This sports year was unlike any other. It was defined by a stoppage of play and a lack of games, but we still had moments of triumph, saw trailblazing athletes, major comebacks and championships that will be remembered forever. Looking back, the year will be remembered for the unknowns, the uncertainties and the adjustments made, but in between it all there were exciting and incredible moments we won’t want to forget.
With most major sports finding a way to return in some capacity, there were many fantastic moments to choose from in 2020. And don’t forget, 2020 did have a couple of months of normalcy before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Would you believe me if I told you the Kansas City Chiefs and LSU both won championships this year? I know, it feels like a decade ago. In no particular order, here are some of the major, positive moments you won’t want to forget from this year.
Let’s relive some good for a change, shall we?
Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV
We can’t talk about 2020 without talking about Patrick Mahomes and his comebacks. Mahomes and the Chiefs saw themselves down on multiple occasions on their path to their ring, but never count the MVP and his offense out. This was KC’s first Super Bowl in 50 (!) years and was Andy Reid’s first Super Bowl win as a head coach.
LSU wins national title
LSU had a run that had fans discussing where they ranked in best college football teams of all-time, with many putting them right at the top. Future No. 1 pick Joe Burrow helped lead the Tigers to a dominant 42-25 win over Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers. Their path to victory included incredible social media videos, iconic moments from Burrow, one-liners from Ed Orgeron and a lot of touchdowns.
Marlins sign Kim Ng as GM
The signing of Kim Ng not only gave the Miami Marlins a general manager with over three decades of MLB experience, but was a major win for gender equality in Major League Baseball, and sports in general.
Ng is the first female general manager in baseball history and is believed to be the first female general manager in a North American men’s pro sports league.
WNBA players continue to contribute to social justice causes
WNBA players have consistently been at the forefront of social justice issues and 2020 was no different. From discussing issues at press conferences, to using their platform to amplify voices of others, WNBA players continue to make the most of their platform.
Lakers win NBA championship
The Los Angeles Lakers championship went through the start of the season, a pause, a bubble and a lot of emotions in between. LeBron James and Anthony Davis helped lead the team to a record-tying 17th championship, and their first in 10 years.
The last time the Lakers held up the Larry O’Brien Trophy it was Kobe Bryant, who died in January, that led the team to a title. With the win, Jeanie Buss became the first female NBA owner to win a championship.
Naomi Osaka wins US Open
Naomi Osaka rose to fame when she beat Serena Williams in the 2018 US Open finals and has been dominant ever since. Osaka, now representing Japan, beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in three sets, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win in Flushing, New York. This was her second US Open title in three years, and the third major of her career.
Blue Jackets vs. Lightning game goes to five overtimes
I’m honestly shocked this game isn’t still going on. The August playoff game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning altered other team’s schedules and at one point seemed like it would stay at 2-2 forever. Finally, Lightning forward Brayden Point put an end to the madness.
This was the longest recorded game for both franchises and was the fourth longest in league history. It was also the fifth game in NHL history to reach 5 OTs.
Sarah Fuller becomes first woman to score in a Power 5 college football game
Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller made history when she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game, kicking off in a game against Missouri. It was not long after that she had another first, becoming the first woman to score points in a Power 5 college football game, when she kicked an extra point against Tennessee.
Fuller was soccer player for Vanderbilt, but when the school’s football team was hit with COVID-19 and was in need of a kicker, she stepped in to fill the need. She’s since moved on to North Texas as a graduate transfer, where she’ll complete her college soccer career
Emergency goalie helps Hurricanes defeat Maple Leafs
David Ayres, a 42-year-old emergency house goalie, was called upon for the Carolina Hurricanes in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 22. Ayres, who occasionally drives a Zamboni, beat the team that employs him as a practice net minder story for a wild, underdog story. After his NHL debut, Ayres described it as the “time of his life.”
Seattle Storm win WNBA championship
The Seattle Storm won their second WNBA championship in three years and fourth in franchise history with a three-game sweep over the Las Vegas Aces in the Finals. Their title means they are now tied with the Houston Comets and the Minnesota Lynx for the most titles in league history. They are a perfect 4-0 in the Finals, joining the Comets for the best record in Finals appearances.
The ‘miracle’ of Ryan Newman
The NASCAR community feared the worst when the Daytona 500 ended with a terrifying crash that left Ryan Newman in serious condition. Bbut less than 48 hours later he was out of the hospital, walking on his own.
Two months after the crash, he was cleared for competition. He called his recovery a “miracle” and thanked the advancements of the vehicle for helping to keep him safe. Denny Hamlin wound up capturing the checkered flag.