This isn't your normal sports story.

Then again, these aren't normal times.

Sports Illustrated's Michael McKnight tells us the wild tale of Dr. Johan Hultin, described as part Indiana Jones, part Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is the virus hunter.

Now 95 and living with his wife in Walnut Creek, Hultin twice trekked into the Alaska wilderness to help find answers to the 1918 flu pandemic. 

The top of the story includes a 2002 quote from Hultin that everyone probably should have taken to heart: "It is absolutely certain another pandemic will come, but we don’t know what form it will be. The question is, How can we be forewarned?"

*** McKnight talks in the video below about his pursuit of this story:

Finally discovering "Lucy" in the Alaska back country in 1997 didn't provide all the answers, but Dr. Hultin's efforts continue to contribute to what scientists today are chasing as the world combats the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Dr. Johan Hultin and the remains of "Lucy"

Dr. Johan Hultin and the remains of Lucy.

The first paragraph of the story should draw you in to this amazing story:

Johan Hultin was 72, comfortably retired and happily married, when he decided to dig up the dead bodies again. The year was 1997. There was no pandemic; no urgent reason to fly to Alaska, hike into the wilderness and search for remnants of the deadliest virus the world had ever known. There was just a nagging thirst within the adventurer, and a few other curious pathologists, to learn at a molecular level why the 1918 flu had been so lethal. Why had this particular pathogen, which history calls the Spanish flu, killed as many as 100 million people in just two years—more death than any other ailment had caused in such a span; more, by some estimates, than in World Wars I and II and Vietnam, combined—while other influenzas came and went unnoticed?

Here is McKnight's full story on the Virus Hunter.