The Best, Worst and Weirdest in Sports, 2013: Part 4

Bolt
A few of the most memorable moments of the year, taken two months at a time. Oliver Morin/AFP/Getty

Part 1 - January/February
Part 2 - March/April
Part 3 - May/June

JULY

Will You Be Headed to Brazil for the World Cup?

In Brazil, which will host the World Cup in the summer of 2014, a referee at an amateur soccer match is beheaded and quartered by irate fans. The 20 year-old referee had red-carded a player who then attacked him, which led to the official fatally stabbing the player, which incited fans to attack the ref.

Rule, Britannia!

Andy Murray becomes the first British male to win the gentlemen’s singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry did so in 1936. Murray, who eliminated No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic in straight sets, is from Scotland, whereas Perry hailed from England.

All-Star Game Returns to New York City After Five-Year Hiatus

New York Mets ace Matt Harvey, still in his first calendar year in the big leagues, gets the start for the National League in the All-Star Game. New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera retires the side in order in the eighth, and is named the game’s Most Valuable Player… even though he didn’t pitch in the ninth. American League manager Jim Leyland, concerned that the N.L. could take the lead in the bottom of the eighth, thus potentially not needing to bat the following inning, chooses to play it safe. Hence baseball’s all-time greatest closer is named the All-Star Game MVP as a set-up man.

Thanks, Lance

Chris Froome, 28, a British citizen born in Kenya and raised in South Africa, wins the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Froome is drug-tested 19 times during the 21-stage race and never tests positive. “This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time,” Froome declares.

Lefty RIght

On the same day as Froome’s triumph in Paris, Phil Mickelson begins the final round of the British Open at Muirfield, Scotland, five strokes back and in a tie for ninth place. Lefty holes out at 18, to finish with a five-under-par 66, three strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson, for the fifth major championship of his career.

Just Say No-No

San Francisco Giant pitcher Tim Lincecum no-hits the San Diego Padres, a feat that required 148 pitches. The two-time Cy Young Award winner, whose ERA had hemorrhaged to 5.18 in 2012, struck out 13 and was one pitch shy of tossing the most pitches ever thrown in a no-hitter.

Passing—or Passing Out?—Academy

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, 20, is sent home from the Manning Passing Academy after being tardy for numerous staff meetings and oversleeping. The Texas A&M quarterback was reportedly spotted on Bourbon Street—an hour’s drive from the camp—after-hours on the morning that he slept in.

Suspension of Disbelief

Major League Baseball suspends former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun for 65 games, or the remainder of the 2013 season, for the use of PEDs. More suspensions, and one of greater severity, to come.

AUGUST

Slurred Lines

Video of an angry Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Riley Cooper shouting a racial slur before a Kenny Chesney concert in July surfaces on YouTube. Cooper takes a four-day excused absence and then returns to the team.

Gravity Wins (Again)

British daredevil Mark Sutton, 42, whom the world watched parachute into the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics dressed as James Bond, dies in a wing suit jump in the Swiss Alps. Sutton, who leapt from a helicopter, was descending at 150 m.p.h. when he slammed into the side of a mountain and died instantly.

Yankee Doodles (A-Roid Edition)

Major League Baseball hands Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez a record-211 game ban for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal on the same day that A-Rod is to return from injury and play his first game of the 2013 season. Twelve other Major Leaguers are given 50-game sentences. A-Rod alone appeals his sentence, and is in the Yankees lineup that night. He goes 1 for 4, with a single.

Major Drought

Tiger Woods wins the Bridgestone Invitational outside of Akron, Ohio, his fifth and final PGA Tour victory of 2013. Woods will end the season with more than twice as many Tour wins as any of his peers and finish the year ranked No.1 and atop the money list ($8,553,439). However, he remains stuck on 14 majors –Jack Nicklaus won a record 18 – dating back to June of 2008.

Bolt Action

On a stormy evening in Moscow, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt wins the men’s 100-meter final at the World Championships of Track and Field. Before Bolt, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in that event, has time to unfurl his trademark “lightning bolt” pose, Mother Nature beats him to the punch.

The Prodigy

Also in Moscow, Mary Cain, a spindly 17-year-old from Bronxville, N.Y., qualifies for the women’s 1500 meter final. Cain, a high school senior-to-be who is already the youngest person ever to represent the U.S. at the World Championships, becomes the youngest person ever, male or female, to compete in the final of this event. She finishes 10th.

Baseball: Beyond Comprehension

In the midst of an historic, Yasiel Puig-fueled turnaround, the Los Angeles Dodgers win 18 of 20 games. The starter for the only two Dodger losses during the run is Clayton Kershaw, who will win the Cy Young Award and post the lowest E.R.A. in the majors (1.83) in 13 seasons.

Johnny Cash?

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel is accused of accepting large sums of money to sign paraphernalia for collectibles dealers. While Manziel is never officially ruled to have committed an NCAA violation, he is suspended for the first half of the Aggies’ season-opener versus Rice. The Aggies win, 52-31. Gig ‘em.

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