Top Christian Sports Stories of 2012

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the largest Christian sports ministry in the world, works with coaches and athletes throughout the professional and amateur sports world. To bring attention to the outstanding achievements of Christian sports personalities throughout the year, FCA has compiled what we believe are the top highlights in Christian sports of 2012.

There were many stories to celebrate in 2012, and FCA – the heart and soul in sports – is pleased to not just present a list of heart-felt stories, but to celebrate the impact these sports figures made on the world by utilizing their platform for God’s glory.

Tebow Wins Playoff Game, Gets Traded
With ESPN and other media outlets touting his nearly every move, Tim Tebow was anything but under the radar in 2012. Taking snaps for the Denver Broncos, he orchestrated several game-winning drives late in contests to help win the AFC West title and earn a thrilling overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in January. Tebow was traded to the New York Jets in the offseason, where, despite immense media coverage, he has played sparingly.

Linsanity Hits NBA, World Hoops Stage
Jeremy Lin, who had recently been released by a pair of NBA teams and worried for his NBA future, exploded for 25 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, in the New York Knicks’ 99-92 win over the New Jersey Nets.  That night jump-started an 11-game stretch that saw the Harvard graduate average nearly 24 points per game and take over headlines in the United States and Asia. Following the season, Lin, who is featured on the cover of the January/February, 2013 issue of FCA Magazine, signed a multi-year contract with the Houston Rockets.

Watson, Simpson Win Majors
Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson each won major events on the PGA Tour in 2012. Watson used an amazing shot out of the woods to win The Masters in a playoff, just weeks after he and his wife, Angie, adopted a baby boy. Simpson stormed back from a six-shot deficit with 13 holes left to play and held off Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell to claim the U.S. Open title.

Hamilton’s Baltimore Blasts
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton belted four home runs in the Rangers’ 10-3 win at Baltimore on May 8. It marked just the 16th time in Major League history that a player had hit four homers in a single game. They were four of 43 home runs that Hamilton hit in 2012, a season in which he was the leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game. Following the season, Hamilton signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Another Title for Lopez
Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez led the Wildcats to their fourth College World Series championship in 2012. It marked the second CWS title for Lopez as a head coach. His 1992 Pepperdine team also left Omaha with a crown.

How Tamika Spent Her Summer Vacation
While others were hanging out at the beach this summer, Tamika Catchings was cementing her position as one of the greatest players in women’s basketball history. Catchings and her teammates from the United States rolled to an 8-0 mark and a gold medal in the Olympics, before returning to the U.S., where the 11-year veteran from Tennessee helped lead the Indiana Fever to the WNBA championship. Catchings was named WNBA Finals MVP.

London Olympics
Christian athletes dotted the rosters of several nations’ Olympic teams in London. Some Christ-followers wearing Team USA’s stars and stripes included Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross (track & field), Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore (women’s basketball), Christa Harmotto (women’s indoor volleyball), Missy Franklin (women’s swimming), Gabby Douglas (women’s gymnastics) and Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney (women’s soccer).

Dickey Wins Cy Young
New York Mets hurler R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young Award, putting together a 20-6 record. It was the highlight of an incredible 2012 for Dickey, who, during the calendar year alone, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, published an autobiography, pitched in the All-Star Game in Kansas City, and was named recipient of the Branch Rickey Award for exceptional community service (Rickey was instrumental in FCA’s founding in the 1950s). Following the 2012 season, Dickey was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Kershaw Earns Clemente Award
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was honored with the Roberto Clemente Award following the 2012 Major League Baseball season. The Clemente Award, “recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.”

Gridiron Success
The college football landscape was filled with Christ-followers making a difference for their teams in 2012. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel praised God after being awarded the Heisman Trophy, while other big-name players like Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, to name just a few, often used opportunities to share God’s love. More than 60 players shared what it means to be “In The Zone” spiritually in the November/December 2012 issue of FCA Magazine.

Grinnell Guard Shatters American Scoring Record
Grinnell College sophomore guard Jack Taylor stunned the basketball universe when he scored a whopping 138 points in the Pioneers’ 179-104 win over Faith Baptist Bible College in November. Taylor, a member of Grinnell’s FCA Huddle, hit 52 shots from the field, including 27 from 3-point range. The 138 points were the most ever scored by an American in a high school, college or professional game. Afterward, he was lauded by NBA stars such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Megatron Sets NFL Receiving Record
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was a bright light in his team’s otherwise disappointing season, setting the NFL’s single-season record for receiving yards. The sixth-year pro out of Georgia Tech broke Jerry RIce’s former mark of 1,848 yards in the Lions’ 15th game of the year, a 31-18 loss to Atlanta, and extended his new record to 1,964 yards — just 36 yards shy of becoming the first 2,000-yard receiver in league history.

Gabby Douglas Named Female Athlete of the Year
Gabby Douglas, who became one of the darlings of the 2012 United States Olympic Team, was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. Douglas led Team USA’s women’s gymnastics squad to gold in the individual and team all-around competitions. She became the first African-American gymnast to win the individual all-around in the Olympics. She was also the first American to earn gold in the individual all-around and the team competition in the same Olympic games. 

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About FCA
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching millions of lives…one heart at a time. Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA is the largest Christian sports organization in the world. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.

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