The Most Inspiring Sports Moments of 2015

With no ranking in particular, below are the most memorable moments over the last 12 months that made us not only proud to be sports fans, but ones in which inspired us to be better human beings.

Meet the female bodybuilder with no legs

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Tatsiana Khvitsko, was born with only four fingers and no legs after exposure to radiation while in the womb following the Chernobyl disaster, kicks off the list. Not only is she now an accomplished runner, but she’s now taken on crossfit and bodybuilding competitions. 

Tatsiana is the epitome of human will. One watches her and can have no excuses. In order to stay in shape and accomplish your goals, you can’t let anything stop you. 

Mike Hessman becomes the real-life Crash Davis

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DUNEDIN, FL – FEBRUARY 27 : During one of his brief MLB stints, infielder Mike Hessman of the Detroit Tigers bats against the Toronto Blue Jays February 27, 2009 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

How can you hit more than 400 professional home runs (more than Joe DiMaggio) and still not own the spotlight? Any spot light? 

You hit them all in the minor leagues.

In the movie Bull Durham, Kevin Costner’s character continues a minor league career well into his 30s, becoming the minor league’s all-time home run king. Well, that’s Hessman.

His numbers: 2,080 minor league games, 7,484 at-bats, 3,489 total bases and 2,353 strikeouts, all of which began in 1996 — Yup, a 19-year-career in the minors.

This last summer, Hessman hit his 433rd bomb in the minor leagues, a new all-time record. 

It’s inspiring because, if you know how much most minor-league players are making, Hessman stayed in the sport for the love of the game, a rare devotion seen in this millennia. 

Brewers’ “Hank The Dog” becomes “Dog of the Year”

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Hank at a spring training game at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 7, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Spring training of ’14, the Milwaukee Brewers took in a stray dog that showed up at their park and made them their unofficial mascot. Well, not only did they likely save the pups life, they made Hank a celebrity.

This past January, Hank was named the 2014 ‘Dog of the Year’ at the World Dog Awards. Never heard of the World Dog Awards before, but I’m pretty sure it’s like winning the best Oscar imaginable. 

Kudos to the Brew Crew for understanding that there’s more to life than baseball, even when the sport is consuming most of your adult life. 

Bart Starr and Brett Favre embrace at Lambeau

Not only was it the official ‘Okay, we forgive you, Brett’ party, but it was the moment Favre embraced one of the other greatest quarterbacks of all-time, Packers Hall-of-Fame QB Bart Starr.

It’s also been noted in reports that Starr has not only survived recent strokes and heart attacks, he is suffering from severe dementia as well. But if you ask him about football, he can tell you he remembers the Packers and Brett Favre. 

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100 Year Old CA Man Breaks Track & Field World Records

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Add this story to your list of ‘have to see it to believe it.’

After competing at the age of 98, 100-year-old Don Pellman out did himself at the San Diego Senior Olympics this past summer, smashing 5 new world records for his age group.

Nuff said.

WWE Inducts Connor “The Crusher” Michalek Into Hall of Fame

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A WWE fan to the end, Connor was able to not only live out his dying wish with the wrestlers he idolized, but became one of them.

Connor touched so many lives during his time with the wrestlers, they inducted him into the Hall of Fame following his passing.

Kenyan Runner Crawls Across Austin Marathon Finish Line

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And last, but certainly not least, Hyvon Ngetich’s “bravest crawl” ever seen.

The world-class Kenyan runner ran out of gas with just 50 yards until the finish line at this year’s Austin Marathon, using nothing but grit and unparalleled determination to crawl across the finish line. In fact, Ngetich says she doesn’t remember the last 2 kilometers. Finish line? She says “I have no idea.”

She still finished in third place. 

Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.

Photos: Getty