The Jock Gods didn't do much for Oregonians in '04 (just ask Joey Harrington). But we could all smile on Aug. 17, when 19-year-old Beavertonian

Mariel Zagunis

became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in fencing. Zagunis wasn't even supposed to be in Athens--she was added to the U.S. squad in mid-June. She now wields her blade for Notre Dame.

Portland race fans breathed easier Aug. 20 when Portland International Raceway signed a deal with Champ Car, which committed to races at the 30-year-old North Portland track for the next three years. The deal came after a protracted soap-opera flirtation with the Indy Racing League.

The Portland Timbers racked up their best record ever in futbol's A-League, closing out the season in September with 18 wins, seven losses and three ties. Meanwhile, the University of Portland's vaunted soccer teams both made NCAA playoff runs in November. UP striker Christine Sinclair solidified her rep as one of the best female players around, racking up nominations for both the Honda Award and the MAC Hermann Trophy--college soccer's twin equivalents to football's Heisman Trophy--in December.

While the Linfield Wildcats clawed their way to a Division III national pigskin championship, the Oregon Ducks and Beavers football teams compiled wildly inconsistent records this fall. They came into the annual Civil War on Nov. 20 needing to beat each other just to qualify for third-tier bowl games. After the Beavs dispatched Big Green, they earned a date at something called the Insight Bowl, where, on Dec. 28, they took on Notre Dame, a school so psyched about its own season that it fired its coach last month.

Portland's ever-optimistic Major League Baseball backers watched the object of years of wooing pick a different suitor when, in September, the sad-sack Montreal Expos announced a move to Washington.

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