10 Terror Attacks In Sports - The Unforgettable History Till 2021

October 23, 2021 By Sourav

10 Terror Attacks In Sports - The Unforgettable History Till 2021

True sports fans are really serious about the games. Each mage is much more than just another episode of Entertainment for them. Sport is a field in which these crazy fans see their nations, cities, states, etc. win. That is why, it is not uncommon on the grounds to see people getting emotional and crying, or shouting at the top of their voice in anger or excitement. Passion in the case of sports is not uncommon or unnatural. And the whole situation got disturbed if there are sudden terror attacks in sports.


Terror Attacks In Sports - Black Days

Sometimes, things get out of hand, like in the case of most other things in the world. Some fanatics, to prove their loyalty, take the most disturbing paths. They attack opponent teams, causing shock and pain, and hurting players as well as other people. The sports world dubbed some of the most horrifying sports attacks as terrorist attacks. Let us take a look at 10 Terror Attacks in Sports.

10. 1972 Munich Olympics


The world has witnessed the darkest day in the history of the Olympics during the 1972 Munich Games. The Palestinian militant group called Black September took hostage the whole Israeli national team.

During the 16-hour siege, the militants did horrific manslaughter. They killed 11 of the athletes and coaches, as well as a German police officer.

While the world watched, horrified, ABC broadcaster Jim McKay broke the news: "My father used to say our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. They're all gone." The Olympic committee suspended the game as a memorial service for the first time in Olympics history in the presence of 80,000 spectators and 3,000 athletes.


9. 1996 Atlanta Olympics


1996 Atlanta Olympics led to the building of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta as the town square of the event. Thousands of spectators gathered for a music concert held at the park on July 27, 1996. 

Eric Rudolph, a former explosives expert for the United States Army, planted a knapsack with three bombs underneath a bench there. He detonated that and later stated that "the conception and purpose of the so-called Olympic movement are to promote the values of global socialism.”

He later stated that he wanted to "confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand." This horrific incident witnessed 2 deaths along with 120 serious injuries.


8. 1997 Grand National


The organizing committee abandoned the Grand National, the most famous horse racing event in the United Kingdom, because of a false alarm in 1997. IRA reportedly received two coded bomb threats.

And, the security personnel quickly evacuated 60,000 spectators including Princess Anne, jockeys, race personnel, and local residents. Police immediately secured the racecourse and started the inspection. The grand race faced cancellation that day due to security threats.

But, they again organized the race two days later, in front of a reduced crowd. Sadly, 20,000 people were left stranded over the weekend, with cars and buses locked inside the course. The local residents have opened their doors for the stranded, due to limited accommodation options.


7. 2002 Champions League


The Madrid city witnessed a bomb blast close to Bernabeu Stadium, the main stadium of Madrid, on 1st May 2002. This incident happened a few hours before the Champions League semi-final match between Real Madrid and their arch enemy Barcelona.

Shortly after, the Basque separatist group ETA took the responsibility for the terror attack. It happened shortly after the government has arrested 11 members of Batasuna, a political party closely linked to ETA.

Real Madrid usually receives the support of the ruling elite of Spain. And for that, many experts thought at that time that the motive of the attack has motives related to the club. Spain witnessed 17 horrific injuries due to the Terror Attacks in Sports. But interestingly, the match continued and was won by one of the richest football clubs, Real Madrid.


6. 2002 Pakistan v New Zealand Cricket



A suicide bomber staged a bombing attack right outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, on 8th May 2002. The hotel, at that time, hosted the guest team, New Zealand.

The massacre by the suicide bomber claimed the lives of 14 people, including 11 French Navy experts, 2 Pakistanis, and the physiotherapist of the host team. However, the New Zealand players remained safe during one of the horrific terror attacks in sports.

The officials quickly canceled the match after that horrific incident. And, the shocked, scared, and angered New Zealand team took off and left for the hometown, for obvious security reasons.


5. 2006 Olympics



The athletic team of Iraq faced three deadly attacks in 2006. The most notable one of these took place on July 15, 2006. 50 gunmen stormed the sports conference which took place in Baghdad.

They kidnapped Ahmed-al-Hadjiya, the head of the Olympic Committee of the country, along with 30 other athletes and officials. The militants kidnapped 15 athletes and staff members of the taekwondo team on 17th May of that same year.

They kidnapped the whole team en route their way to Jordan to take part in the tournament. Sadly, Police could not trace them after that. Gunmen again killed the tennis coach of the country, along with two of his players, nine days later.


4. 2008 Dakar Rally


The committee first organized the 2008 edition of the Dakar Rally on 4th January. However, the organizing committee of the event received a threat that there would be an attack by al-Qaeda.

As a result of this, the organizer deemed that it would be too dangerous to stage the event. Subsequently, the officials canceled the event, for the first time in 30 years in the history of the rally.

The world previously witnessed the Dakar Rally starting from Lisbon, Portugal, and, ending in Dakar, Senegal.  The security of the participants was brought into question, mainly because the event was to spend eight days in the area of Mauritania, where the murder of a French couple had taken place the previous day, probably by al-Qaeda.


3. 2008 Sinhala and Tamil New Year Marathon


A bomb blast took place at the start of a marathon celebrating the beginning of Sri Lanka’s new year on 6th April 2008. The Sri Lankan government later attributed a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber for the detonation of the explosive device. 

The incident claimed the lives of 12 people, including highway minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, former Olympic marathon runner KA Karunaratne and the national athletics coach, Lakshman de Alwis.

Apart from the casualties, there were almost 100 other people who were severely injured in the blast, as the viewers along the course and television viewers watched with horror and shock in their eyes and screamed in panic, while blood spilled on the roads.


2. 2009 Sri Lanka v Pakistan Cricket


On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, when the Sri Lankan cricket team was on its way to the match against Pakistan, the team bus was attacked by about 12 gunmen.

The cricketers and their police escorts were attacked with rockets, grenades, and multiple rounds of ammunition. As a result of this, 8 people were killed, including six policemen and two civilians. Another nine were injured, including six players, an umpire, and two of the staff members.

The officials attributed the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant group closely associated with al-Qaeda. Sri Lanka, which was filling in for India who pulled out of the Test for security concerns, had been promised "presidential-style security" by Pakistan.


1. 2013 Boston Marathon


On April 15, 2013, during the Boston Marathon, a series of bomb blasts ripped through the unsuspecting crowd of sports fans, waiting to enjoy the spectacle of the event.

The attack, dubbed as an act of terror by a White House official, killed three people. However, that was not all. The attack severely injured more than 264 people, leaving many of them maimed, as two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the event.

The suspects, who were recognized by photographs and surveillance video, were later identified as Chechen brothers, who, during their interrogation, expressed that they were independent and radicalized, and motivated by Islamist beliefs and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This incident definitely ranks among the worst terror attacks in sports.



Sports are a form of entertainment that should unite people. However, the terror attacks do just the opposite. They scar the minds of fans who come to witness events from far and wide. The attacks bring fear to the fans, and the main sufferer is sports, itself.


Terror Attacks In Sports - Infographics

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