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On Sept. 11, 2001 (9/11), four terrorist attacks shook the United States by targeting the World Trade Center (WTC), the Pentagon, and the White House, and killing almost 3,000 people. According to The Washington Post, the Islamic group al-Qaeda was the perpetrator of the deadliest terrorist act in world history, that injured over 6,000 individuals and caused $3 trillion damage.
The attacks affected the U.S. completely, and the sports industry was no exception. Several athletes died, and sporting events rescheduled. For the last 15 years, the families, friends, and fans of the victims have struggled to live with the pain. They live with the question that has no answer: “Why?”
Six Sports Figures Died in the 9/11 Attacks.
- Mark Bavis died on Sept. 11, 2001. He was a passenger on the United Airlines Flight 175 that hit the South Tower of the WTC. According to Yahoo! Sports, the 31-year-old American was a left-wing player in the Hockey League. He played for Boston University, the Providence Bruins, and the South Carolina Stingrays. Bavis was also a scout for the Los Angeles Kings. After his death, the hockey player’s family founded the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation, which has the goal of helping young people who are in pursuit of success.
- Dan Trant was at work, in the WTC North Tower, when the 9/11 attacks happened. The 40-year-old was a former basketball player. He played for Clark University and the Boston Celtics, in the 1984-85 season.
- Eamon McEneaney was one of Trant’s coworkers, at the Cantor Fitzgerald company. He was a former 46-year-old lacrosse player for Cornell University. Throughout his career, he became the Attackman of the Year in 1975 and the Player of the Year in 1977. Also, in 1992, he was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
- Nezam Hafiz died as a result of the 9/11 attacks, while he was at work, on the 94th floor of the North Tower of the WTC. He was a Guyanese-American former cricketer, who bowled using his right-arm at medium speed. The 32-year-old played for the teams in the United States, Guyana, and Demerara.
- Garnet Bailey was a passenger on the United Airlines Flight 175 on Sept. 11, 2001. He was a Canadian ice hockey player and scout, with an 11-year career. In NHL, Bailey played for the Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings, the St. Louis Blues, and the Washington Capitals. The 53-year-old was a member of the Stanley Cup and Memorial Cup winning teams.
- Mari-Rae Sopper died in the 9/11 attacks when the American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. She was a 35-year-old American gymnastics coach for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. On Sept. 11, 2001, Sopper was on her way to begin her career as head coach for the Californian team.
Ian Thorpe Avoided Death
Besides the six athletes killed in the 9/11 attacks, there was a swimmer who avoided death. According to List Verse, the Australian champion Ian Thorpe was in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, as he considers the city to be his second home. Moreover, the swimmer planned to go to the WTC observation deck. Thorpe was out for a run when he realized he did not have his camera, so he headed back to the hotel to get it. Once he arrived in his room, he turned on the TV and saw the WTC North Tower on fire.
Thorpe is the Australian swimmer who won the most Olympic gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Additionally, he secured 11 World Championship gold medals, the second-highest number of any swimmer.
The 9/11 Attacks Changed the World
The 9/11 attacks that shook the United States killed almost 3,000 people and injured 6,000 others. The consequences of the terrorist acts spread worldwide. Although 15 years passed, the pain is still intense. The United States will never forget both the victims and the attacks that took them away.
By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Cathy Milne
ListVerse: 10 Famous People Who Avoided Death on 9/11
The Washington Post: Nine facts about terrorism in the United States since 9/11
Yahoo! Sports: Remembering two from the hockey family lost on 9/11 (Puck Daddy Annual Tribute)
Image Courtesy of Allen‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License