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Saturday, December 29, 2012 - Page updated at 11:00 PM

A year ago, Russell Wilson was a short quarterback preparing for the Rose Bowl, Eddie Johnson hadn't played soccer for an American team in about five years and Chris Hansen was just another hedge-fund manager. What a difference a year makes. The trio took center stage and helped become three of the bigger sports stories in our state.

Credit Seahawks, Russell Wilson for saving Seattle's sports year

Steve Kelley | It almost feels like sports in Seattle didn't really begin until mid-summer when the Seahawks reported to camp and Russell Wilson started playing quarterback.

Photos of the year | Timeline | Poll: Story of the year

Nathan Adrian

Bremerton swimmer Nathan Adrian won two gold medals in London, then enjoyed the perks his success brought.

Sue Bird

Sue Bird won Olympic gold for a third time but had a trying year, both on and off the court.

Max Browne

Quarterback Max Browne led Skyline to another Class 4A state football championship and was named Gatorade national player of the year.

Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen is the man with the plan to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and an NHL team, too. His proposal for a new arena has been approved but he has to find an NBA team before construction on the new arena can begin.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez's perfect game was the highlight of another difficult season for the Mariners.

Eddie Johnson

Eddie Johnson revived his career with Sounders FC, scoring a franchise-record 14 goals. He says he can't wait to start the 2013 season.

Mike Leach

It has been an interesting first season for Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

Chris Polk

Chris Polk skipped his senior season at Washington and, surprisingly, was not selected in the NFL draft. But he achieved his dream of playing pro football by making the Eagles roster.

Terrence Ross

Washington basketball star Terrence Ross left the Huskies after his sophomore year for the NBA. He and Tony Wroten were the first pair of Huskies chosen in the first round of the NBA draft in the same year.

Hope Solo

Hope Solo was busy in 2012. She played for the Sounders Women, and won a second gold medal with the U.S. team, establishing herself, still, as the best goalkeeper in the world. Oh, and she married Jerramy Stevens.

Golden Tate

Golden Tate's controversial touchdown catch to beat the Packers on Monday Night Football might be the biggest play in a Seahawks season full of them.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson is the first rookie quarterback to start for the Seahawks since 1993, the player everyone has been watching since the season started.

Gallery: Sports newsmakers of 2012

Nathan Adrian

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Gallery: Sports photos of the year

new Husky Stadium

MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Timeline: 2012 highlights

JOEL PETTERSON / SEATTLE TIMES STAFF