For the next three weeks, NBC Sports Washington will be rolling out the 20 biggest stories in DMV sports in the past 20 years. Here is No. 18.
Not all championships are equal.
Every title tale has its own unique wrinkle that differentiates their story from those that preceded it and the ones that will eventually follow.
The Washington Mystics 2019 WNBA Championship had its own nuances that will likely never receive the same attention of the other DC championships.
But let’s make it clear, the Mystics championship was far different than the Capitals' Stanley Cup Championship in 2018 and the Nationals' World Series title that occurred concurrently.
Unlike the Capitals, the Mystics were not a team that had a decade of success that was yearning to breakthrough. Unlike the Nationals, they were not an underdog, where the team had overcome obstacle after obstacle and break through walls to get to the title.
The Mystics were just good – check that – historically exceptional when they won the franchise’s first championship. They weren’t just a championship team, they shattered records and re-defined how the game is played in the WNBA.
No team could get in their way.
They were led by one of the best basketball players in the world in Elena Delle Donne. Who, despite having to wear a knee brace, a face mask and wrap around her back for three separate injuries, won the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player award en route to her first league title. While doing so, she also finished the year as a member of the elite 50-40-90 club (field goal, 3-point and free throw percentages) that only eight other basketball players, men or women, have accomplished in a single season.
But the rest of the roster is how they won the championship. Kristi Toliver brought the championship pedigree, Natasha Cloud brought the swag, Ariel Atkins and Aerial Powers brought the youthful energy.
Emma Meesseman, the original Mystic of the entire group (and arguably the second-best player on the team), came off the bench.
Their coach Mike Thibault was one of the most accomplished in WNBA history.
What they accomplished a year removed from falling short in the WNBA Finals was staggering. ‘Run it Back’ was their motto, but it was a stampede on their path to glory.
Here’s just a sample of their record-breaking year:
- 13 victories by 20 points or more (WNBA record)
- Eight victories by 25 points or more (WNBA record)
- Beat the Connecticut Sun by 43 points (4th largest margin of victory ever)
- 316 3-pointers made (WNBA record)
- 89.3 points per game (3rd best all-time)
- 21.8 assists per game (WNBA record)
- Offensive rating of 113.2 (WNBA record)
There are more, but the point has been made. There are not enough words to describe how dominant this Mystics team was.
Despite the postponement of the 2020 Toyko Olympics, Katie Ledeky is still achieving great things this summer.
The DMV native and Team USA swimmer posted a video on her Instagram on Monday where she swam the length of a pool with a glass of chocolate milk balanced on her head –– one of her many impressive feats that has shocked the world.
The 23-year-old swimmer has taken DMV area and the nation by storm after she first appeared in the 2012 London Olympics and won gold in the 800m freestyle at the age of 15. She quickly became a fan favorite and gained popularity four years later when she cleaned up in Rio de Janeiro, winning four gold medals and a silver. In Rio, she also set two world records in the 400 and 800m freestyle events.
After the International Olympic Committee announced their decision to postpone until 2021, Ledecky spoke out, saying it was the right decision.
"We're all happy that we know now and can take a step back, stay inside and do our part to help fight this virus and support those who are the true heroes doing everything they can to heal the sick and to find ways to stop the spread," she said. "We're going to do what we can to stay in shape, but the real training has to take a backseat right now."
Since quarantine began, she has faced obstacles of training during times of social distancing but, like many other Olympians, has done what she can during these limiting times to prepare for the year ahead.
While Ledecky was unable to compete on a global stage as expected this year due to COVID-19, she continues to find a way into the national spotlight as she prepares to dominate again in 2021.
Formula One driver Sergio Perez has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss the British Grand Prix this weekend, the racing federation announced on Twitter.
Perez is now isolating and so are other crew members that were in close contact with the driver, according to multiple reports. Since returning amidst the pandemic, the federation has implemented a Track and Trace app that helps all participants at the race track identify who they were in close confines with.
Drivers are not permitted to intermingle from different teams to avoid an outbreak. F1 does not believe this positive test "will have no wider impact on this weekend's event."
Perez's test result comes in the midst of a two-week break for the sport. The Hungarian Grand Prix on July 19 was the last F1 race and to that point, it was not revealed if any driver had tested positive for the virus. Only two other individuals have tested positive under Formula 1's testing system.
The Mexican driver is a part of the two-car Racing Point team and RP is expected to name a replacement driver for the event. Canadian Lance Stroll is the second primary driver for Racing Point.
Formula One came back from the COVID-19 pandemic on July 5 and has put in place strict health and safety protocols to prevent the possibility of an outbreak.
There is no timetable on when Perez will be able to return to racing action. He enters the weekend sixth in points and has placed in a points-paying position in each of the three races this season.