News & Politics

Our Top DC Sports Moments of 2022

Juan Soto left, Alex Ovechkin scored, Frances Tiafoe broke though, and Dan Snyder hung in—for now.

It was a rough year for area sports fans. The Nats were the worst team in baseball. DC United was the worst team in MLS. The Spirit were the second-worst team in the NWSL. Maryland men’s basketball had its first losing season since the early 1990s, while Georgetown men’s basketball set a record by going winless in the Big East. The Wizards missed the NBA playoffs, then used a lottery pick on a player who has been coming off the bench for their G League team. The Capitals and Mystics made the NHL and WNBA playoffs, respectively, but fizzled out in the first round. 

Oh, and the Commanders? They kept, uh, Commander-ing.

Still, 2022 in DC sports was at least eventful—and, at times, even hopeful. Here are our top moments from the year:


Dan Snyder

Dan Snyder Explores Selling the Commanders

The greatest day in area sports history in which nothing actually happened occurred in November, when the Commanders acknowledged that Snyder, the team’s preposterously unloved owner, was exploring a potential sale. Online, on talk radio, and at FedEx Field, locals rejoiced—and with good reason. Snyder’s too-long tenure has been defined by on-field futility and never-ending series of off-field embarrassments, the latter arguably culminating in this year’s multiple investigations (NFL, Congressional, state, DC) of the franchise’s alleged financial wrongdoing and skeezy, toxic work environment. If Snyder actually sells, he’ll walk away with a massive, multibillion-dollar payday—there will be no justice, karmic or otherwise. His reign has been so miserable, no one will really mind.

Alex Ovechkin Chases Greatness

The greatest player in Capitals history has set his sights on the all-time NHL goal scoring record set by the greatest player in hockey history, Wayne Gretzky. And Ovechkin just might get there. Just before Christmas, Ovie overtook Gordie Howe for No. 2 all-time by scoring his 801st and 802nd career goals against the Winnipeg Jets; if the Russian Machine continues scoring at roughly his current pace, he’ll surpass Gretzky’s 894 goals in the 2025-26 season.

Oh, and in the meantime, enjoy some sweet goals!

Juan Soto Departs

By trading away the superstar slugger (along with Josh Bell) to San Diego in exchange for a bushel of well-regarded prospects, the Nationals didn’t just say goodbye to a generational baseball talent who hasn’t even hit his prime—the team also completed a painful, ongoing, and near-total teardown of the roster that won the 2019 World Series. The Nats now look to building their next title contender, likely under new ownership. The Lerner family is looking to sell, and current Wizards and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis is reportedly the leading candidate to buy the franchise.

Tiafoe Breaks Through

Tennis star Frances Tiafoe’s backstory is straight from a Disney sports movie—except it’s all true. 

As our own Jessica Ruf has explained, Tiafoe is the son of Sierra Leone immigrants who escaped the country’s civil war in the 1990s; when he was a young child, his father, Frances Sr., worked as the maintenance man at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park:

Frances Sr. … was given a spare 10-by-14-foot room at the complex to sleep in between his long working hours.

For many nights of the week, his two sons stayed with him in that room too. Although an unusual living arrangement, it gave the younger Frances unparalleled access to the sport. By the age of 5, he was enrolled, free of charge, in the center’s clinic for young children, according to a 2012 New York Times article.

“It was pure serendipity. He didn’t pick tennis; tennis picked him,” the tennis center’s chief executive Ray Benton told the Times.

At this year’s US Open, Tiafoe advanced to the semifinals, upsetting living legend Rafael Nadal in a thrilling fourth-round match that doubled as Tiafoe’s national coming out party. Since then, the 24-year-old Hyattsville native has continued to play the best tennis of his career—all while enjoying support from friend and Wizards star Bradley Beal. 

Patrick Hruby
Deputy Editor