For many, sport is life. So it’s only fitting that this year sport imitated life. In both we had some amazing highs and some sad lows. We had the excitement of a new “Star Wars” movie and Serena Williams — the highest paid female athlete of the year — getting married and giving birth to her first child.
Unfortunately we also had multiple natural disasters occur this year, and in sport the passing of too many Olympic heroes and hopefuls. To see what else piqued readers’ interest in 2017, check out the 17 most-read TeamUSA.org stories of the year.
17. USA Hockey Announces Roster For 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team
USA Hockey was excited to announce the names of the 23 women chosen to the national team after six grueling days of selection camp. Plus, the national team roster was expected to be almost identical to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, which will be named Jan. 1, 2018. The national team roster included 12 members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team and 21 members of the 2017 world championship team that won gold. Three members of the team — Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan and Kacey Bellamy — were chosen for the team-leading 11th time.
16. Kerri Walsh Jennings, Nicole Branagh Open Up About Their New Beach Volleyball Partnership And The Goal Of Tokyo 2020
When five-time Olympic beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings teamed up with a new player for the first time since 2013, readers wanted to know everything about this new partnership. While both players are the same age and have kids, fans wanted to know if their playing style would be similar, too. TeamUSA.org asked them about their hopes for 2020 and what they each bring to the team.
15. How Olympic Triathlete Katie Zaferes’ Tiny House Just Might Help Her Win Gold In 2020
If you want to win big, you have to live small. That might not be an actual philosophy but that’s the thinking behind the 2016 Olympic triathlete’s decision to move her and her husband into a tiny house. The two applied to be on the show “Tiny House Nation” and after being accepted, started working on the — tiny — house of their dreams. She hopes that their mobile home will help her focus less on moving their stuff in and out of storage while they train and compete around the world, and instead focus on winning gold in 2020.
14. Back In Business: Simone Biles Returns To The Gym
If anyone deserved a break it was the five-time medalist at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The most-decorated American gymnast talked about her return to the gym almost a year after the Final Five won a U.S.-record nine medals at the Olympics. The 20-year-old said that she was “weak” but that she was “coming back.”
13. Serena Williams Gives Birth To Daughter
As if winning her record 23rd Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open this year — while pregnant! — could be topped, eight months later the four-time Olympic gold medalist tennis player gave birth to her first child. Along with her then-fiancé, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, the 35-year-old welcomed Alexis Olympia into the world on Sept. 1.
12. Scott Hamilton On The Importance Of Falling Down And Getting Back Up, And Status Of His Third Brain Tumor
When it came time to choose a spokesperson for U.S. Figure Skating’s Get Up campaign — which stresses the importance of being fearless in the face of failure — the 1984 Olympic figure skating champion was an easy choice. In the article the resilient Olympian talked about his experience with cancer, brain tumors, his childhood and why this campaign was so important to him. He also shared with TeamUSA.org which Get Up moment stood out the most to him.
11. Justin Gatlin Beats Usain Bolt To Win First 100-Meter World Title Since 2005
With the Lighting Bolt and eight-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter set to retire after worlds, Gatlin was running out of chances to beat his longtime rival, Usain Bolt. But he did just that in the 100-meter final at the IAAF World Championships. As the first man to beat Bolt in a major championship in a decade, the 35-year-old Team USA sprinter called the moment “surreal.”
10. In Her World Championship Debut, Morgan Hurd Steps Up To Win Gymnastics All-Around Title
In her world championship debut, the 16-year-old — who is in her first year competing as a senior gymnast — surprised everyone by winning the gymnastics world all-around title, continuing a longstanding tradition for U.S. women’s gymnastics. Readers wanted all the details on the athlete who was not expected to reach the podium after finishing sixth in the qualification round.
