Mookie Betts, baseball, United States
Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts dominated baseball in 2018 with a Most Valuable Player award, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, batting title and a World Series championship. Betts won the batting title with a .346 average and added 42 doubles, five triples, 32 homeruns, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. Betts hit for at least a .300 average in every month of the season except June, when he still hit .290. He was a nearly unanimous decision for American League Most Valuable Player, collecting 28 of a possible 30 first place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Novak Djokovic, tennis, Serbia
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic was named the ATP World Tour No. 1 player and Comeback Player of the Year for 2018 after becoming the first player to begin the year ranked outside the top 20 and finish in the top spot. He was ranked as low as No. 22 after undergoing elbow surgery early in the year, but battled back to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in Shanghai and Cincinnati. He also captured the Career Golden Masters, becoming the first player ever to win all nine Masters 1000 titles in a career.
Kevin Durant, basketball, United States
Golden State small forward Kevin Durant won his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP honor after averaging a double-double – 28.8 points and 10.8 rebounds – in the Warriors’ four-game sweep against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the eleventh player in NBA history to win Finals MVP honors twice in a career.
Martin Fourcade, biathlon, France
Frenchman Martin Fourcade won his second gold medal of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, and fourth overall Winter Olympic gold, in the men’s 15 kilometer mass start event on 18 February 2018. Fourcade previously won the Pyeongchang 2018 pursuit gold. His fourth career Winter Olympic gold medal is the most gold medals all time for an athlete from France. He also won gold in a mixed relay event for France.
Yuzuru Hanyu, figure skating, Japan
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu became the first man since 1952 to defend a Winter Olympics singles figure skating gold medal at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics in South Korea in February. Hanyu won with a total score of 317.85 to take gold in the event. Hanyu later set a men’s short program world record with a score of 106.69 at the International Skating Union Figure Skating Grand Prix in Helsinki and took gold in the Rostelecom Cup event in Moscow in November. Hanyu also won gold at the Autumn Classic event in September in Canada.
Marcel Hirscher, skiing, Austria
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won gold in the men’s Alpine combined and giant slalom events at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Hirscher also captured his fourth consecutive overall International Ski Federation (FIS) giant slalom title and his seventh consecutive overall World Cup title across all disciplines in March. Hirscher has now won the overall giant slalom title five times in his career. He also tied the record for most giant slalom wins in a season with 13.
Eliud Kipchoge, running, Kenya
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge shaved more than one full minute off the marathon world record with a 2:01:39 finish in the Berlin Marathon on 16 September 2018. He became the first man to finish a marathon in less than two hours and two minutes, breaking the previous mark of 2:02:57 set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014. Kipchoge was named the male World Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after also winning the London Marathon in April.
Brooks Koepka, golf, United States
American Brooks Koepka was named the PGA Player of the Year for 2018 after winning his second consecutive U.S. Open Championship and the PGA Championship tournament. Koepka was the first player since 1989 and seventh ever to successfully defend his U.S. Open title. He also won the CJ Cup in October, which moved him to number one in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Patrick Mahomes, football, United States
Kansas City second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes took the NFL by storm in 2018. In his first year as a starter for the Chiefs, Mahomes has passed for 5,097 yards, becoming just the second player in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and have 50 touchdown passes in a single season. He also joined an elite group of quarterbacks to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season, including Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino and Matthew Stafford.
Luka Modric, soccer, Croatia
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the Golden Ball Award as the most outstanding player of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Modric scored two goals and an assist and was considered dominant in the midfield, setting the tempo and dictating the pace of play as Croatia reached the World Cup final. Modric also earned the Best FIFA Men’s Player award for the year after also starring for Real Madrid in the team’s UEFA Champions League championship season.
Michael Norman, track and field, United States
University of Southern California (USC) sprinter Michael Norman was named the winner of The Bowerman 2018 as collegiate track and field’s top male athlete. Norman finished the 2018 season undefeated in both indoor and outdoor events in the 400- and 200-meter runs and 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays. He set a world record with a time of 44.52 seconds in the 400-meter sprint and anchored USC’s world record 4×400 relay team at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Norman later broke Pac-12 Conference, school, collegiate, meet and Hayward Field records in the 400-meters (43.61 secs) and 4×400 relay (2:59.00) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.
Alex Ovechkin, hockey, Russia
Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, of Russia, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player of the playoffs after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas in June. Ovechkin led all NHL scorers with 15 goals in the playoffs, including a power-play goal in the second period of the series-clinching fifth game. He is just the second Russian player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Simone Biles, gymnastics, United States
Simone Biles became the first woman to win five U.S. all-around titles and swept the top spot in all four events at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston, Mass., in August. Biles is the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in all four events and the all-around title since Dominique Dawes in 1994. Biles also won the all-around title at the U.S. Classic in Columbus, Ohio, in July. Later in the year Biles won six medals – including four gold – at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Qatar in November. Biles equaled the women’s record total World Championship medals with 20, tying Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina.
Marit Bjorgen, cross country skiing, Norway
Norway’s Marit Bjorgen won four medals – one gold, one silver and two bronze – in cross country skiing events at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and became the most decorated Winter Olympian in history. Bjorgen, 37, has 14 career Winter Olympics medals, including seven gold, in a career spanning back to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
Jessie Diggins, cross country skiing, United States
American cross country skier Jessie Diggins provided one of the most memorable moments of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, when she crossed the finish line in first place of the women’s cross country team sprint and secured the first ever medal of any color for U.S. women in the event. Diggins competed in six events in Pyeongchang and earned the best-ever finish for an American in every one of them. By the end of 2018, Diggins was ranked at the top of the women’s cross country skiing World Cup standings, the highest ranking for a U.S. woman in 36 years.
Simona Halep, tennis, Romania
Romania’s Simona Halep was named the WTA Player of the Year for 2018 after winning her first Grand Slam title at the French Open and finishing the season as the world’s top-ranked player for the second consecutive time. Halep defeated American Sloane Stephens to capture the French Open title in June and also won the Porsche Race to Singapore, the Shenzhen Open, and the Canadian Open.
Katinka Hosszu, swimming, Hungary
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu was named the best female swimmer of 2018 by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) for the fourth time in the last five years. Hosszu won four gold medals at the FINA Short Course World Championships in 2018.
Caterine Ibarguen, track and field, Colombia
Colombian athlete Caterine Ibarguen was named the female World Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) after finishing the season unbeaten in all eight of her triple jump competitions and ending the year with a world-best mark of 14.96 meters in the triple jump and a national record of 6.93 meters in the long jump. She also won both horizontal jump competitions at the Central American and Caribbean Games, the IAAF Continental Cup and the IAAF Diamond League finals.
Ariya Jutanugarn, golf, Thailand
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn was named the LPGA Tour’s 2018 Rolex Player of the Year for the second time in the last three years. Jutanugarn won the U.S. Women’s Open, the Race to the CME Globe, the Kingsmill Championship and the Ladies Scottish Open in 2018. She also recorded 17 top-10 finishes on the season. She also won the LPGA Vare Trophy for best scoring average at 69.415 and set single-season records in rounds in the 60s (57) and birdies (470). She finished the season as the world’s top ranked women’s golfer.
Chloe Kim, snowboarding, United States
American teenager Chloe Kim won women’s snowboarding halfpipe gold with a high score of 92.75 in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. At 17 years, 296 days old, Kim became the youngest woman ever to win gold in Olympic snowboarding. She is also the youngest woman to win a gold medal on snow at the Winter Olympics, breaking the record set by Swiss skier Michela Figini in 1984.
Ester Ledecka, skiing and snowboarding, Czech Republic
Czech athlete Ester Ledecka won gold medals in two different sports – alpine skiing Super-G and snowboard parallel giant slalom – at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Ledecka became the first snowboarder to win Olympic gold in an alpine skiing event and it was the first time in 90 years that any athlete won gold in two different sports at the same Winter Games.
Marta, soccer, Brazil
Marta Viera de Silva, commonly referred to as Marta, was named the Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2018 after she captained Brazil to the Copa America title and helped her National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team Orlando Pride to a deep playoff run.
Mikaela Shiffrin, skiing, United States
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin won gold in the giant slalom and silver in super combined at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, captured her second consecutive World Cup overall title in downhill skiing and took the World Cup slalom title for the 2018 season. She won 12 World Cup races in the 2018 season, which tied her with teammate Lindsey Vonn for second most World Cup wins in a single season by a woman. In December Shiffrin won a Super-G race in Lake Louise and became the first skier – male or female – to record a World Cup victory in six different disciplines. She now has won individual World Cup races in ladies’ slalom, parallel slalom, giant slalom, Super-G, downhill and alpine combined.
Breanna Stewart, basketball, United States
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart earned WNBA Finals MVP honors after scoring 30 points in a 98-82 win on 13 September 2018 to complete a three-game sweep of the Washington Mystics. Stewart was also named the league MVP in September. She then averaged 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists and earned MVP honors as she led the United States to the Women’s Basketball World Cup championship later in the month.
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