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2008 In Review:

TOP 10 SPORTS STORIES:2008: Simply the best

Grand year is highlighted by Newport-Mesa stars who come up golden at the Beijing Olympics.

December 30, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

Sometimes the biggest local news is made well beyond the parameters of Newport-Mesa, as was the case with the majority of the Top 10 sports stories of 2008, as selected by the Daily Pilot Staff. This year’s fare was dominated by events outside domestic borders, on the world stage of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China.

1 Misty May-Treanor: The Newport Harbor High graduate solidified her status as the best women’s beach volleyball player ever by adding numerous titles and accolades, foremost being her second Olympic gold medal.

The tandem of May-Treanor and partner Kerri Walsh did not lose a set in seven matches in Beijing, some of which served as staples for NBC’s prime-time television coverage.

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May-Treanor was named Most Outstanding Player of the Olympic tournament, an honor she also either claimed or shared on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals and Federation Internationale de Volleyball tours.

She became the first female to earn 100 AVP tournament titles, pocketing 12 top prizes on that circuit to go with four FIVB tournament crowns in 2008.

Her celebrity status escalated with myriad television appearances on talk shows, even prime-time programs, as well as the frequent coverage of her on-court exploits.

It was one such foray on the airwaves, however, that brought adversity, as she ruptured her left Achilles tendon while practicing for the popular “Dancing With the Stars,” television program. The injury will sideline her for the 2009 beach volleyball season.

2 Aaron Peirsol’s golden touch: The Newport Harbor High product swam to two gold medals in Beijing, upping his career total in that department to five and giving him seven Olympic medals, including two silver, in three Olympiads.

In Beijing, he topped the field in the 100-meter backstroke, setting a world record with a time of 52.54 seconds.

He was also favored to win the 200 back, but was upset by fellow American Ryan Lochte and settled for a silver medal.

Peirsol added his second gold medal by leading off the 400 medley relay, that helped Michael Phelps add to what became his record-setting total of eight gold medals. The winning time of 3:29.34 was a world record.

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