They are they species of their own kind and something about them makes us, the fans, obsess over them. It maybe their lifestyle, their achievements, their voices and their skills or maybe it`s just their power to do set records.
The life, soul and legacy of these athletes live on even after their passing. They`ve left this world abruptly, accidentally and unnaturally. We feel heartbroken, as if this world is unfair and leaving us with not enough notice.
So let`s take a moment to reflect on the following notable deaths in sports. May these athletes live on in our memories.
1. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL Team:
The whole KHL team died in a plane crash in September of 2011. The plane crashed because of incorrect braking caused by the pilot, which also caused the plan to take off too sharply. After further investigation, it was found that the co-pilot was taking a banned drug. The team was heading to Minsk, Belarus to play its opening game of the Kontinental Hockey League season.
Russian investigators charged a former airline executive in connection with the crash. Vadim Timofeyev, former deputy director of now-defunct Yak Service Airlines, was charged with “a violation of the rules for transport safety and operation of air transport” for permitting 2 unqualified pilots to fly the plane that crashed shortly after takeoff.
On Thursday, investigative committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told reporters that Timofeyev was supposed to ensure that crew members were qualified and their training complete, but instead allowed the pilots to fly the aircraft “illegally.”
Federal investigators later revealed that the pilot and co-pilot had falsified documents stating that they had undergone the necessary training for the Yak-42.
2. Sarah Burke:
Sarah Burke was a Canadian freestyle skier who was a pioneer of the superopipe event. She was a 4 time gold medalist at the Winter Games and won several world championships, including the halfpipe in 2005.
Burke died at the age of 29 in January of 2012 after tearing the artery that supplies blood to her brain during a training run in the super pipe at a personal sponsor event at the Park City Mountain resort.
As the result of the fall subsequently after completing a jump, she suffered a ruptured vertebral artery, one of the four major arteries supplying blood to the brain, causing her to go into cardiac arrest as a result.
Burke was rushed to hospital, where she was put on life support and therapeutic hypothermia was initiated to protect her brain. On Jan. 11, she had surgery to repair the torn artery, and had been in a medically induced coma until she died. She had sustained severe irreversible damage to her brain because of the lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest. This brain damage from lack of oxygen ultimately led her to death.
3. Bjorn Sieber:
This Austrian World Cup skier died in a car crash on October 26, 2012 at the age of 23. He won 2 medals at the world junior championships and silver in the giant slalom in 2009. This is just a few of his achievements.
4. Alexander Dale Oen:
Norwegian Olympic swimmer, Alexander Dale Oen, died on April 30, 2012, after he finished his training session in Arizona. He was found unconscious in his hotel room after having suffered a heart attack, which was caused by a coronary heart disease. This heart disease was a rare disease known to people of his age and fitness.
He was a medalist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where he won silver at the 100m breaststroke. There was great potential for this athlete as he planned to attend the London Olympics as well.
5. Nodar Kumaritashvilli:
A men’s luger from the former Soviet republic of Georgia died on the eve of the Vancouver Olympics after a high-speed crash occurred during training for the Winter Games. Doctors were unable to revive Nodar Kumaritashvili, and the 21-year-old died at a hospital, hours before the opening ceremony was to begin.
Kumaritashvili enjoyed luging since he was 13 and came from family lugers. His cousin was the head of the Georgian Luge Federation. Kumaritashvili, competed in the 2008-2009 Luge World Cup where he finished 55th of the 652 races.
6. Owen Hart:
Owen Hart was the youngest son of the legendary Hart wrestling family and was destined to be a pro wrestler from the beginning. Hart began training to wrestle just after finishing high school. He was trained in the Dungeon by his father, Stu, and made his pro wrestling debut in 1986.
In 1988, Owen found out that the WWF had grown interested in his immense in-ring skills. His name was the Blue Blazer. He teamed up with his family, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Jim “The Anvil”, and The British Bulldog, to create The Hart Foundation. He had one of the greatest careers, and surely had one ahead of him.
Tragically, he lost his life at Over the Edge, May 23, 1999. As the Blue Blazer, he should have made the entrance like a super hero from the ceiling, but the cable he was connected to either broke or got disconnected and he fell 50 feet into the ring, his head hit a turnbuckle and snapped back. Owen was given CPR in the ring and taken to hospital, where he was declared dead.
7. Rob Harris:
Rob Harris was a skysurfing world champion of 1994 and 1995. He died in an accident while shooting for Mountain Dew 0087 commercial. The man was just at the height of his career and could have achieved greatness if it were not for his untimely death.
8. Dan Wheldon:
The two-time Indy 500 winner died in a fiery crash at the season-closing of the Las Vegas Indy 300. Wheldon, 33, was a part of a 15-car pileup at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his car going airborne on Lap 11. He was airlifted to a local hospital where he died 2 hours later.
Wheldon, born in Britain, was the first IndyCar driver to die on the track since rookie Paul Dana was killed in practice. He won the 2005 and 2011 Indy 500s and was named the the 2005 IndyCar Series champion. He was a memorable athlete, amassing altogether 16 wins throughout his career.
9. Rick Rypien:
Rypien was found dead at his home in August of 2011. He suffered from depression and cause of death was suicide.
He played only nine games with Vancouver in the 2010 season and spent most of the year dealing with personal issues. Throughout his career, he had 9 goals, 7 assists and 226 penalty minutes. A memorable player indeed!
10. Margo Dydek:
Margo Dydek was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 WNBA draft. She died after suffering a heart attack. The 7-foot-2 Dydek led the WNBA in blocks nine times — from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07 up until her retirement in 2008.
At the time of death, she was pregnant with her third child and was placed in a medically induced hospital. She never regained consciousness and died 8 days later. As Dydek was early in her pregnancy, the baby died as well.