While Boston's World Series victory was the biggest sports story of the year in the United States, the rest of the world marveled at Greece with two triumphs few expected. The country's stunning run to the title in the European soccer championship and the overwhelming success of the Athens Olympics a month later were the Nos. 1 and 2 stories of 2004 in a poll of Associated Press members outside the United States. Lance Armstrong's sixth straight victory in the Tour de France was third followed by: Michael Schumacher's record 13 Formula One wins; record 24 doping cases at the Olympics; U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' eight Olympic medals; Russian women winning the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open; China winning 32 Olympic gold medals; Roger Federer winning Wimbledon, Australian Open and U.S. Open and Arsenal soccer's 49-game unbeaten streak. The Red Sox victory finished first in the U.S. poll followed by Armstrong and the brawl between the Pacers, Pistons and Pistons fans.
OUT OF BOUNDS
FINALLY MELLOW: Carmelo Anthony has some good news: He's engaged to MTV VJ La La Vasquez. The Nuggets star proposed on Christmas Day and gave her a 9-carat ring. They haven't set a date. The engagement follows Anthony's bad offcourt news. He was charged with misdemeanor drug possession in October then cleared. In November, three men were arrested on suspicion of trying to extort $3-million from Anthony.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Who was the first junior to win the Heisman Trophy?
"We always play hard when we get down 20. You've got to play like you're getting embarrassed to start the game."
_ SAM MITCHELL, Toronto coach after a 106-94 loss to Phoenix
Army's Doc Blanchard in 1945. He finished fourth in 1946.