12 good news stories that warmed our hearts this year

Left: Two athletes hug as they agree to share a gold medal. Right: An older couples kisses in a wedding photo.
From shared Olympic victories to belated wedding photos, there were plenty of good news stories in 2021.Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images ; St. Croix Hospice
  • There were lots of inspiring and heartwarming news stories in 2021.

  • Olympians displayed sportsmanship in the Tokyo Olympics, sharing medals and cheering competitors.

  • There were also memorable weddings, like a couple celebrating 77 years together with belated photos.

A scuba diver saved a couple's diamond ring after the groom dropped it into Lake Tahoe during their March wedding.

A bride and groom stand on a dock as the groom drops a wedding ring into a lake.
Andrew Kent dropped Marlee Kent's wedding ring into Lake Tahoe.Inside Edition/YouTube

Andrew and Marlee Kent eloped at Lake Tahoe, California, in March, reciting their vows on a dock. As Andrew took out the diamond ring to place it on Marlee's finger, it fell out through a crack in the dock and into the water below, Insider's Samantha Grindell reported.

The couple was able to retrieve Marlee's ring a day after the ceremony with the help of Phill Abernathy, a scuba diver they found on the Tahoe Scuba Diving Facebook group.

"We were just ecstatic," Marlee told Inside Edition.

A woman's doctor wrote her a prescription to hug her granddaughter after she received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Left: a doctor's prescription reading "You are allowed to hug your granddaughter. Right: Ateret Frank hugs her grandmother Evelyn Shaw.
After getting vaccinated, Evelyn Shaw's doctor wrote her a prescription for a hug from her granddaughter.Jessica Shaw and Laura Shaw Frank

Evelyn Shaw hadn't hugged her grandchildren in a year due to the pandemic.

Even two weeks after Shaw received the second vaccine, she was still too nervous to stop social distancing with family members. So their family doctor in New York came up with a way to help her feel more comfortable: a prescription for the best medicine there is.

On an official prescription note, the doctor wrote "You are allowed to hug your granddaughter."

Shaw's daughter Laura Shaw Frank and her daughter Ateret delivered the note in an emotional reunion.

"We stood 6 feet away and we handed her the note, and she opened it up and she took out the prescription and read the note — and she burst out crying," Shaw Frank told Insider. "And then they hugged, and it was amazing, and that's the video I took. We all cried. It was a really beautiful moment."

Evelyn's daughter Jessica Shaw shared the video of that long-awaited embrace on Twitter, where it went viral.

Nine years after a Picasso painting was stolen from Athens National Gallery, police received a tip and recovered it in the Greek town of Keratea in June.

Police investigators seach for evidence at the Athens' National Gallery on January 9, 2012.
Police investigators search for evidence at the Athens' National Gallery.LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images

In 2012, two thieves stole Pablo Picasso's "Head of a Woman," as well as "Stammer Windmill" by Piet Mondrian, from the Athens National Gallery in a seven-minute heist.

ARTNews reported in February that police received a tip that the Picasso painting was still in Greece with a price of $20 million on the illegal market. Authorities then recovered the painting in the East Attica town of Keratea and brought a suspect into custody, according to The Washington Post.

Picasso had gifted the painting to the National Gallery in Athens to honor the country's resistance to Nazi Germany in World War II, the BBC reported.

Greece's Culture Minister Lina Mendoni told reporters it would have been "impossible" for the artwork to be sold or displayed after it was stolen because Picasso had inscribed it with a message: "For the Greek people, a tribute by Picasso."

Oksana Chusovitina, a 46-year-old gymnast from Uzbekistan, received a standing ovation at her eighth and possibly final Olympics in July.

Oksana Chusovitina receives a standing ovation
Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan reacts after the women's artistic gymnastics qualification.Cao Can/Xinhua via Getty Images

Eight-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina received a standing ovation after competing in vault during the women's artistic gymnastics qualifications.

Chusovitina made her Olympic debut in 1992, where she won a team gold medal with the Soviet Union. She also won a silver medal while representing Germany in 2008.

In Tokyo, Chusovitina earned a score of 14.166, which wasn't enough for her to qualify for the event final. But the International Federation of Gymnastics tweeted that there was "not a dry eye in the house" as Chusovitina took her bow after the qualifying round.

High jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy agreed to share a gold medal.

Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim embrace after deciding to split gold.
Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim.Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Both men cleared a jump of 2.37 meters but failed to clear the next bar. Instead of a jump-off, Barshim and Tamberi agreed to share the gold medal.

"I still can't believe it happened," Tamberi said after the win, per the Associated Press. "Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful. ... It was just magical."

Barshim was equally thrilled with the result, saying that both he and Tamberi had put in a performance worthy of a gold medal.

"For me, coming here, I know for a fact that for the performance I did, I deserve that gold," Barshim said. "He did the same thing, so I know he deserved that gold."

"This is beyond sport," Barshim said. "This is the message we deliver to the young generation."

Olympic diver Tom Daley gave an impassioned speech to young LGBTQ people after his emotional gold-medal win.

British diver Tom Daley biting his Tokyo Olympic gold medal
Tom Daley hopes his victory inspires young LGBTQ+ people.Clive Rose/Getty Images

Daley and teammate Matty Lee triumphed in the men's synchronized 10-meter competition on July 26.

