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SportsBeat's 10 most inspirational stories of 2016


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SALT LAKE CITY — For all its faults, 2016 also gave us a great reminder of why we love sports.

There were plenty of inspiring stories from local athletes. Here are a few of our favorites from the past calendar year.

Click the video above for the complete Christmas-themed special episode of SportsBeat.

10 years after former Ute star Nate Orchard’s critical decision, it led to the NFL

At just 13 years old, Nate Fakahafua had a choice: return to the streets of Los Angeles or remain homeless on the streets of Salt Lake City.

He chose the latter and ran into the Orchard family — a knock on the door that would forever change his life.

Ogden hoops makes final home game extra special for senior manager

Last February, Ogden High senior Leyton Davis sank a buzzer beater on senior night.

It wasn’t a game-winner — it was so much more.

Mountain View star's courageous cancer battle plays out in state tourney

Mountain View made a surprise run to the quarterfinals of last spring’s Class 4A state boys basketball tournament.

The Bruins were led by junior Ricky Stafford, who averaged 10 points and six rebounds — while undergoing treatment for cancer every day.

Nephi Sewell returns to football after broken neck

One year ago, Desert Hills star running back Nephi Sewell suffered a severe neck injury that threatened to derail his football career.

This past year, he returned to the gridiron — and led the Thunder to the Class 3AA state championship.

Stanford-bound Sione Lund overcomes unique challenges to find success

Brighton High senior Sione Lund has been one of the most highly recruited football players the state has ever produced.

The Stanford commit faced more heartache and pain than any teenager should have to bear. Thanks to faith and family, he’s had the strength to overcome it and find happiness.

‘Things happen’: Corner Canyon football player battling cancer with community’s help

Corner Canyon football star Cameron Forte had the world in front of him, until a broken femur and cancer threatened to take everything away.

Cancer broke his body, but it could not break his spirit.

Lehi football team, community rally around senior with leukemia

Last September, Lehi rallied for a huge win over Pleasant Grove on the football field.

There was a much bigger story than a football game for Pioneer student Shelbie Luce, whose battle with cancer became a celebration of support on Homecoming.

Former Utah track star recounts Olympic misfortune

Former Cyprus and University of Utah standout Blaine Lindgren ran the hurdles in the 1964 Summer Games.

He finished first in the medal round but never won gold. After years of heartache, he’s finally at peace with a clerical error that cost him a medal.

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Rod Zundel

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