JUNE 2000 | VOL. 4, NO. 6
MARC CIAMPA, a native of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada is the staff sports writer for Renaissance Online Magazine. A student at the University of Alberta, Ciampa is the public relations coordinator for the St. Albert Saints and writes a weekly article in the Edmonton Sun on junior hockey during the winter. During the summer he runs the official Calgary Cannons website.
| Gone but Not Forgotten|
Anniversary of Owen Hart's death marks a year of controversy, passionate reactions and impending litigation
Over the past year that I have been writing for Renaissance Online Magazine, one particular article I wrote has gotten more response and reaction than any other. That article addressed wrestler Owen Hart's unnecessary death.
It has now been over one year since his untimely passing in Kansas City, Missouri as he was dropped to his death from the rafters by, as his wife Martha Hart put it, "a make-shift contraption which included a quick-release snap shackle clip meant for the sole purpose of rigging sail boats." Even though more than 365 days have passed since May 23, 1999, many of those who were involved in Owen's life still remember him daily.
"A day doesn't go by when I don't think of my brother Owen a hundred times over. I sure miss him," said his brother, Bret Hart, who is currently contemplating retirement due to complications with a concussion as well as a loss of love for the business.
"I still cry every day," said Hart's wife, Martha (right). "I'll be driving and I'll think 'I can't believe this is my life.' Everything I do, even if I'm happy at the moment, I'm broken inside. When I'm alone with my thoughts, those are my darkest hours. I can't believe how great everything was in my life a year ago and where I am today. This house went from being so exciting to meaning nothing without Owen.
"When Owen left for the airport the last time, he took (his son) Oje and had a real good talk with him," she said. "Owen told Oje that when he was gone, he was supposed to take care of his mother and not cause her any problems. He also told him that he was a big boy and that he should be nice to his mother and sister. It was like a pep talk. I think it's amazing that's his last memory with his Dad."
"You don't get over it," said Hart's mother, Helen, in early May. "It was Owen's birthday last Sunday and it is Mother's Day this Sunday. The anniversary coming up. You just don't get over it. Owen wrote me a card once. It was so touching. I still have it. Owen wrote: 'Thanks for having me. I love life.' Owen was the baby. We could've stopped at 10 kids or 11. But we didn't. We had Owen."
The attitude towards the media's reaction of Owen's death by WWF Canada President Carl DeMarco was questionable to say the least. In a Calgary Sun interview May 27, he stated:
"You get your good stories and your bad stories, but every time something happens it boosts business," said DeMarco. "All the coverage we get keeps us on top of the mind. It's better than us begging for coverage." Back in 1993, Owen Hart, himself, talked about his career and his expectations as a WWF wrestler. "I wanted to be a Phys Ed teacher. I wrestled only to appease my father. I was compelled to get into the ring. Once I started there was the pressure of having the Hart name -- I was expected to be good."
And he was very good.
He started his career in the WWF under a mask as The Blue Blazer, but eventually was elevated to prominence through a lengthy on-screen feud with his brother Bret Hart. It was a series of matches that Bret Hart has stated was the highlight of his career.
"It started out on March 20, 1994, at Wrestlemania 10, where Owen won a shocking upset over me in what turned out to be one of my favorite matches of all time, overshadowing, in my mind, my World title victory in another match later that same night," said Hart in his weekly Calgary Sun article. "The match with Owen was so dramatic, so solid, so real. I can remember wrestlers, fans and especially WWF officials telling me how Owen was finally starting to get it and I told them, 'he was always that good, you just never took the time to see it.'"
The wonderful memories everyone has of Owen Hart will continue on for many years to come. However, the inner strength of people so close to Owen, people like Bret, Martha and Helen will be tested on February 5, 2001. The date Martha Hart's lawsuit against the WWF commences.
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