From harrowing scandals to high-profile legal battles, the last 12 months have been chock full of hard-hitting headlines across the sports world. With 2013 coming to a close, it's time to reflect on the biggest sports stories of the year, presented in chronological order:
1. Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping
Lance Armstrong shocked the world when he admitted to doping throughout most of his cycling career, including all seven Tour de France titles.
For many years, Armstrong not only denied allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs, but often took it a step further by vehemently attacking his accusers.
Check out the video clip below to look back at some of his many denials:
Armstrong made his admission during an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey on January 13. Watch him finally come clean:
2. Manti Te'o's Girlfriend Doesn't Exist
The public gasped in disbelief when Deadspin discovered that Lennay Kekua, the purported girlfriend of then-Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, did not exist.
Te'o spoke in great detail about the fictional Kekua, who he claimed lost a battle with leukemia after surviving a bad car wreck.
The video below covers her "death" before the hoax was uncovered:
Deadspin's report prompted Notre Dame to hire a team of private investigators to get to the bottom of this incredibly bizarre story. In a January 16 press conference, athletic director Jack Swarbrick claimed that Te'o' was the victim of a hoax carried out by a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo in an "exclusively online relationship."
But Swarbrick's statement conflicted with previous accounts by Te'o and his family that the couple had met in person on multiple occasions.
Check out Te'o's full interview with Katie Couric below:
Tuiasosopo ultimately confessed to the hoax during a two-part interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on the "Dr. Phil Show" on January 31 and February 1. He claimed he fell in love with Te'o and created "Lennay Kekua" as a way to maintain an ongoing relationship.
Te'o has moved past the unimaginable embarrassment to become the starting middle linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, who selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
3. Kevin Ware's Gruesome Injury
On March 31, college hoops fans around the world tuned in to watch two storied programs, Duke and Louisville, battle it out on the hardwood for a berth in the Final Four. But when the game ended, nobody was talking about the score.
Instead, players, coaches and fans were praying for Louisville guard Kevin Ware, who suffered a horrific leg injury — one of the worst you'll ever see during a sporting event.
Ware landed awkwardly after attempting to block a shot, suffering a freak accident that left onlookers extremely unnerved. The 20-year-old sustained a severe compound fracture that caused his exposed right tibia to puncture through his skin.
Ware's courage and strength in the wake of the incident became a rallying point for Louisville, who went on to not only top Duke, but win the whole shebang. In a truly inspirational moment, Ware took part in the traditional net-cutting ceremony after the Cardinals defeated Michigan in the national championship game.
Watch the heartwarming video below:
Although the unsightly injury appeared to be career-ending, Ware is making a speedy recovery and, remarkably, has already returned to the basketball court. In fact, on November 6, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Bronx native drilled his first shot attempt in his first game back following the accident.
Relive that moment below:
4. Boston Marathon Bombing
Steeped in more than 100 years of tradition, the Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the country. Held every year on Patriots' Day, the event attracts roughly 20,000 participants annually.
The marathon finish line, usually a place of celebration and camaraderie, became a scene of unimaginable horror during the 117th annual Boston Marathon. At 2:49 p.m., two pressure-cooker bombs exploded roughly 10 seconds and 100 yards apart near the finish line, killing three and injuring 264.
The video clip below captures the grisly scene:
On April 18, the FBI identified Chechen refugees Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the suspects. Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a gunfight with police in the early hours of April 19. An unparalleled manhunt followed followed as thousands of law enforcement officers pursued Dzhokhar in Watertown, Massachusetts. The 19-year-old was captured in the evening without incident after a Watertown resident discovered the suspect in his boat.
5. Jason Collins Comes Out as Gay
NBA center Jason Collins made history by becoming the first active player in one of the four major American professional team sports to come out as gay. The 7-footer made the announcement via the cover story for the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated, which was posted on the magazine's website on April 29.
Watch Collins discuss his decision to come out in the video below: