Freeman Cebu Sports

Deaths in sports

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo - The Freeman

Some sports are more obviously dangerous than others, boxing, auto racing and football to name just three.  In my last column, I wrote on the Gansu Ultramarathon in China, where 21 runners died.  A number of athletes have lost their lives competing in these sports.  Since 1884, there have been approximately 500 ring deaths, seven in world title fights while scores of drivers have been killed during qualifying runs and actual races.  The worst accident in auto racing was in the 1955 Le Mans in France when driver Pierce Levegh’s car spun out of control and careened to the stands, killing himself and 86 others and injured 108 spectators.  In football, President Theodore Roosevelt, who lost an eye in boxing, tried to ban college football without success when 18 players died and 73 more were seriously hurt in the year 1905 alone.  Marathoner Francisco Lazaro 21, was the first athlete to die in the Olympics due to sunstroke in 1912.  In 1960, Danish cyclist Knut Jensen became the second person to die in the Olympics, he collapsed from sunstroke and fractured his skull.  Some of the greatest race car drivers who died while racing include world champions Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark, Gilles Villeneuve, Bruce McLaren and NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt who crashed in 2001.  His death was the 27th in the history of Daytona International Speedway in Florida.  Three drivers died in the 22-day 7,979-mile Paris to Dakar Rally in 1988 with three others in  fire started accidentally by a support team.  Prominent boxers who died in the ring include Sugar Ray Robinson, Ezzard Charles, Primo Camera and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.

By 1928, six first Indianapolis 500 winners had died while racing- Dario Resta Howdy Wilcox, Gaston  Chevrolet, Jimmy Murphy, Joe Boyer and  Frank Lochart.  The 1929 winner , Ray Keech was killed two weeks later on a Midwestern dirt track.  At least 130 motorcyclists have been killed in the 80-year history of the Isles of Man Tourist Trophy.

Boracay Dragon Boat tragedy

Seven members of the Boracay Boat Team died after its boat capsized off Sitio Lingganay, Barangay Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island in Sept 25, 2019.  The team was practicing when sudden strong waves hit them which caused the boat to capsize.  There were coast 21 people in the boat with 14 survivors.  The Coast Guard said the fact that the team members were  swimmers, they did not survive as there were many rocks in the area, so it’s possible that they hit their heads on them.  The team was training for the Kaohsiung City Cup in Taiwan.


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