12-24-2008, 07:50 PM
Location: Where I live? No I ask the questions here
| | Gina Carano the 2nd most searched athlete of 2008
Good to see MMA represented by Carano at 2 and Kimbo at 7. Oh, sarcasm for the Kimbo remark. But looks like MMA is turning the corner. Georges wins Canadian athlete of the year and Gina was almost the most searched athlete of the year.
- Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review - Yahoo! Buzz
Michael Phelps accomplished the greatest individual feat in Olympic Games history by winning a record eight golds in Beijing. In competing with the most-searched athletes of 2008, though, the American swimmer couldn't even make it onto the medal stand. |
Surprisingly, in a sporting year highlighted by the three-week summer spectacle in China, the top three spots were occupied by non-Olympians: Maria Sharapova, Gina Carano and Danica Patrick. Sure, sex appeal was a factor in their popularity, but these athletes were more than just pretty faces.
In January, Sharapova captured her third Grand Slam tennis title at the Australian Open and held the No. 1 ranking going into the French Open before suffering a shoulder injury that forced her to miss the Olympics and the U.S. Open. In April, Patrick became the first woman to win an IndyCar race when she passed up a late pit stop for fuel to outsmart the field at the Indy Japan 300.
Carano's sudden emergence mirrored the rapid rise of mixed martial arts. The sport's growing popularity led to mainstream acceptance in 2008 and to its network television debut (in prime time no less) on CBS, whose executives hyped their broadcasts with Kimbo Slice, the street-fighting YouTube sensation. The fighter who ended up stealing both of CBS's shows was Carano, whose girl-next-door looks belied her devastating fight skills demonstratedd in two highly entertaining victories.
Athletic achievements weren't the main reason why Olympian heartthrobs Amanda Beard and Leryn Franco as well as golfer Natalie Gulbis got more than their share of attention on the Web. Beard didn't come close to medaling in Beijing, but the U.S. swimmer did land a spot in People's 100 Most Beautiful list. Franco, a javelin thrower from Paraguay and a beauty pageant runner-up, won the hearts of many admirers despite finishing 51st at the Olympics. Gulbis, the glamour girl of women's golf, generated more interest with her off-the-course endeavors including a gig on the upcoming "Celebrity Apprentice."
Continuing this theme of beauty, the beautiful game of soccer placed two of its biggest names in the athlete searches' top 10. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 42 goals to help the world's most popular soccer club, Manchester United, win the championships of England and Europe and earned the continent's player of the year award. Former Man United standout David Beckham proved his star power by rounding out the list despite a disappointing season with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He managed to keep himself in the soccer spotlight by joining England's exclusive club of players who've made 100 national team appearances.
No athletic effort captured the public's fascination quite like Phelps' pursuit of Mark Spitz's record of seven golds in one Olympics. Dramatic victories in the 400-meter relay and 100 butterfly further cemented Phelps' legend, but despite being a familiar face to Olympic viewers (he won six golds four years ago in Athens), users were still curious about the Baltimore native, searching for information about his age, salary, well-documented diet and double-jointed arms as well as details about his personal life, namely his father absent from the Beijing scene and dating status.
With seven world records, Phelps looked good in surpassing Spitz's 36-year-old mark. He just didn't look that good to get the Search top spot.
There are many paths to freedom....not all are peaceful.