2013 Year in Review: Sports

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Our year-in-review special looks back at the wacky, weird, and wondrous stories of 2013.

SPLITS COVERAGE

An American insurance company conducted an awareness campaign targeting teenage girls and their parents to advise them that cheerleading is second only to football itself in sports accidents in high schools. In 2011 alone, almost 37,000 cheerleaders went to emergency rooms in the U.S. with injuries as serious as spine damage and skull fractures.

AFTER THE SPIN CYCLE

“I went and looked up the definition of cheat…I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”—Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong to Oprah Winfrey, finally admitting what many already knew or suspected: that the cycling superstar had taken banned substances in all his Tour wins

FIRE THE INTERPRETER

“I don’t do the gay guys, man. I don’t do that. Ain’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”—San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver during a pre–Super Bowl interview. His personal PR rep, Theodore Palmer, later said: “All of this was just a big mistake. It was interpreted wrong”

KEEPIN’ IT UNREAL

“Selfishly, I think players need to say that they’re straight right now…The way things are going right now with the bigotry that still exists and the discrimination that still exists within the locker room and sports arena in general, I think you need to say, ‘Hey, I’m straight. I love women. And keep things so-called normal.”—Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo during a March MSNBC interview. He also said he feels strongly that the first openly gay NFL player will “happen really soon…in the next year or the following year”

FLUSHED WITH DISTRESS

“It felt like someone ripped out my heart, stuck a knife in it, then lit it on fire and flushed it down the toilet.”—New York Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro (who signed a 15-year, $67.5-million contract in 2006) on his NHL team waiving him to the minors

KILLING FOR KICKS

The UEFA Champions League warned Kazakhstan team Shakhter Karagandy that it would not tolerate any more ritual animal sacrifices before soccer games. The team killed a sheep before a game against Celtic in August, which it won 2-0.

TORT’S NO TWIT

“I think it’s the most narcissistic thing I have ever seen, Twitter. There better be no information come out of the locker room with that damn Twitter. It’s nothing but trouble to me.…I haven’t banned it. I am not going to treat them like little kids. I think it’s stupid.”—New Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella makes clear his views on team secrecy during training camp

CODDLING IS FOR EGGS

“It’s not about a group hug to make sure it’s okay.…I’m not going to huddle up every time something goes wrong on the ice.”—Tortorella on not calling a time-out after the Carolina Hurricanes scored twice in 10 seconds to tie the Cancucks. On his next shift, Ryan Kesler scored the winning goal.

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