13thBorn today in 1867 Harold Mahony, Scottish-born Irish tennis player who is best known for winning the singles title at the Wimbledon Championships in 1896. His career lasted from 1888 until his death in 1905. Mahony was born in Scotland but lived in Ireland for the majority of his life; his family were Irish including both of his parents, the family home was in County Kerry, Southwestern Ireland. He was the last Scottish born man to win Wimbledon until the victory of Andy Murray at the 2013 championships, (Andy’s brother Jamie was also born on this day, see below) On this day in 1912 England regain the Ashes. Today in 1948 West Indian batsman Andy Ganteaume scores 112 for the West Indies in his only Test Cricket innings. The 11th Winter Olympics, which were held at Sapporo, Japan, came to a close on this day in 1972. Born on this day in 1986, Scottish and British professional tennis player Jamie Murray . He is a three-time Grand Slam doubles winner and a Davis Cup champion, currently the world No. 8 doubles player and a former doubles world No. 1. Murray is the elder brother of Britain’s world No. 1 singles tennis player Andy Murray. He has won three Grand Slam titles: the mixed doubles title at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships with Jelena Janković and the men’s doubles titles at the 2016 Australian Open and 2016 US Open with Bruno Soares. Murray had an early career partnership with Eric Butorac, winning three titles in 2007. Having split with Butorac at the end of 2007, he subsequently played with 43 partners over the next  5½ years, his following seven ATP finals came with six different partners. In 2013, he began a new partnership with John Peers, winning six ATP tournaments, and reaching two Grand Slam men’s doubles finals. After the partnership split up, Murray joined with Bruno Soares for the 2016 Tour, the new pair enjoying almost immediate success after winning only their second ATP tournament playing together.  This turned out to be a good indicator of more success to come the pair going on to win the Australian Open, US Open and Jamie reaching the world no. 1 doubles ranking. Murray was in the Great Britain team that won the Davis Cup in 2015, the nation’s first success in the tournament for 79 years. With his brother Andy, he won the doubles matches in Britain’s quarter-final, semi-final and final victories. The Davis Cup team was awarded the 2015 BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year Award. Brad Gilbert, who coached Andy Murray, gave Jamie the name ‘Stretch’ because of his 6-foot 3 inch height and long arms. In 1988 the 15th Winter Games of Calgary, Canada came to a close. German athlete Heike Dreschler long jumped a then world indoor record of 7.37m today in 1988. Sergei Bubka claimed another one of his many pole vault world records today in 1993 when he cleared 6.14m indoors. In 1989 the Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Mohammad took a staggering 12 hours to score 163 runs against New Zealand at Wellington, it took him a record 11.5 hours to reach 150. The popular BBC television commentator Ron Pickering died in 1991 at the age of 60. A renowned coach, he guided Lynn Davies to the 1964 Olympic long jump gold medal. Liverpool signed the biggest shirt deal sponsorship deal to date in Football League history on this day in 1992 when they signed a four-year contract worth £4million with brewers Carlsberg. Today in 2010 21 year old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a fatal crash during a training run for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, hours before the opening ceremonies. He became the fourth athlete to have died during Winter Olympics preparations, after British luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski, Australian skier Ross Milne (both 1964 Innsbruck), and Swiss speed skier Nicolas Bochatay (1992 Albertville), and the seventh athlete to die in either a Summer or Winter Olympic Games


14thEngland dismissed South Africa for 30 runs at Port Elizabeth in 1896, George Lohmann took eight wickets for seven runs. The innings stood as the lowest in a Test match until 1955 when New Zealand were dismissed by England for just 26 runs in Auckland. American jockey Johnny Longden was born at Wakefield in Yorkshire in 1907. He rode Court Fleet to victory in the US Triple Crown, that is the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes, in 1943. During 40 years as a jockey he rode 6032 winners and was the first man to pass the 6000th mark. In 1925, in a Rugby League Northern Cup (now the Challenge Cup) match, Wigan beat Cumberland amateurs Flimby and Fothergill 116-0. Full-back Jim Sullivan kicked a then record 22 goals. Former England footballer Kevin Keegan was born today in 1951. He started his career with Scunthorpe, and then moved to Liverpool where he became a favourite with the Kop – until he left for Hamburg in 1977! He returned to the UK to play for first Southampton followed by Newcastle United. He went on to manage Newcastle United, Fulham and Manchester City, winning promotion as champions in his first full season at all three clubs. He also managed the England national team. Two Winter Olympics Games opened on this day in different years – in 1952, the 6th Games held in Oslo, Norway and in 1980, the 13th Games held in Lake Placid, NY. Today in 1984 has a very special place in the hearts of all British fans of Ice-dancing, for it was on this day that Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were crowned the Olympic ice skating champions after scooping gold in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. More than 24 million people watched the British couple score maximum points at the Zetra Stadium for their slow and sensuous free dance performance set to Ravel’s Bolero. The couple from Nottingham received a standing ovation from the 8,500 spectators in the arena and flowers rained onto the ice after they completed their stirring four-minute performance. They scored 12 out of 18 possible sixes for their free dance and the maximum possible of nine sixes for artistic impression. In 1989 Peter Scudamore became only the third jockey after Stan Mellor amd John Francome, to ride 1000 National Hunt winners. Bob Paisley, Liverpool’s famous manager died on this day aged 77 in 1996. On this day in 2010 Alexandre Bilodau wins the gold medal in the freestyle skiing men’s moguls event thus becoming the first Canadian to win a Gold Medal during a Canadian-hosted Olympics. Dick Francis died aged 89 today in 2010, he was a British steeplechase jockey and crime writer, whose novels centre on horse racing in England. After wartime service in the RAF, Francis became a full-time jump-jockey, winning over 350 races and becoming champion jockey of the British National Hunt. He came to further prominence in 1956 as jockey to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, riding her horse Devon Loch when it fell, for unexplained reasons, while close to winning the Grand National. He then retired from the turf and became a professional journalist and novelist. All his novels deal with crime in the horse-racing world, some of the criminals being outwardly respectable figures. The stories are narrated by one of the key players, often a jockey, but sometimes a trainer, an owner, a bookie, or someone in a different profession, peripherally linked to racing. This person is always facing great obstacles, often including physical injury, from which he must fight back with determination. More than forty of these novels became international best-sellers.


