From Kobe to Maradona, a year of staggering losses in sports
Not long after came a seismic jolt, the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant in the fog-shrouded California hills that reverberated across sports and across continents. Deep into the year, a bookend to Bryant, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack in Argentina weeks after brain surgery, the waves of grief rippling across soccer. The losses, of course, came against a backdrop of a pandemic, its number of fatalities rolled out daily on TV screens. Niekro won 318 games and pitched until he was 48, his knuckleball dancing and mystifying batters across the decades. Kurt Thomas in 1978 became the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world title but lost an Olympic shot in 1980 because of the boycott.
Former Redskins assistant, "Hogs" creator Bugel dies at 80
FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2007, file photo, Washington Redskins assistant head coach-offensive Joe Bugel looks on during an NFL football game in Landover, Md. Former Redskins assistant coach Bugel has died. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)Former Washington Redskins assistant coach Joe Bugel, regarded as one of the top offensive line coaches in NFL history, has died. Bugel was promoted to assistant head coach in 1983, the year the Redskins scored a then-NFL record 541 points. In his first nine years in Washington, Bugel helped the Redskins have four 1,000-yard rushers, one 4,000-yard passer and nine 1,000-yard receivers.