9. Meryl Davis And Charlie White Announce They Will Not Return For The 2018 Olympics, Discuss Their Futures
With just under a year to go until the 2018 Winter Olympics were set to take place in South Korea, the 2014 Olympic champions who became the first U.S. ice dancers to win Olympic gold announced their decision to not work to defend their title at the next Games. Though disappointed by that news, readers were happy to learn that even though they would be not seeing one of their favorite couples compete in February, it did not mean that the twosome was finished skating together.
8. Gracie Gold Withdraws From U.S. Championships, Olympic Consideration
After struggling on and off the ice this year, the Olympic medalist and two-time national champion made the decision to withdraw from her grand prix assignments, revealing that she was taking time off “to seek some professional help.” She revealed she was in treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. In a follow-up story the next month she said she would also be withdrawing from U.S. championships and, thus, consideration for the 2018 Olympics.
7. Shawn Johnson Posts Candid Video About Her Pregnancy And Miscarriage
About 18 months after the four-time gymnastics medalist at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 wed her husband, pro football player Andrew East, the two shared the news that they were expecting their first child but had suffered a miscarriage. The couple posted a 20-minute video on Johnson East’s YouTube channel, which has received more than 2.6 million views. They didn’t want to keep their journey a secret because they said, “We feel like a lot of people go through this so we wanted to share it.”
6. Meet The 2017 U.S. Figure Skating World Team
It’s easy to see why the story about the U.S. figure skating’s world team was so popular with readers when it included standouts like Nathan Chen and Karen Chen. When Nathan Chen became the first figure skater ever to land five quads — which landed him his first national title — he also became the youngest (at 17) to take the men’s title since 1966. Two days prior at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships his short program earned him a score of 106.39, which set a new U.S. record and sent readers to the site to get all the record-breaking details. They also wanted to read about Karen Chen and the 17-year-old’s gold-medal performance at U.S. championships where she beat out several Olympians.
5. Meryl Davis Opens Up About The Proposal, Her Custom-Made Engagement Ring And Sharing Her Personal Life With The World
Getting engaged is big news and was a popular story when it happened to the three-time Olympic medalist ice dancer and her boyfriend of six years, Fedor Andreev. But fans wanted to know more, which is why the follow-up story that included all the details — from how it happened to the ring design — was even more popular with TeamUSA.org readers.
4. U.S. Ski & Snowboard Mourns Sudden Passing Of 17-Year-Old Mikey Lillis
The fact that 17-year-old freestyle skier Mikey Lillis was following in the footsteps of his older brothers, world cup winners Chris and Jon, did not come as a shock to anyone. But it was shocking and sad to everyone reading about how the up-and-comer was found unresponsive in his sleep at his parents’ house while on break from training.
3. Pregnant Alysia Montano Is Literally Wonder Woman At Track And Field Nationals
In 2014, the Olympic middle-distance runner proved that running while pregnant was not only doable, but it was also possible to win, too. And when she competed at U.S. championships pregnant again three years later — this time in 110-degree heat — readers wanted to know all about the wonder woman.
2. Madison Kocian Wins All-Around At Collegiate Gymnastics Debut
Less than six months after taking home two medals at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Kocian made history as one of two U.S. Olympic champions ever to compete in NCAA gymnastics. Along with Kyla Ross, the two UCLA student-athletes successfully transitioned from elite to collegiate gymnastics, making this the second-most read story of the year. Not far behind it was the piece about the California university’s gymnastics program attracting so many high-caliber former elite athletes.
1. Olympic Family Mourns The Loss Of Olympic Champion Bobsledder Steven Holcomb
When the three-time Olympic medalist bobsledder passed away in his sleep at the age of 37 it sent shock waves through the sporting community, making it easy to see why the United States Olympic Committee’s announcement of this news was the most read story of 2017. In his career as the most decorated U.S. bobsledder in history, Holcomb had also earned 60 world cup medals, six overall world cup titles and 10 world championship medals. While his death has left the bobsled community reeling, Team USA has continued to compete and win this Olympic season in Holcomb’s honor.