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Crowd-Pleasers
December 26, 2005
LANCE Armstrong
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December 26, 2005

Crowd-pleasers

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LANCE Armstrong

RETIRE STRONG

2005 | He quit cycling the instant he'd won his seventh straight Tour (page 90), dramatically bringing down the curtain on a career in which he cheated death and put an American stamp on a hidebound Euro obsession. 2006 | He'll immerse himself in his Lance Armstrong Foundation, which has raised $120 million for cancer-related causes. Watch him make the LAF a global force and be to cancer what his buddy Bono is to Third World debt.

LATIN KINGS

FROM LEFT: MANNY RAMIREZ, MELVIN MORA, ALBERT PUJOLS, CARLOS BELTRAN, DAVID ORTIZ, MIGUEL CABRERA, MIGUEL TEJADA, VLADIMIR GUERRERO

2005 | The Dominican Republic produced its third MVP in four seasons ( Tejada, Guerrero and, this season, Pujols), while in Boston, Ramirez and Ortiz anchored the game's most dangerous offense. Cabrera and Mora showed that power crosses the Caribbean, to Venezuela. 2006 | The D.R. brings a latter-day Murderers' Row to the World Baseball Classic; picking a cleanup hitter from that lineup is like having to pick your favorite Shakespeare sonnet.

WAVE MASTERS

LAIRD HAMILTON, BRUCE AND ANDY IRONS

2005 | Surfing's a global phenom, but its greatest ambassadors--and practitioners--still hail from the sport's birthplace: Hawaii. Hamilton's big-wave adventures made him a modern Marlboro Man, while the Ironses rode roughshod on the pro tour. 2006 | Hamilton's still looking for a 100-foot drop-in; Andy, who won three consecutive world titles (2002-04), could get another one this year ... if his brother doesn't beat him to it.

MICHAEL VICK

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