Sports stories of 2012: What caught your attention?

As 2012 draws to a close, many are happy to see it go. There were many ugly stories in the sports world this year, and many are ranking the Penn State scandal the biggest news story of the year. There were also positive stories (which I like to focus on), many of which emerged from the 2012 London Olympics this summer.Other stories that rank high on the list are the Lance Armstrong doping charges that led to him being stripped of his titles and the New Orleans Saints cash-for-hits bounty scandal. There was also the Belcher murder-suicide that shocked us all recently. Even with all this bad news, good can be learned.The Penn State scandal will hopefully persuade other victims of abuse to come forward. The Armstrong doping charges will have other athletes debating that it is not worth the risk of getting caught or being known as a cheat just to win. The Saints scandal brought to light a secret in the NFL that is apparently not a secret to those who play the game. Now that the public knows about it, doling out money for hits that hurt other players will not be accepted anymore. With the Belcher murder-suicide, no one can really understand the why. Researchers are looking into the possibility that head injuries are causing a lot of football players mental trauma, even before they retire. While this does not excuse his actions, there is the possibility that bigger precautions may now be taken in the contact sport. Although the bad stories this year got a lot of coverage, there are just as many inspiring stories. The London Olympics was full of magical moments.Facebook fan of BNH, Wesley Barker says the Olympics held the best headlines of the year in his mind. “From Phelps’ record breaking medal count, the Fierce (Fab) Five in gymnastics, both basketball teams, 17 year old Missy Franklin to the 3 time gold medalists in women’s beach volleyball! Great headlines from amazing athletes that are all more than deserving.”Michael Phelps, who many thought could never top his last Olympics, showed everyone that he still has it. It was bittersweet as it was his last Olympics, but he went out in a splash of glory becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 22 medals, 18 of those gold.Gabby Douglas, a 17 year old gymnast, captured the hearts of America. She led her team to gold and also won gold in the all-around, becoming the first American gymnast to do so. Along with her teammates, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber, they became known as the Fierce Five and brought home only the second team gold in women’s gymnastics for the USA.Missy Franklin, a 17 year old swimming sensation, became known as one of America’s sweethearts. In her Olympic debut, she won a total of five medals, four of those being gold. People fell in love with her not just for her obvious talent, but her very sweet and lively character.Like him or not, LeBron James had a stellar year in the NBA leading his team to a championship, earning an MVP trophy, and leading team USA to gold. Amazingly, James scored in double figures in every game he played in 2012. He is definitely not the most liked athlete, but his talent cannot be overlooked.Former BNH sports editor Rusty Berry says, “Even though I can’t stand them, the resurgence of Notre Dame football would be a positive story, along with the year of the rookie quarterback in the NFL.” Notre Dame finishes this year at the #1 spot, and Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and Robert Griffin III have all had wildly successful first seasons in the NFL.Of course, Johnny Football, the A&M quarterback who threw his way to a Heisman trophy and a win over #1 Alabama as a freshman is another great story this year. It is also one that is just beginning. Local sports correspondent, Donna Haynes agrees. “Manziel winning the Heisman is a great story for A&M. The best college game of the year was their win over Bama.”Miguel Cabrera won the triple crown in baseball this year, the first since 1967. Felix Hernandez, of the Mariners, pitched a perfect game, and so did Phil Humber of the White Sox. Matt Cain of the Giants, also pitched a perfect nine innings, the first in their history.