the Miami Heat, Durant put up numbers to remember in the five-game series. He looks as if he’ll continue what he’s always done going into 2013.
3. Adrian Peterson – NFL -Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson had a remarkable comeback season, just months after he suffered a potential career-ending knee injury (AP Photo)
The story surrounding Adrian Peterson in 2012 was awesome. In the 2011 NFL Season, Peterson suffered an injury to his knee that could have very well ended his career. He missed one game going into the offseason and many questioned if he’d be ready to play in the 2012 season. He shocked the world by his rehabilitation, and he suited up for the Minnesota Vikings opening game. That alone was a story in itself, and miraculous. What he did after returning to the field, however, was even better. Heading into the season Peterson said his goal would be to reach 2,500 yards, the goal he sets for himself every season. But coming off a complete rebuild of the knee, nobody thought it would happen. He didn’t quite reach his goal, but he did do outstanding work while coming up nine yards short of the NFL’s single season rushing yardage record. Peterson finished the season with 2,097 rushing yards, putting him in second place all-time for yardage in a season. For a guy that wasn’t expected to do much in 2012, he sure took the bull by the horns and did things his way. An awesome year for Peterson.
2. Calvin Johnson – NFL – Detroit Lions
Calvin Johnson dominated 2012 while breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record (US PRESSWIRE)
Calvin “Megatron” Johnson has a supreme year in 2011, catapulting him to the top of the NFL World as a receiver. After his breakout season, Megatron was put on the cover of the Madden Video game, setting him up for the so-called “Madden Curse”. That alone wasn’t looking good going into 2012, but the Lions added yet another curse, by signing him to a monstrous eight year, $132 million dollar deal making him the highest paid receiver in the league. Past history shows that the Madden Curse sets a player up for failure, and a lot of times after signing a big deal, players hit a slump that takes a year to dig out of. For Megatron in 2012, nothing got in his way. He didn’t have the double-digit touchdown stat he enjoyed the year before, but not at fault of his own – as Johnson was brought down inside the opponents three yard line six times, taking away from his touchdown total. But Johnson did enjoy the season he had before setting him up to surpass Jerry Rice’s single-season yardage record. He had himself in prime position to become the first receiver in NFL history with 2,000 yards receiving, but fell just 36 yards shy of the goal. His 1,964 receiving yards are the most in league history, and it might take a while for someone to even sniff that, let alone pass it. Megatron is one of the most gifted weapons in the league, and he’s not going anywhere any time soon.
1. LeBron James – NBA – Miami Heat
King James finally got his ring in 2012 after an impressive showing in the NBA Finals (AP Photo)
LeBron James had a 2012 to remember. He won yet another NBA MVP award, his first NBA Championship, a Finals MVP award and a Gold Medal in the Summer Olympic Games. One of the more memorable performances of his 2012 season was the game six performance vs the Celtics where he went crazy on the court , scoring 45 points and grabbing 15 boards on the way to helping the Heat force a game seven in the series. LeBron was also named the Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. In the Summer Olympics, LeBron became the first player in Olympic history to complete a triple-double when he registered 11 points, 12 assists and 14 rebounds against the Australia Men’s team. He also became the USA’s leading scorer in the Olympics where he finished with 273 points all-time. LeBron took a step forward in 2012, and with the ring on his finger he should have proven to everyone that he is one of the best NBA players of all time.
Bonus: Chrissie Wellington – Triathlon
Chrissie Wellington crosses the finish line as she claims her fourth Triathlon World Title. (Bruce Omori/EPA)
You’re probably wondering who Chrissie is, but let me tell you – she is one freakish athlete. Not only should she be included on this list for the top athletes of the year, but probably one of the greatest of all time, and most people have never heard of her. Have you ever heard of a Triathlon? Insanely gifted athletes train year-round to compete in one of these things, and most never come close to winning the race. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bicycle ride, topped off with a full 26.2 mile marathon – without a break – and usually has a time limit of 17 hours. Non. Stop. Yeah, gifted, right? Well Chrissie has not only won one of these events, she’s won four World Titles! In 2012 she retired after winning her fourth Title with an amazing time of 8 hours and 55 minutes. She’s definitely deserving of being listed here, and we wish her the best in her retirement!
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