December 23, 2009 | Diane Johnson | Leave a comment 1. 2001 In February 2001 Dale Earnhardt one of the best and well-known NASCAR racers died in an accident. The seven-time champ slammed into a wall on the race’s final lap. The crash was startling and tragic but led to improvements in the sports safety. Well if you can call it a sport. 2.Â 2001 Tiger Woods victories topped in the 2001 Masters. The first billionaire athlete was the first golfer to win the four current majors in succession. And he won eight more majors that decade. Woods is just four short of topping Jack Nicklaus’ record. 3.Â 2003 Kobe Bryant faced charges of sexual assault. Apparently the incident took place between Bryant and a hotel employee. Supposedly it was consensual but Kobe and his wife were able to work out their problems after she received a $4 million ring. The criminal charges were later dropped and the civil suit was settled privately with the compromise unknown. 4.Â 2003 In 2003, steroid scandals were everywhere. Some of baseball’s most famous and least known players were caught. Players like Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi admitted to using but others have consistently denied the accusation. Some were even called before Congress for questions. 5.Â 2004 Pat Tillman was offered a $3.6 million contract to play for the Cardinals but instead enlisted as an Army Ranger. The NFL wanted him but he chose to serve his country. He was sent to Afghanistan and was killed in what was later ruled friendly fire. 6.Â 2004 When Boston won the World Series it was the first time since 1918. This victory ended the “Curse of the Bambino” which was what supposedly kept the team from winning previously. It only took 88-years to get past, 7.Â 2005 Not only did Lance Armstrong beat cancer but also his 7th straight Tour de France. The victory was sweet for the seven time winner; considering that no one else has won the title more than five times. Is he the greatest athlete? 8.Â 2007 This was the year of the famous Michael Vick incident. His image changed and he faced federal charges and a prison sentence for 21 months, plus two more years of home confinement. He was released from prison on July 20, 2009 because of dog fighting and he now plays in Philadelphia. The crime and prison sentence weren’t enough to keep this athlete off the field. 9.Â 2008 Phelps won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. He was unstoppable and swam his way into Olympic history. He was able to secure eight gold medals in eight events. He worked hard to accomplish his dreams and he could do no wrong until his image was tainted by a video of him using drugs. 10.Â 2009 When Tiger crashed his Cadillac Escalade he probably didn’t realize his image, career, and image were also going to take a blow. Now everyone’s waiting to see what will happen. His â€˜transgressions’ have come to bite him in the behind. Now we’ll see how Tiger claws out of this.