We named our first SportsKid of the Year in 2007 — but SI Kids has been around since 1989. Who would have won if we had given out the award in those missing years? These future stars were worthy. So we imagined their covers...
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1989: Dominique Dawes, Age 13
The native of Silver Spring, Maryland, finished first in the vault, floor exercise, and beam, and second on the uneven bars, to win the all-around competition at the Junior Orange Bowl Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida. Dominique finished with a score of 38.45 to claim her second straight all-around title at the event. She began her gymnastics career when she was six under coach Kelli Hill at Hill's Gymnastics Training Center in Gaithersburg, about 35 minutes from home. Starting at age nine, Dominique showed her will to win by writing DETERMINATION on the surface of her bedroom mirror before each meet.
1991: Chris Drury, Age 14
Chris helped lead Fairfield Prep to a Division I Connecticut hockey title. He told a friend that he'd like to win four straight titles before he graduates. Pretty impressive for a kid who already led a team in Trumbull to the 1989 Little League World Series championship. In the final, a 5--2 victory over Taiwan, he threw a complete game, only allowed five hits, and knocked in two runs. Afterward, Chris, who is a B student, threw out the first pitch before Game 2 of the MLB World Series in Oakland.
1992: Eli Manning, Age 11
Eli threw 20 touchdown passes in five games last season for his flag football team, the Dragons, in New Orleans, Louisiana. A dedicated student, Eli will start studying Monday if he has a test on Friday. His father, Archie, played 13 seasons in the NFL and made two Pro Bowls. His brother Peyton is a star quarterback at Isidore Newman High School. The two often play catch in the backyard, with Eli taping pillows to his chest to help absorb his big brother's hard passes.
1993: Michelle Kwan, Age 12
At the U.S. figure skating championships, where she became the youngest senior competitor at the event since 1973, Michelle finished sixth. She won the Pacific Coast and Southwest Pacific Junior championships this season. Michelle, whose parents are from Hong Kong, also speaks Cantonese at home and began training at age eight with her older sister, Karen. Last year, Michelle finished ninth at the U.S. junior championships.
1994: Tamika Catchings, Age 14
Tamika led the Stevenson High School basketball team to a berth in the Illinois sectional final and a 30--1 record, the best in school history. The 6-footer set a freshman school record for most points, with 531. Tamika, who was born with a hearing impairment, cannot hear certain pitches and sounds. Despite being teased by kids, she learned to play without hearing aids and became the only freshman to be named a Parade All-America. Basketball runs in her family. Her older sister, Tauja, averaged 15.5 points playing alongside Tamika this past year, and their father, Harvey, played in the NBA for 11 years.
1996: Andy Roddick, Age 14
Andy won the 14-and-under national indoor tennis title by a score of 6--3, 6--4. Roddick's older brother, John, plays tennis at the University of Georgia. In 1993, Andy lost a match to a then 12-year-old Serena Williams, who made her professional debut in 1995.
2000: LeBron James, Age 15
LeBron averaged 18.0 points and 6.2 rebounds to lead St. Vincent--St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, to a 27--0 record and a Division III state title. He was named the state tournament MVP and scored 25 points in the championship game. His AAU team, the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars, lost in the eighth-grade national final to the Southern California All-Stars. LeBron is also an up-and-coming football star: In his first varsity start, which happened to be in the state playoffs, he caught a school-record nine passes.
2001: Michelle Wie, Age 11
Michelle became the youngest winner of the Jennie K. Wilson Invitational, Hawaii's top women's amateur event. She led after the first round. With a final-round score of 76, she beat 37-year-old Bobbi Kokx by nine shots. The 5'9" sixth-grader also became the first female and youngest person ever to qualify for the Manoa Cup, a match play championship for men that's been around for 94 years.
2004: Bryce Harper, Age 11
At Cooperstown Dreams Park in August, Bryce hit six homers to win a home run derby. According to Baseball America, Bryce is "possibly the best pure hitter under 12 years old." Harper started playing T-ball at age three, competing against six-year-olds. When he was nine, Bryce, who is from Las Vegas, Nevada, played on travel teams from California, Colorado, and Oklahoma, and since then he has been playing between 80 and 130 games a year.
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