The other top performers

Rory McIlroy
Golf, Northern Ireland

Last year Rory McIlroy sounded the warning that he was Tiger Woods' heir apparent as golf's new golden boy.

This year, the Northern Irishman followed up his maiden Major win last year by winning the PGA Championship by a record eight strokes.

He also won the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles and was voted the PGA Player of the Year and PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Lin Dan
Badminton, China

Lee Chong Wei's All-England wins in 2010 and 2011, had dimmed Lin Dan's aura of invincibility. But, in 2012, with the Olympics on the horizon, Lin regained the mantle by beating the Malaysian in the final in Birmingham.

And on sports' biggest stage at the Olympics, and up against arch-rival Lee again, Lin came up on top in an epic tie that cemented his place as one of the badminton's finest players.

Michael Phelps
Swimming, US

Many insiders had suggested that teammate Ryan Lochte might overshadow the Baltimore Bullet at the London Games after he clocked impressive times at the US Olympic trials.

But, by the time the London Games ended, it was clear no one could overshadow Michael Phelps' farewell extravaganza.

The American's four gold and two silver medals made him the most bemedalled Olympian of all time.

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