At age 31 in a mountain climbing accident, Karine Ruby (above), who dominated women's Alpine snowboarding for nearly a decade. Ruby, of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France, won a gold medal in the giant slalom at the 1998 Olympics and a silver in the parallel giant slalom in 2002. She also won 67 World Cup races and six world championships before her retirement following the 2006 Olympics. She was training to be a mountain guide when she fell into a crevasse on Mont Blanc, on the border of France, Switzerland and Italy. "Karine incarnated the emergence of snowboarding in France," French prime minister François Fillon said in a statement. "The people of France will hold on to the memory of her talent and her joie de vivre."
At age 73 of complications from Alzheimer's, Terry Barr, a two-time Pro Bowl receiver for the Lions. Originally a defensive back, Barr returned an interception for a touchdown as a rookie in Detroit's 59--14 win over the Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship Game. He shifted to offense three years later, catching 227 passes (12th on the team's alltime list) and making the Pro Bowl in 1963 and '64. "I don't think Terry ever dropped a ball," said former Detroit teammate Gail Cogdill.
Of a rare blood disorder at age 44, former NHL center Peter Zezel (below). A talented all-around athlete—he played in a few games with the Toronto Blizzard of the North American Soccer League—the handsome, outgoing Zezel helped the Flyers outgrow their Broad Street Bullies image in the 1980s. But there was no mistaking his toughness; after proving his mettle as a scorer with Philadelphia, he reinvented himself in Toronto, where he anchored the Maple Leafs' checking line in 1993 and '94, when they made the Western Conference finals. "Everybody recognized him on and off the ice," former Philadelphia teammate Rick Tocchet said. "Peter was a matinee idol." Zezel retired in 1999 and two years later was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia, a disease that destroys the body's red blood cells.
On three counts of murder stemming from the hit-and-run accident that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, Andrew Gallo. The 22-year-old allegedly had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when his vehicle plowed into the car in which Adenhart was riding just hours after his fourth major league start, on April 8. Adenhart and two friends were killed; a fourth person in Adenhart's car was seriously injured. Gallo was also charged with three other felonies.
In his mixed martial arts debut, Jose Canseco. The 44-year-old former slugger lasted 77 seconds with 7'2", 327-pound Hong Man Choi, a sumo wrestler and kick boxer from South Korea. Canseco spent much of the bout, which took place in Yokohama, Japan, avoiding Choi. When Choi finally caught him, he dropped Canseco to the mat face-first and hit him in the head until the referee stepped in. Up next for Canseco (above), according to celebrity fight promoter Damon Feldman: a July 24 bout with 300-pound competitive eater Bill (Wingador) Simmons, whose nickname comes from his ability to devour chicken wings.
The University of Kentucky Athletic Association, by former Wildcats basketball coach Billy Gillispie—who was promptly sued by the school the next day. Gillispie was working without a contract (though he had signed a memorandum of understanding) when he was fired in late March. Gillispie claims the memorandum entitles him to a $6 million buyout; the school says the agreement is nonbinding. Gillispie was 40--27 in two seasons before he was replaced by former Memphis coach John Calipari.
By the NCAA, an investigation into alleged major infractions in the Memphis basketball program. The most serious allegation is that an unidentified person took the SAT in place of a player—believed to be point guard Derrick Rose—from the '07--08 team. Rose left school after his freshman season and was the top pick in the NBA draft. If found guilty, the Tigers could be forced to forfeit their 38 wins that season and vacate their title-game appearance. The NCAA told John Calipari, who coached the Tigers for the last nine years before his hiring at Kentucky in April, that he was not "at-risk" in the investigation, but he was strongly urged to participate in a hearing that has been scheduled for June 6. Calipari, who will be in China, said he will call in. "I am very willing to cooperate with the committee and provide my views on the issues involved in this case," he said.
The 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee, by Kavya Shivashankar. The 13-year-old from Olathe, Kans., won after her two remaining competitors missed words in the 15th round of the competition in Washington, D.C. Kavya then spelled Laodicean, which means indifferent toward religion or politics. It was her fourth top 10 finish. "I'm really going to miss spelling," said Kavya, who has exhausted her eligibility. "I'm really happy, but I'm sad that this is the end of my spelling career."