There have been too many examples of great sporting heroes that have been taken from us before their time though war, accidents or acts of violence, often at the peak of their sporting prowess, thereby depriving us of seeing them perform and reach their true potential.
Russian Ice Hockey Team - 2011. The 'Lokomotiv Yaroslavl' team was one of Russia’s top ice hockey teams. Thirty-five players and staff of the team and eight members of the crew died in an accident where their aircraft burst into flames after hitting the ground near the airport immediately after take-off. The team had been en route to the Belarusian capital Minsk to play against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Zambia National Soccer Team Plane Crash, 1993 - On April 28,1993 the entire Zambia National Soccer team perished after a stop over off the coast of Gabon en route to Senegal for the 1994 U.S.A World Cup Qualifiers. All 30 passengers and crew, including 18 players as well as the coaches and support staff, were lost in the accident.
Pakhtakor Tashkent FC, 1979 - In August 1979, shortly after the football team made it back to the Soviet Top League disaster struck the club and Soviet football. During a flight to play FC Dinamo Minsk, the Pakhtakor team's plane was involved in a mid-air collision over Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine. All 150 people aboard both planes involved died, including 17 Pakhtakor players and staff members.
Munich Olympics Terrorist Attack 1972 - 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists 'Black September', to protest against the holding of 234 Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The terrorists murdered two of their captives, then as the result of a bungled rescue attempt by the authorities, the remaining nine captives were killed alongside three of their captors.
Sabena Flight 548 - on February 15, 1961 a plane crashed with all 72 on board killed including the entire United States Figure Skating team, who were en route to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Munich Air Disaster - On February 6, 1958, British European Airways Flight 609 crashed at takeoff from Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team along with a number of supporters and journalists. 23 of the 44 people on board the aircraft died, including eight Manchester United players.
Superga air disaster - On May 4, 1949, a plane carrying almost the entire Torino A.C. football squad crashed into the hill of Superga near Turin killing all 31 aboard including 18 players.
Some Fallen Heroes
- Pat Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) - an American football player who left his professional sports career and enlisted in the United States Army. Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League to enlist in the Army. He was killed by 'friendly fire' while serving in Afghanistan.
- Don Holleder – College football player and soldier killed in action during the Vietnam War.
- Andrés Escobar (13 March 1967 - 2 July 1994) - a Colombian footballer who was shot and killed in what is widely believed to be a murder due to his own goal in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
- Troy Broadbridge - Melbourne Football Club defender (AFL), swept out to sea and drowned in the 2004 Asian Tsunami in 2004.
- Bob Kalsu – Former AFL player killed in action during the Vietnam War.
- Don Steinbrunner – Retired NFL player killed in action during the Vietnam War.
- Nile Kinnick (July 9, 1918 – June 2, 1943) - college football running back (University of Iowa), died during a training flight while serving as a U.S Navy aviator in WWII.
- Steve Prefontaine - Olympic long-distance runner died of a car accident in 1975.
- Ben Hollioake - English cricketer died aged 24 of a car accident in 2002.
- Anti-Heroes - heroes that have fallen from grace