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.
Missing Camp Pendleton Marine found safe at Texas rest stop
A U.S. Marine believed to have left Arizona for California's Camp Pendleton never arrived, but was found days later at a Texas rest area, unharmed. The 20-year-old had last been seen leaving a friend's house in Surprise, Arizona, on Monday night, his mother, Stacy Wallace, said. He was due back at Camp Pendleton after a three-day leave that took him home to the suburbs west of Phoenix and a camping trip. Stacy Wallace had said her son loved the Marines and was excited to get back to Camp Pendleton, having been recently promoted. Thomas' Saturday night statement thanked law enforcement partners in Texas, Arizona and on the federal level "for their aid in bringing this to a safe resolution."chicagotribune.com