Top 10 Sports Romances

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Forget all that stuff about the martyrdom of St. Valentine by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago -- we know the real reason why Valentines Day falls on Feb. 14.

Having this Hallmark holiday fall on the weekend after the Super Bowl lets guys everywhere make it up to their significant others for five months of neglect. A dozen roses, a fancy dinner and a new ironing board is our way of saying we're sorry we skipped your mother's funeral to watch the AFC championship game. It'll never happen again (although you should probably tell your dad to hold off on that biopsy until after the Pro Bowl).

Mind you, sports doesn't have to be a relationship killer. Some couples even manage to combine their love of sports with their love of each other. How romantic is that?

10. NOMAR GARCIAPARRA AND MIA HAMM

Once one of the best players in baseball, 'Nomah's' stock has dropped dramatically since he first hooked up with U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm in 2001. Annual trips to the disabled list, moves from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles, declining power numbers and a shift from shortstop to first base have all derailed his hopes for Cooperstown. Hamm, meanwhile, cemented her reputation as one of the best players in women's soccer, winning world player of the year honours in 2001 and 2002 before her retirement. The couple is expecting twins in the spring.

9. THOMAS GRANDI AND SARA RENNER

A few days ago, the first family of Canadian skiing announced the birth of their first child -- a baby girl named Aria. Grandi is the greatest male technical skier in Canadian history, having won two World Cup giant slalom races in 2004. His cross-country skiing wife can claim the couple's lone Olympic medal, though, having won silver in the team sprint with Beckie Scott in Turin last year.

8. LAIRD HAMILTON AND GABRIELLE REECE

Probably the best-looking couple on this list. He's a legendary big-wave surfer who pioneered the use of Jet Skis to access huge offshore waves and she's a professional volleyball player who once appeared in Playboy. Both 6-foot-3 and former models, they have a three-year-old daughter named Reece, winner of the biggest jackpot in the history of the genetic lottery.

7. BRET HEDICAN AND KRISTY YAMAGUCHI

Hedican, a stalwart defenceman with the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, has been to twice as many Olympics as his figure-skating wife, having played for the U.S. in 1992 and 2006. But she's got the only medal -- a gold in Albertville in 1992. The couple lives in Raleigh, N.C., and has two children.

6. KELLY ROBBINS AND KARRIE WEBB

After much rumour and innuendo, the romance between these two LPGA stars was confirmed in 2002 by biographer Charles Happell. Webb changed teams in 1996 when she split from her fiance (and caddie) and began spending time with Robbins. Neither player has spoken to the media about their relationship.

5. CHRIS EVERT AND EVERYONE

One of the greatest players in tennis history, this 18-time major champion was dubbed the Ice Maiden for her steely on-court demeanour. But off the court, Chrissy has heated things up with a series of relationships with big-time athletes. First, there was tennis bad-boy Jimmy Connors, with whom she was engaged in 1974. She went farther down the men's rankings a few years later, marrying English journeyman John Lloyd in 1979. One year after their divorce in 1987, Evert wed two-time Olympic skier Andy Mill, with whom she had three sons. But the couple divorced in December and Evert is now rumoured to be dating Australian golfer Greg Norman.

4. KEVIN LOWE AND KAREN PERCY

Enough bed-hopping, divorce and innuendo -- it's time for a squeaky-clean Canadian couple to cleanse the palate. Lowe, the first NHL draft pick and current general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, and Percy, the two-time bronze medallist at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, have been married for almost two decades and have four children.

3. TERRELL OWENS AND HIMSELF

From his contract holdouts to his preening end zone celebrations to his sideline pout-fests when he doesn't get the ball thrown his way, it's clear T.O. wasn't kidding when he said "I love me some me!" The couple reportedly split briefly in 2006 when the receiver overdosed on some medication, prompting speculation that he had tried to kill himself. But Owens promptly denied the allegations, saying he and T.O. were closer than ever.

2. ANNA KOURNIKOVA AND THE NHL

It's kind of a cheap shot -- after all, Anna's only been involved with two NHLers that we know of. First, there was Sergei Fedorov, with whom she created a stir at the U.S. Open in 1997 when a Queens district attorney talked about laying charges against the 27-year-old Red Wings star for his relationship with the 16-year-old 'Lobbing Lolita.' Then came Pavel Bure, who was briefly engaged to Anna in 2000. And now we hear Fedorov and Kournikova got together again in 2001 and were even married for a few months.

1. ANDRE AGASSI AND STEFFI GRAF

Tennis players are constantly hooking up with each other. There's Martina Hingis and Radek Stepanek, Kim Clisters and Lleyton Hewitt, Anna Kournikova and Mark Philippoussis and dozens of other examples. But the one union which stands out is the one between the formerly flashy American and the stoic German, who got together after her retirement in 2001. Probably the most-decorated athletic couple in history, they won a total of 30 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic medals over the course of their careers.


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