2012 Most Heartwarming Sports Stories

Looking back at 2012, the year of inspirational and heart warming moments in sports.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Sports is funny. Most days there are thousands of games around the world that are mundane as anything. However, once in awhile something happens that reminds us why we watch sports in the first place. There are great games and then there are great moments; and 2012 had many stories that touched our hearts.

Hopping Hurdler
In 2008, Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang  pulled out of the Olympics on his home turf and was seen as a national disappointment. This year in London, he was expected to redeem himself with a medal. Instead he hit the first hurdle on the first heat and fell after re-injuring his ankle. In tears, Liu picked himself off the track. He hopped the rest of the race on one leg. He kissed the final hurdle and became a national hero.

Legless Runner
Oscar Pistorius of South Africa became an instant icon during the London Olympics. With artificial legs below the knees, he became the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. While he didn’t medal, he personified the Olympic spirit.

Olympic Defiant Fencer
Olympic South Korean fencer Shin A-Lam lost a controversial call that gave his opponent the winning point after time expired.  The clock was stuck but the judges gave the victory away anyways. While Shin’s coach argued and a formal protest was registered, Shin sat and cried. She refused to leave for over an hour. It wasn’t an act of a cry-baby but the defiance we all wanted to see.

Autistic Kicker
Millions of kickers kick go-ahead games. It is nothing new. Neither is an underdog like Brick High School defeating Toms River North. But, you have ice in your veins if you can’t be moved by Anthony Starego’s kick. His kick sealed the win. He wasn’t on the team as symbolic gesture but made the team on merit.

Teammate’s Gift
Michael Ferns is a very good running back. Good enough that he has earned a scholarship to play at the University of Michigan. He’s the type of running back that can’t stop once he’s handed the ball. So it seemed odd when he stepped out of bounds at the 1-yard line when no one was near him and his St. Clairsville (OH) team up heavily. It gave the opportunity for rarely-used Logan Thompson to score a touchdown. Thompson’s father passed away two days before. It was a team-decision to help a grieving son.

Romeo Crommel
Everybody knows the sad story of Jovan Belcher’s suicide in Kansas City. The sub-story is head coach Romeo Crennel, who witnessed the tragedy firsthand. A day after trying to talk Belcher out of the act, Crennel had to rally the emotions his staff and players and show up for work. His actions, thoughts, and words of prayer were signs of a true leader.
Let’s hope the Chiefs ownership recognizes him.

The office of Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano has sat empty all year. Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia last off-season. No one would have thought twice if he simply quit and walked away from the game. Instead, he takes breaks from his treatment to visit the team when he can. His assistant has taken over duties but refuses to take over Chuck’s office; it is waiting for his healthy return. The team, the city and the whole state have rallied around him. Even opposing players have been seen sporting #chuckstrong merchandise that raises money for leukemia research.

If you want to donate, here is the link – http://www.colts.com/fanzone/chuckstrong.html

Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch and at www.facebookcom/craveonlinesports.com.

Photo Credit: getty

By: Stu Forster
Collection: Getty Images Sport