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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 2, 2006

Hawai'i sports stars brightened our 2005

The year just past sapped our energy in so many ways that people who seemed to have it in boundless supply on the home front quite naturally caught our attention.

Feeling powerless in the face of global natural disasters and surging fuel prices, Hawai'i turned to the world of athletics and found several of its own standouts who dazzled everyone.

Decathlete Bryan Clay, the Castle High School alumnus, claimed a silver medal at the Olympics and a gold at the World Championships in Helsinki. He also claimed hearts through his foundation, which helps Island athletes through scholarships, new facilities and sports clinics.

Generosity was the watchword, too, for young golf phenom Michelle Wie, who directed a half million of her lucrative sponsorship dollars to Hurricane Katrina victims. And as she strives relentlessly for her first professional title, she's exhibited tremendous grace under pressure.

Both stars garnered many votes in a poll that The Advertiser sports desk took on the big athletics stories of 2005. But the runaway favorite for our readers was the summertime saga of the triumphant West O'ahu Little League all-stars who became World Series champs Aug. 28 in South Williamsport, Pa.

Such a feat, accomplished by children endowed with ordinary practice facilities and resources, uplifts everyone's spirits. Of course, they had some extraordinary help a coach who trained them to develop resilience that saw them through their disappointments and challenges, and families who demonstrated for their Mainland hosts the meaning of aloha.

Hawai'i loves its heroes, and in 2005, the athletes shone most brightly among them.