Speaking to press after his victory, Daley, who started competing at the Olympics at the age of 14, said he hoped his win would show young LGBTQ people that "you can achieve anything."

"I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone and that you can achieve anything. There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you," he said.

He added: "I am incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. I feel very empowered by that."

Two years after Saeid Mollaei fled his native Iran after authorities told him to purposefully lose a match, he won a silver Olympic medal in judo for Mongolia.

Saeid Mollaei with his silver medal in judo at the Tokyo Olympics
Saeid Mollaei celebrates with his silver medal.FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Mollaei left Iran after he said that authorities had told him to lose to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, Sagi Muki. Iran and Israel have been in a proxy conflict since 1985.

Mollaei and Muki went on to become friends, Insider's Jackson Thompson reported. At the Olympics this year, Muki lost in the quarterfinal but supported Mollaei throughout the competition.

"I'm super happy for Saeid," Muki said, according to The Times of Israel. "I know what he's gone through, and how much he wanted it."

Mollaei dedicated his silver medal to Israel. According to The Jerusalem Post, Mollaei told Israeli channel Sports 5, "Thank you to Israel for all the good energy."

Mollaei and Muki's friendship is now being adapted into a scripted TV series.

In August, Prancer the Chihuahua found a forever home after his brutally honest adoption ad went viral.

Prancer, the 2 year old Chihuahua taking the internet by storm.
Prancer, the 2-year-old Chihuahua who took the internet by storm.Second Chance Pet Adoption League

In an ad for his adoption posted to Facebook in April, Prancer's foster parent Tyfanee Fortuna described him as a "13-pound rage machine," "Chucky doll in a dog's body," and "a haunted Victorian child in the body of a small dog."

A representative for Second Chance Pet Adoption League in New Jersey said that Fortuna's ad led to hundreds of emails inquiring about Prancer, who has had no interested adopters for months.

He was eventually adopted by Ariel Davis, who told the "People Every Day" podcast that he was "perfect" for her.

"It's been absolute heaven, even through the struggles, because life is about struggles," Davis said in the podcast interview. "Nobody has a perfect life. Nothing's ever perfect. It's about what you make of the situation."

In September, Steve from "Blue's Clues" made a heartwarming video addressing now-adult fans, saying, "I never forgot you, ever."

Steve from "Blue's Clues" recently addressed fans in a new video.
Steve from "Blue's Clues" recently addressed fans in a new video.Nickelodeon/MTV; Nick Jr. via Twitter

Steve from "Blue's Clues" shared a video addressing now-adult fans of the show directly, explaining his abrupt departure from the show and saying he's proud of his viewers.

"Look at you, and look at all you have done and all you have accomplished in all that time, and it's just … it's so amazing, right?" he said in the video posted to Nick Jr.'s Twitter page.

He added: "I never forgot you, ever, and I'm super glad we're still friends."

USA Today called the video "the big warm hug we all needed."

Hospice workers helped a couple celebrate 77 years of marriage by taking the wedding photos they never had.

Royce and Frankie King kiss at their wedding.
Royce and Frankie King kiss at their wedding, 77 years late.St. Croix Hospice

When Royce and Frankie King wed in 1944, they didn't have time to plan a big wedding or take photos. On their 77th anniversary, staff members at St. Croix Hospice in Iowa helped them recreate their 1944 nuptials and take the wedding photos they never had.

"It was so hard to keep from crying behind the lens as I got to witness the emotion with this beautiful couple, and the love and compassion that their team poured into preparing this event for them," photographer and St. Croix staff member Hilary Michelson said in a statement. "That's what our team strives to do at St. Croix Hospice. We go above and beyond for our patients and their families to ensure that their focus is on the quality of life and making each day and each memory count."

The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a lively socially distant birthday party on his porch.

Lawrence Brooks raises his hands above his head and smiles as he celebrates his 112th birthday on his front porch, surrounded by white, black, and gold balloons.
World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks celebrates his 112th birthday on his front porch.The National WWII Museum

At 112 years old, Lawrence Brooks is the oldest known US World War II veteran alive today. In past years, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, hosted birthday parties in his honor. This year, organizers got creative to give Brooks a memorable and COVID-conscious celebration on his front porch.

The National WWII Museum's vocal trio, The Victory Belles, serenaded Brooks as staff presented him with cake and cards. Then, participants drove by with celebratory signs in a Jeep parade sponsored by Kajun Outcast Jeep Club and Northshore Wrangler Association.

In October, a bride wore a tactile wedding dress so her blind husband could "feel how she looked."

Left: Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro walk down the aisle at their wedding. Right: Anthony puts a ring on Kelly Anne's finger.
Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro at their wedding. Kelly Anne wore a tactile dress for Anthony, who is blind, to feel.David Gannon Photography

Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro wed on October 2. Kelly Anne, who works in tech, partnered with Loulette Bridal in Brooklyn, New York, to create a tactile wedding dress with pleasing textures that Anthony could appreciate.

"The second she got to me, it was incredible," Anthony told Insider. "She had a velvet strip around it and all this silk, and this beautiful fringe, and lace — all these materials. And it wasn't weird textures. It was beautiful, tactile, pleasing, sensory.

A video of their wedding went viral on TikTok with over half a million views.

"I just started tearing up because I see with my hands — with all my other senses, but especially my touch," Anthony said. "It blew me away."

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