Sure shots, long shots and once-in-a-lifetime shots -- 2004 had them all. It was an over-the-top, out-of-control year, sensational in glorious and scandalous senses. \nHalley's Comet comes around every 76 years. The Boston Red Sox hadn't won the World Series in 86 years. \nNobody ever won a World Series or even a league championship down 0-3 in games, much less three outs from a sweep. \nA gutsy bettor with blind faith in the Red Sox could have made millions plunking down dough on them at that particularly bleak moment when a sweep by their ancient and annual enemy, the New York Yankees, seemed inevitable. \nIt took a self-proclaimed team of "idiots," undaunted by history or curses, to flip fate and make 2004 one of sport's greatest vintage years. \nOne of the most enduring images of the year -- illustrating what it took to win and what it meant to those who did -- was the bloodstained sock of Curt Schilling. It gave new meaning to Red Sox and belongs in the Hall of Fame. \nStitched to pitch, Schilling inspired his teammates and lifted the suffering generations of Red Sox Nation scattered around the globe. It was a medical miracle, if not a heavenly one, the very opposite of what Boston's many pessimistic fans had come to expect. \nThe signs at Fenway read "Believe," and millions did, even if they feared down to the last out that something, somehow would go wrong as it always had since 1918. \nYet Schilling delivered and David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar, Orlando Cabrera and the others did the rest, stunning the Yankees and sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the most amazing team comeback in sports history. \n"All empires fall sooner or later," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said after the Yankees became the first baseball team to lose a seven-game series from a 3-0 lead. \n"Ninteen-eighteen is gone forever," Boston outfielder Trot Nixon said when the Series ended. "We're not going to have to hear about that again." \nHe was wrong, though in a good way. These Red Sox will hear forever how they broke the so-called Curse of the Bambino. \nRoll back the calendar to Jan. 1 and imagine betting on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl en route to an NFL-record 21-game winning streak and the Boston Red Sox to sweep the World Series in the same year. What would you have won if you parlayed those with bets on the starless Detroit Pistons to win the NBA title and the Sunshine State's Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup? \nWhat if, along the way, you ran up the winnings by betting that a single school would win the men's and women's Final Four in basketball. No school ever had. Connecticut did. \nAnd what were the odds back then that Vijay Singh would win nine times in the year, become golf's first US$10 million man, and replace Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the world? \nOr that Switzerland's Roger Federer, uncoached, would become the first man since 1988 to win three Grand Slam tennis titles? \n"Roger just played too good today," Andy Roddick said after losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final. "I threw the kitchen sink at him, but he went to the bathroom and got a tub." \nSingh and Federer weren't huge shocks to rise to the top of their sports, but to win on the scale they did was extraordinary. \nThere was far less surprise in seeing Lance Armstrong pedal to a record sixth straight Tour de France, Michael Schumacher win a seventh Formula One title or Kurt Busch capture NASCAR's Nextel Cup in a new championship format. \nNor, despite their advanced age, was there astonishment in seeing Roger Clemens win a record seventh Cy Young award or Barry Bonds join Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in the 700-homer club while winning a record seventh MVP. \nClemens retired from the Yankees, unretired for his hometown Houston Astros, and had one of his finest seasons. Bonds shrugged off a federal grand jury appearance, a thousand questions about steroids and the arrest of his personal trainer in the BALCO case, and, at 40, had a career year. \nThey, like Ichiro Suzuki, whose record 262 hits broke George Sisler's 84-year-old mark, gave the season a golden hue. \nMichael Phelps imposed himself in such a way at the Athens Olympics, winning eight medals, six of them gold and none a surprise. If Phelps didn't quite match Mark Spitz's record haul of seven individual golds in 1972, he still ruled the pool. \nMorocco's Hicham El Guerrouj, the greatest middle-distance runner of all time, elevated the games by winning the 1,500 gold after failing twice before, then added the 5,000 -- a double that hadn't been accomplished since Paavo Nurmi did it in 1924.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being