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The Globe and Mail

Top five most-read Sports stories of 2012

From a personal story by a veteran hockey announcer to a beach volleyball gallery, here are the most-read Sports stories of the year

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1. CBC's Scott Oake shares story of his son's fatal addiction



Hockey Night in Canada host Scott Oake and his wife Anne bravely shared the tragic story of the loss of their eldest son Bruce for the first time to help raise awareness and money for an addiction facility in Winnipeg.


Oake’s openness about the family’s struggle struck a chord with Globe readers, with the story by Bruce Dowbiggin.


“That’s the one thing we learned,” the sportscaster said. “That addiction knows no socioeconomic boundaries. We’re just an average family.”

Courtesy of the Oake Family

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2. Canadian skier Sarah Burke dies from injuries



Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died nine days after crashing during a training run in Utah, cutting short the brilliant career of a winter sports pioneer at the age of 29.


A four-time Winter X- Games champion, Burke was the best-known athlete in her sport and will be remembered for the legacy she left for women in freestyle skiing.


“Sarah was certainly someone who lived life to the fullest and in doing so was a significant example to our community and far beyond," Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge said in a statement.


Thanks to her tireless efforts, superpipe skiing will make its Olympic program debut at the Sochi Games in 2014.

Nathan Bilow/Associated Press

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3. Canada's Olympic soccer squad in shock after heartbreaking semi-final loss to U.S.



No one single game or match seemed to capture the attention of our readers in 2012 quite like the Canadian women’s soccer team’s 4-3 semi-final loss to the U.S. at the London Olympics. More than 1500 comments were left on this Jeff Blair story.


Canadian captain Christine Sinclair and forward Melissa Tancredi were among several players highly-critical of the work of Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen during the match, who made several awkward calls impacting the game, the worst of them against Canada.


“We feel cheated,” Sinclair said afterward. “It’s a shame that in a game as important as that, the ref decided the result before it started.”


The team would bounce back to win a bronze medal by beating France 1-0.

Mike Ridewood/CANADIAN PRESS/HO, COC

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4. Sex (maybe) and the Italian swim sensation



Eric Reguly’s story on Italian swim and media sensation Federica Pellegrini ahead of the London Olympics brought plenty of strong reaction from readers.


“The British and international press in London are in for a treat when they spot her,” Reguly wrote. “Tall, tattooed, beautiful and occasionally blond, she is fond of shedding her clothes in photo shoots.”


Pellegrini’s boyfriend Filippo Magnini, the former 100-metre world freestyle champion, made headlines before the Games, telling the Italian gossip magazine Chi that he and Pellegrini would avoid sex ahead of Pellegrini’s London swim events. To which “La Pellegrini,” as she is known in her home country, responded: “Abstinence! Are you mad?”


Pellegrini failed to medal in London, finishing fifth in the 400-metre freestyle and the 200-metre freestyle.

The Associated Press

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5. Team Canada and others dig in for beach volleyball



Here’s an important lesson about the Internet: If you assemble a collection of images of taut, ripped athletic physiques straining in competition on a beach while wearing very little, people will click on it.


Like, a lot.

Reuters

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