North and South Korea enter Pyeongchang under a united flag
For the first time since the Korean War, athletes from North and South Korea entered the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Games together under the Korean Unification flag. Despite its purely symbolic value, the act was a strong gesture of peace—providing the world with a vision of harmony.
Chloe Kim entertains and inspires in Olympic debut
Chloe Kim made history at this year’s Olympic Games when she became the youngest woman to win Olympic snowboarding gold. The daughter of South Korean immigrants, the now-18-year-old Kim captured hearts all around the world, and her dad did, too. Throughout the competition, he provided some of the most emotional moments from this year’s games with signs, beers, and tears.
Virtue and Moir still golden on ice
With their Olympic victory back in February, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir became the most decorated Olympic ice dancers of all time. Their free skate, set to the music of Moulin Rouge, was so much more than a medal-winning routine, though; it brought together figure skating fans from across Canada and the rest of the world to celebrate a partnership that has revolutionized ice dance.
Humboldt Broncos Jersey Day
On Apr. 6, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League crashed, claiming the lives of 16 young players and team staff. Donations poured in for the families who had lost loved ones. Vigils took place across the country, including on Jersey Day, when people wore their jerseys and green ribbons to show their support for the deceased and their relatives.
This story started in 2017 with the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas, but the aftermath is what made this season truly powerful. The Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season was a special one—the best in NHL history. The Golden Knights gave the area, which proudly declared themselves #VegasStrong, a team to rally behind all the way to the Stanley Cup final.
Luka Modrić leads Croatia to World Cup Final
Before Luka Modrić became one of the best professional soccer players in the world, he was a war refugee, forced to flee his hometown due to the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s. Nevertheless, he has had a fantastic career, including an amazing performance this summer which led his nation to its first ever World Cup final.
U.S. gymnasts awarded at ESPYs
At this July’s ESPYs, over 140 of Larry Nassar’s sexual assault survivors received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. They received the honour, presented to athletes whose contributions transcend sports, for courageously sharing their stories in court to put the abuser behind bars. The court ruling was a momentous occasion for all survivors of sexual assault, and the image of the gymnasts standing in solidarity on national TV was one of the most powerful moments in sports this year.
LeBron James founds I Promise school
Before leaving Cleveland this summer, LeBron James gifted his hometown of Akron, Ohio with the I Promise School. The public school is specially designed to meet the needs of at-risk youth, like James was. This bigger-than-basketball moment came toward the end of a year in which Fox News’ Laura Ingraham told James to “shut up and dribble.”
Colin Kaepernick teams up with Nike
On Sept. 5, Nike released an advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the free-agent NFL quarterback who became the face of a protest against police brutality in the United States by kneeling during pre-game national anthem performances. Unsurprisingly, the ad received backlash, but, ultimately, Kaepernick’s activism continues to affect and inspire people all around the world.
Naomi Osaka triumphs at the US Open
On Sept. 8, then-20-year-old Japanese-Haitian tennis star Naomi Osaka shook up the tennis world when she defeated 23-time Grand-Slam Champion Serena Williams at the US Open. A controversial confrontation between Williams and the USTA official largely defined the two-set match, souring Osaka’s victory. Still, Osaka and Williams showed great sportsmanship following the match, as Williams congratulated Osaka, and Osaka thanked Williams for inspiring her career and ultimate triumph.