One of the most rewarding events in TIME's calendar is the selection of our Man of the Year. We begin each January wondering who will capture our imagination. By Labor Day our staff members begin submitting nominations. Then the arguing starts, in the form of extended, mostly civilized debates over the relative merits of a lengthy list of individuals, each of whose accomplishments or notoriety demanded our attention.

This year's list of nominees was typically eclectic. Should we honor the Scottish embryologist Ian Wilmut and his immortal cloned sheep Dolly? What about Tiger Woods' thrilling 350-yd. drives into history? Or Alan...

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