From Wasilla's basketball court to the national stage

1964 -- Born Sarah Louise Heath on Feb. 11 at Sandpoint, Idaho, to parents Chuck and Sally Heath; family moves first to Skagway, then to Wasilla, where father teaches science and coaches track. Sarah is the third of four siblings.

1982 -- Plays point guard and serves as captain of the Wasilla High School 1982 girls' state championship basketball team; joins Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Graduates from Wasilla High School.

1984 -- Competes in the Miss Alaska contest (finishing second) after being chosen Miss Wasilla 1984. In the Wasilla contest, she plays the flute and wins the title of Miss Congeniality. Earns scholarship to attend college.

1987 -- Receives a bachelor of science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho.

1988 -- Elopes with Todd Palin on Aug. 29, slipping away to Palmer Courthouse where, learning they needed witnesses, the couple enlists two elders from the pioneers' home across the street, one in a wheelchair and one with a walker. (They eloped because they were poor at the time and didn't want their parents to foot the bill for a wedding, she says today).

Children from marriage: Two sons and three daughters, Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig.

1990 -- Works briefly as a sports reporter for local TV station; joins husband Todd commercial fishing during summers.

1992 -- Elected to Wasilla City Council

1994 -- Re-elected to Wasilla City Council

1996 -- Elected mayor of Wasilla (population 5,470 in 2000) at age 32. Valley cable TV program hails her as Wasilla's first "Christian mayor."

1999 -- Re-elected mayor of Wasilla; eventually elected president of Alaska Conference of Mayors.

2002 -- Loses first statewide campaign, finishing second in Republican Primary for lieutenant governor to Loren Leman.

Interviewed by newly elected Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski to fill his vacancy in the U.S. Senate; instead, Murkowski appoints his daughter, Lisa Murkowski.

2003 -- Appointed to Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission by Gov. Murkowski.

2004 -- Breaks with the party leadership, including Murkowski, over ethics issues; resigns her position on the commission; files legal complaints against Republican Party of Alaska chairman Randy Ruederich and Alaska Attorney Gen. Gregg Renkes.

2006 -- Defeats incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in Republican primary race for governor; defeats former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat, in general election; sworn in on Dec. 4 as 11th governor of Alaska, the first woman to hold the office.

2007 -- Overhauls the state's ethics laws and, against the wishes of the major North Slope oil company producers, embarks on a competitive process to construct a natural gas pipeline during first legislative session.

Son Track enlists in the U.S. Army.

2008 -- Gives birth in April to fifth child, son Trig, born one month early with Down syndrome.

Becomes target of legislative investigation into charges she abused her power and acted unethically by firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

Earns 80 percent approval rating in poll published by Hays Research on July 28.

Anchorage Daily News