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5 sporting tragedies which changed the world forever

Patrick Downes, a survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, receives a hug from David Ortiz at Fenway Park
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Though sport brings joy, fun and community to millions, it is also worth remembering sporting tragedies and the impact they had on the world. These five sporting tragedies which changed the world forever remind us of fallen sporting heroes and our collective loss.

1) Hillsborough

For many people, when you think of sporting tragedies, you think of the Hillsborough disaster. On 15th April 1989, at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives, and many more were injured. The stadium was overcrowded, and fans were trampled beneath the stands as a series of errors lead to the deaths.

The controversy around Hillsborough led to a huge cover-up, false reporting and years of campaigning for justice for the victims. It was only recently that the families affected by Hillsborough got the verdict they wanted, and though the disaster was decades ago, court proceedings are ongoing.

2) Munich Olympics Massacre

The 1972 Olympics are mostly remembered for the awful kidnap and murder of Israeli Olympic athletes. This tragic event saw the Munich Olympic village invaded by a Palestinian terror group known as ‘Black September’. The group murdered two Israeli athletes, with 9 taken hostage and later killed along with 5 guerillas and a policeman.

Decades later, the hostilities between Israel and Palestine continue, and this sporting tragedy is often referenced for the increase in tensions it caused as well as the awful deaths.

3) Zambian National Football Team Plane Crash

There have been a number of tragic plane crashes which involved sportsmen and women. One of the most poignant is the 1993 plane crash which killed the whole Zambian National Football team. Travelling en-route to Senegal with high hopes on April 2th 1993, all the members of the team tragically lost their lives. Diplomatic relations between Zambia and Gabon were shattered, both sides blaming each other for the tragedy.

4) Black Sox Scandal

In 1919, the first major case of corruption in American sports changed the way the country and the government thought about gambling and professional sports, taking sports betting out of the spotlight and relegating it into the shadows. The allegations stated that members of the Chicago White Sox were paid $10,000 if they lost against the Cincinnati Reds. This led to the US Federal Government banning sports betting in many states, creating the perfect opportunity for criminal gangs to exploit and take over the market. The repercussions of this are still felt, as illegal gambling remains a huge source of income for organised crime syndicates.

5) Boston Bombing

One of the most tragic sporting events in recent years was the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Multiple bombs were set off near the finish line of this huge sporting event. There were over 170 people injured and three people killed, including an eight-year-old child. The two bombs were homemade pressure-cooker devices, and the police detonated a third

The suspects Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev murdered a police officer, kidnapped a man and had a shoot out which injured and eventually killed another policeman. Tamerlan was killed, and Dzhokhar was later found hiding in a boat in someone’s backyard. He claimed that they had been motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs and that they were self-radicalised, causing huge concern in the states. He was later sentenced to death.