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Paq Man

As we draw closer to the end of another year, it’s time for all of those nifty year-end compilations. Sports Illustrated got a little ahead of the game — these things usually come out after Christmas — when they released their Greatest Shots of 08, a 56-image gallery that captures the year in sports quite effectively. As expected, the Olympics are featured prominently, including that famous swimmer guy who attracts cute psychotics who don’t use AT&T Cingular.

There is, of course, a David Tyree sighting, as well as Mario Chalmers. Nastia Liukin is also featured a few times as SI made sure to feature the main stories of 2008 through the eyes of their cameramen.

Here are a few of my faves — Click the images for bigger versions:

Golden Usain Dunked on

Women's Volleyball Britta Heidemann

We like these last two for obvious reasons, but just in case you are wondering about the fencing picture, besides capturing the gracefulness of the sport, it also features Britta Heidemann, someone we are quite fond of.

You can see why here (NSFW).

Which image do you think best captures what we witnessed in 2008? Michael Phelps? Usain Bolt? How about Brad Lidge’s celebration or Tiger’s “forcing-the-playoff” jubilation? The great thing about these compilations is there’s really no wrong answer because it’s all perception.

What SI did is give us a great retrospective and they did so with their Walter Iooss-like attention to detail. What a nice early Christmas present.