2012 sports year in review: records, achievements, plus sundry feats and streaks from Brees and Bryant to Cain and Ko

It’s impossible to list all the records set in 2012, but here’s a short rundown of some heralded highlights, plus 20 of our favorites, including some you might have missed.

9. London put on a women’s Olympics

For the first time since the modern Olympics began in 1896, all of more than 200 participating countries at this year’s London Games sent women athletes. Even longtime holdout Saudi Arabia, under pressure from the International Olympic Committee and Human Rights Watch, sent two Muslim women who were allowed to wear traditional head scarves while competing in judo and track and field. Neither was faintly competitive, underlining how much progress is needed to provide Saudi women with opportunities to pursue sport. The London Olympics marked a turning point for the US as well, with more women than men on the American team for the first time (269 to 261). Some of the biggest US stars were women, including gymnasts Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, swimmer Missy Franklin, judoka Kayla Harrison, tennis player Serena Williams, sprinter Allyson Felix, the women’s soccer team, and beach volleyball players Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor.

9 of 20

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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