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Top 25 sportspeople of 2018: Nos. 20-16

With 2018 winding down, theScore looked back at the previous 12 months and voted on the top 25 sportspeople of the year. Here’s the second instalment, highlighting Nos. 20-16.

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 (Sat.) | 10-6 (Sun.) | 5-1 (Mon.)

20. Marit Bjoergen, Cross-Country Skiing

FRANCK FIFE / AFP / Getty

Already the winningest cross-country skier in history entering PyeongChang, Marit Bjoergen’s GOAT status in her sport wasn’t in doubt. But she sought a greater level of achievement, and, after claiming two golds, a silver, and two bronzes in South Korea to bring her career Olympic medal total to 15, she wrestled the crown of most decorated Winter Olympian away from fellow Norwegian legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Bjoergen’s dominance boosted Norway, a nation with about as many citizens as Greater Boston, to the top of the medal table. Michael Phelps of the snow? Maybe he’s the Bjoergen of the water. – David P. Woods

19. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Chris Graythen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Although Drew Brees will likely be denied an MVP award once again, this time by Patrick Mahomes, that oversight does nothing to diminish what the future Hall of Famer has accomplished, and still can accomplish, in his age-39 season. The longtime Saints superstar earned his most prestigious personal record yet back in Week 5 when he surpassed Peyton Manning to become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, and it’s been Brees’ elite play over the course of the season, arguably the most efficient of his 18-year career, that’s led the Saints to the NFC’s No. 1 seed. A second Super Bowl ring is well within reach, and, if his continued dominance is any indication, perhaps Brees has his eyes on several more Lombardi Trophies before he calls it a career. – Dan Wilkins

18. Daniel Cormier, UFC

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC / UFC / Getty

2018 was the year Daniel Cormier finally emerged from the shadow of his longtime rival Jon Jones. Once cast as a villain, DC flipped that narrative and became the UFC’s second-ever double champion with an astounding first-round knockout of heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in July. He also added two dominant title defenses against Volkan Oezdemir, at light heavyweight, and Derrick Lewis, at heavyweight, in January and November, respectively, to seal his place as an all-time MMA great. His retirement in March is fast approaching, but with a farewell fight against Brock Lesnar or perhaps even Jones in the cards, DC could leave the Octagon on a legacy-altering streak like few before him. – Jack Browne

17. Arike Ogunbowale, G, Notre Dame

Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It often takes something special to topple the giant that UConn is in women’s college basketball, and Arike Ogunbowale delivered just that during March Madness. The Notre Dame star was a force all night in the national semifinal between the two programs but saved her best moment for overtime. With the score tied as the seconds ticked away, Ogunbowale drilled a deep jumper with one tick left, sealing the upset win for the Fighting Irish.

That bucket would be the pinnacle of most athlete’s careers, but Ogunbowale wasn’t done there, ending the ensuing national championship in the most dramatic way possible, forever etching her name into basketball lore. – Dane Belbeck

16. Novak Djokovic, Tennis

GLYN KIRK / AFP / Getty

Novak Djokovic began the year in the deepest funk of his career, losing six of his first 12 matches and failing to even reach a quarterfinal until May, tumbling out of the top 20 in the process.

And then, in what felt like a blink, everything clicked back into place. A stirring five-set win over Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon semis propelled Djokovic to his first major title in over two years. Then, he became the first player to win all nine Masters events by capturing his first-ever title in Cincinnati. Then, he captured his third US Open, and another Masters crown in Shanghai, and, by year’s end, he’d reclaimed his long-lost status as the best in the world: No. 1, with a bullet. – Joe Wolfond

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