​​”I’m back” – Why comebacks make sports so special

Sporty comeback stories always give us goosebumps, especially when they’re relatable and reflect life in a certain context. We all go through ups and downs, and we all know that in order to be successful, we have to fight to get there.

You’re probably in the process of your own comeback after a lockdown due to the Corona pandemic. After a long break, we need to get used to sport, gain confidence and enjoy the experience again. That’s why we created the Comeback Challenge – so you can find your way back to sport, have fun and win a prize at the same time!

To get you inspired, we’ve compiled some awesome comebacks from professional sports history. Whether it’s ambition, friendship or determination – each comeback is motivating in its own way.



Willpower plays an enormous role when it comes to injuries. In 2017 Australian BMX champion Caroline Buchanan had an off-road accident that collapsed both her lungs, punctured her heart wall and fractured her sternum. She was fighting for her life. Training was unthinkable.

The multiple BMX and mountain bike world champion endured nine surgeries and three sternum reconstructions. She wasn’t cleared to ride BMX again until September 2019. “The mental battle is to keep the faith and stay on track to work towards a goal.” She fought to compete in the Summer Games in Tokyo and came close to being nominated. But the fact that it didn’t work out shouldn’t diminish her accomplishment. Buchanan proved to herself and everyone else what athletes are capable of.



Michael Jordan is one of the best professional basketball players in history – and one of the most significant comebackers. He’s returned to the court several times. Jordan first retired from basketball in 1993, shortly after his father’s murder, and then began a career as a minor-league baseball player. Baseball had been his father’s favourite sport and his first love as a child and Jordan wanted to prove to himself, his father and the rest of the world that he had as much talent in baseball as he did in basketball.

But Jordan quickly realized that basketball was his true destiny. In the spring of 1995, Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls with the world-famous words “I’m back” and won three more championships before ending his career in 1999 at the age of 36. He couldn’t let it go, though: After a stint as team manager with the Washington Wizards, he announced in 2001 that he would return to the field one more time to play for the Wizards. He then retired for good in 2003 at the age of 40.



How badly do you want it? Formula One racer Niki Lauda has a truly inspiring comeback story. The Austrian, who died in 2019, was on the brink of life and death at the age of 27 after an accident at the 1976 German Grand Prix. Fellow teachers saved his life as they pulled him from the raging flames of his Formula One car. His face and head badly burned, Lauda lay in a coma. 

In an amazing display of determination, Lauda made a remarkable comeback just 40 days after the near-fatal accident. He missed only two races and not only raced again but almost won the title. In his comeback race, Lauda finished fourth, ultimately missing out on the world championship title by just one point. He will be remembered as one of the greatest come-backers in history. 



You’re 46 years old and have achieved everything in handball – you’re world champion, European champion, Olympic participant, multiple German champion and winner of the Champions League. You’ve earned enough money to last a lifetime and are now a mental coach and television expert. There’s really no reason for you to return to professional sports, unless it’s for friendship. 

In the 2020/21 championship, SG Flensburg-Handewitt were short handed in goal due to injuries. So coach Maik Machulla remembered his old teammate and now brother-in-law Henning Fritz. At the age of 46, he agreed to return to the pitch, still fit through private training. Although it wasn’t enough for them to win the championship, the service to his friend was still enormous. And we all learned nothing can get in the way of friendship.

Now it’s your turn!

Are you ready for a comeback? Urban Sports Club and our partners have done everything we can to help you get active and feel safe and comfortable again. Feel free to share another comeback story in the comments that inspires you – or, better yet, start your own comeback right away!


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