Today in sports history - April 15: Tragedies at Hillsborough, Boston

The Hillsborough disaster and Boston Marathon
The Hillsborough disaster and Boston Marathon Photo credit: Images - Getty

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out live sport all around the globe, but history will never be erased.

While you contemplate streaming yet another Netflix drama or rewatching another replay of your favourite sporting moments, here are some stories that were making news in years past on April 15.


The first official Summer Olympic Games begin at Athens, Greece. 

The United States won the gold medal count with 11, but silver and bronze were not awarded at the time, until the IOC retroactively assigned them a few years later.


Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson Photo credit: Getty

Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American baseball player. 

Robinson's famous No.42 shirt was retired across the entire league in 1997 and beginning in 2004, all players wear his number on April 15. 


Balmain and Norths play rugby league's first televised game. 

Former international Ray Stehr called the action on Channel Nine, after the league's decision to allow half a match to be televised each weekend on a trial basis.


An injured supporter is attended to
An injured supporter is attended to Photo credit: Getty

Ninety-six Liverpool football supporters are crushed to death at Hillsborough Football Stadium in Sheffield, England. 

The neutral venue was hosting the FA Cup semi-final between the 'Reds' and Nottingham Forest. 

Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander David Duckenfield ordered exit gate C opened, leading to an influx of even more supporters to the pens and overcrowding.

With 96 fatalities and 766 injuries, it remains the worst disaster in British sporting history.


BOSTON - APRIL 15: Police officers with their guns drawn hear the second explosion down the street. The first explosion knocked down 78-year-old US marathon runner Bill Iffrig at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Two pressure-cooker bombs are detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 183.

The men’s and women’s races were won by Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa Benti and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, and more than 5000 participants, who could not finish the race after it was suspended, were awarded medals.


GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15:  New Zealand Kelly Brazier (8) is congratulated by team mates after scoring the winning try in the Women's Gold Medal Rugby Sevens Match between Australia and New Zealand on day 11 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Robina Stadium on April 15, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

A golden day for New Zealand at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, with squash pair Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy's triumph, and our sevens squads taking centrestage.

Firstly, the Black Ferns thrilled the country with a final-play, length-of-the-field Kelly Brazier try to break the heart of host nation Australia, then the men completed a 14-0 shutout of Fiji to claim gold.


1958 - Former NZ cricket player and coach John Bracewell
1980 - Former NRL, State of Origin and Kangaroos league player Willie Mason
1984 - Football Ferns defender Katie Bowen-Duncan 


2002 - American football player & US Supreme Court Justice Byron 'Whizzer' White, aged 84

Newshub's top story 12 months ago.... 

Today in sports history - April 15: Tragedies at Hillsborough, Boston
Photo credit: Photosport

Damian McKenzie ruled out of Rugby World Cup 

All Blacks utility back Damian McKenzie has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with an ACL injury.

The 23-year-old picked up the injury during the Chiefs' 33-19 Super Rugby win against the Blues on Saturday night.

The injury occurred early in the second half when attempting a tackle on first-five Otere Black.

Coach Steve Hansen confirmed the news at the All Blacks' foundation day in Wellington on Monday.