The Deadly Plane Crash That Nearly Killed A Sport Most sports anniversaries celebrate some sort of victory. But Feb. 15 marks the 50th anniversary of a terrible tragedy in the sporting world.

The Deadly Plane Crash That Nearly Killed A Sport

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Most sports anniversaries celebrate victories, but our commentator Frank Deford remembers a darker moment, one of the saddest days in American sports.

FRANK DEFORD: Fifty years ago, on the morning after Valentine's Day, a Sabena 707 plunged into a field near Brussels. Eighteen U.S. figure skaters were killed, the elite of a nation's whole sport wiped out, along with coaches and officials. Proudly, they were flying to the world championships.

M: But it was the next February 15th, when all of our best skaters were lost, a nation's sport annihilated. That it came back, that Peggy Fleming would win the Olympic goal only seven years later, can never salve the wounds of America's worst sports tragedy, when the very best took off on Valentine's, flying to a championship that they never reached.

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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