2017: A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR
From comebacks to winning streaks, records broke all over the sports world in 2017. Check out the moments that made history and set the bar just a little higher for athletes and teams in years to come.
THE MOTHER OF ALL GREATNESSNot only did Serena Williams set the Open era record with a 23rd Grand Slam title, but she did it at 35 years old, and she also did it while she was eight weeks pregnant.
A VERY BRADY MIRACLEA 25-point comeback might be selling short the remarkable nature of the Patriots' Super Bowl victory over the Falcons. Midway through the third quarter, New England had just a 0.2 percent chance to win, which translates to a 1-in-500 shot. Brady (466 passing yards) then led the Pats to 31 unanswered points and their fifth Lombardi Trophy.
STREAKING IN STORRSThere might not be a more dominant team on this planet than Connecticut women's basketball. The Huskies' incredible, 111-game win streak, led by Gabby Williams, broke their previous record (90 games) and lasted 865 days from November 2014 to March 2017. The streak ended with an overtime buzzer-beater from Mississippi State's Morgan William.
TRIPLE-DOUBLE TROUBLEWithout Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City became a one-man steamroller last season, as Russell Westbrook totaled 42 triple-doubles and single-handedly led the Thunder to the playoffs. But as impressive of a statistical performance as Westbrook had in the regular season, it didn't lead to success in the postseason, as the Thunder were bounced by the Rockets in five games in the first round.
MILLION DOLLAR NEYMARParis Saint-Germain is now the New York Yankees of the soccer world. The French club not only dished out a record transfer fee of $262 million for former Barcelona star Neymar, but it acquired former Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe as well. It's no surprise that PSG is well ahead of second-place Monaco in the Ligue 1 table.
BIG MONEYNow this is a record that Floyd Mayweather, a gambler himself, is surely proud of. His high-profile fight with Conor McGregor set a Nevada record for gambling on a boxing match, estimated at $65 million. The number could have been a little bit higher: Mayweather himself tried to bet $400,000 on the fight lasting fewer than 9.5 rounds but was denied. He would have cashed in on the bet with 25 seconds to spare, as he knocked out McGregor at the 1:05 mark in the 10th round.
MASHING TATERSThe steroid era has been put to shame. Major League Baseball players broke the all-time single-season record for home runs this season, with Alex Gordon's bomb against the Blue Jays on Sept. 19 pushing the number to 5,694. The total would eventually reach 6,105 homers. Giancarlo Stanton contributed 59 of them, including homers in six games in a row in August.
ALL RISEYou can call this rookie "Your Honor" already. Aaron Judge, who had been considered a solid but not exceptional prospect, produced a surprising power surge that helped launch the Yankees into the American League Championship Series ahead of schedule. After blasting 52 home runs in his rookie campaign, the 25-year-old will be joined in the outfield by Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 homers last season. Expect the Bronx blasts to keep coming.
26.2 FOR THE RED, WHITE AND BLUEMore than a minute ahead of her closest competition, Shalane Flanagan blew a two-handed kiss to the crowd as she crossed the finish line in Central Park, stunning New York and the running world as the first American woman to win the race in 40 years. (Miki Gorman broke the tape in 1977.) Flanagan ran her first marathon in 2010 and previously competed in track and cross country.
CIAO, ITALIA!A traditional soccer powerhouse, Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after a 0-0 draw with Sweden knocked the team out in November. The Italians won the World Cup in 2006. Several big-name players, including veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, immediately retired from international soccer following the ouster. Of course, Italy isn't the only high-profile nation to miss out on the World Cup: The United States won't be going, either.
Illustrations by Rafa Alvarez