The Most Devastating Sporting Tragedies

We all remember several sporting tragedies, even those that happened a long time ago. They still evoke emotions to this day.
The Most Devastating Sporting Tragedies

Last update: 02 July, 2020

Sometimes the sports world mourns, either because of the death of an athlete or the death of fans during a game. In this article, we’ll tell you about the most devastating sporting tragedies, the ones that are etched in our memories.

The most devastating sporting tragedies

They’re present in different disciplines, such as soccer, motorsports, or rugby. In addition, sports fans remember them many years later. Here are some of the most devastating sporting tragedies:

2. Munich massacre

This is how the terrorist attack during the 1972 Olympics got its name. A group of athletes from the Israeli Olympic Committee was taken hostage and killed by a Palestinian group. This event is known as Black September.

The episode began on September 4, 1972, at dawn when the terrorist group entered the Olympic complex and took nine athletes hostage. The kidnappers made their demands known. Then, following a failed rescue, the athletes were killed.

A woman holding flowers over a casket.

2. Superga tragedy

It happened in May 1949 and it cost the lives of the entire Torino soccer team in Italy. When the players returned from playing a friendly match against Benefica from Portugal, the plane crashed into the Basilica of Superga, on the hill of Turin. In addition to the soccer players, club officials and employees, and journalists, the whole crew died.

As a gesture of solidarity, the Argentine team, River Plate, organized a match to benefit the relatives of the deceased Italian team.

3. Hillsborough tragedy

This event took place in April 1989 at Hillsborough Stadium in England, during a game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest for the FA Cup semi-finals. Red supporters were crushed in the crowd, against the fences: 96 of them died.

According to investigations, the excess of spectators and the poor condition of the venue- which didn’t comply with security regulations- caused this tragedy. Additionally, something interesting is that Liverpool had already experienced something similar four years earlier. In fact, this is the Heysel Stadium disaster.

It happened at the stadium in Brussels, Belgium. There, the final of the European Champions League took place between the English team and the Italian Juventus. However, the fans of the Italian team were the victims: 39 people died in total.

4. Sporting tragedies: Le Mans disaster

The Le Mans circuit, known for its 24-hour race, had a dark day on June 11, 1955. So far, it’s the most devastating sports tragedy in car racing.

A fiery car crash showing one of the worst sports tragedies.

All of a sudden, in the middle of the race, the problem started. French driver Pierre Levegh collided with Austin Healer at over 120 miles per hour. His Mercedes exploded into the stands, completely disintegrated, and took the life of the driver. In addition, 83 spectators died in the accident.

As a consequence of this tragedy, many of the world’s racing policies changed. For example, they added barricades, seat belts, and helmets.

5. Sporting tragedies: the miracle of the Andes

Again, a plane crash caused one of the most devastating sporting tragedies. This event happened in October 1972, and it happened to members of the Uruguayan rugby team, known as Old Christians.

The plane that was taking them to Santiago, Chile to play a game, crashed on a cliff in the Andes Mountains. Of the 45 people on the plane- five of which were crew members- 16 were rescued. Unfortunately, the other 29 died in the accident or from the injuries it caused.

In fact, it’s called, “The Miracle of the Andes” because the survivors were lost for more than two months between the snow and the mountains. Then, they were rescued in three stages. The last one took place the day before Christmas.

Finally, other sports tragedies that are worth mentioning are, “Gate 12” (71 Boca Juniors fans died after a match against River Plate) and the Munich tragedy (a plane crash where 23 Manchester United soccer players died). Without a doubt, they’re all tragic days that we wish had never happened.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.