15thOn this day in 1921 Australian cricketer Arthur Mailey, in the second innings of the fourth Test of the 1920/21 Ashes series at Melbourne, he took nine wickets for 121 runs, which is still the Test record for an Australian bowler. Later In first-class cricket at Cheltenham during the 1921 tour, he took all ten Gloucestershire wickets for 66 runs in the second innings. His 1958 autobiography was accordingly titled Ten for 66 and All That (an allusion to the humorous book of English history, 1066 and All That). Graham Hill, one of the best known personalities in motor-racing was born in 1929. World champion with BRM in 1962, he lifted the title a second time, in 1968, with Lotus. He won the Monaco Grand Prix five times. He also had success in endurance races, in 1966 winning the Indianapolis 500, and in 1972 the Le Mans 24-hour race. He was killed in a plane crash in 1975. Today in 1932 the 3rd Winter Olympic Games came to a close at Lake Placid in NY, on this closing day US bobsled team member Eddie Eagan becomes the only athlete to win Gold in both Summer and Winter Olympics, after winning a boxing Gold in 1920 at the men’s Light-heavyweight division. (NB – Gillis Grafström, the Swedish figure skater, won gold in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games but it was in the same event, because in 1920, prior to the Winter Olympics, figure skating was part of the Summer Olympics. Grafström has the further distinction of being the only person to have won an individual gold medal in both the Summer (1920) and Winter Olympics (1924, 1928), although Eagan remains the only one to have managed the feat in different disciplines). In the fifth test at Melbourne in 1932 Australia and South Africa play the shortest completed Test — all over in 5 hours 53 minutes. South Africa were bowled out for 45, following their 36 in the first innings – the shortest in the history of Test cricket. Despite playing the match, Don Bradman did not bat, and Clarrie Grimmett did not bowl. Today in 1936 saw Norway’s Sonja Henie win her third consecutive Olympic figure staking Gold. She also won the World Championships ten times and was crowned European Champion six times; in fact she won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies’ figure skater. She turned professional and appeared in live shows, at the height of her acting career, she was one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. In 1960 Australian wicketkeeper Wally Grout made a name for himself while playing for Queensland at Brisbane by dismissing eight batsman in one innings, a world-record in first-class cricket. In 1976 the 12th Winter Olympic Games came to an end at Innsbruck in Austria. 20 years to the day after Grout (above) was breaking records, another wicketkeeper, Bob Taylor of England, equalled the Test record by dismissing seven Indian batsmen, all caught, at Bombay. On this day in 2014 Renaud Lavillenie, the French champion pole vaulter, broke the previous height record, held by athlete Sergey Bubka, at the Pole Vault Stars meet in Donetsk, Ukraine; Lavillenie reached 6.16m, indoors, exceeding Bubka’s world record of 6.15m indoors achieved in 1993


16thEngland beat Australia by six wickets tow in the fourth test match at Brisbane in 1933 and thus regain the Ashes in the infamous ‘Bodyline’ series. The 4th Winter Olympic Games held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen were closed on this day in 1936. Ian Craig makes his NSW cricket debut aged 16 years 249 days in 1952. The brilliant but temperamental tennis star John McEnroe was born in 1959. He won the singles at Wimbledon in 1981, 1983 and 1984 and also captured the doubles title five times. Cathy Freeman, Australian former 400m sprinter was born today in 1973. She would occasionally compete in other track events, but 400m was her main event. Her personal best of 48.63 currently ranks her as the sixth fastest woman of all time, set while finishing second to Marie-Jose Perec’s number-three time at the 1996 Olympics. She famously became the 400m Olympic champion at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, at which she lit the Olympic Flame. Freeman was the first Australian Indigenous person to become a Commonwealth Games gold medallist at age 16 in 1990. 1994 was her breakthrough season. At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Freeman won gold in both the 200m and 400m. She also won the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics and came first at the 1997 World Championships, in the 400 m event. In 1998 Freeman took a break from running due to injury. She returned from injury in form with a first place in the 400 m at the 1999 World Championships. She announced her retirement from athletics in 2003. On this day in 1984 Bill Johnson becomes the first American to win Olympic downhill skiing Gold. Dutch speed skater Hein Vergeer becomes the World All-round champion for the second time on this day in 1986. Theresa Goh Singaporean swimmer and Paralympic medallist was born in 1987 with a bronze in the SB4 100m breaststroke at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. She holds the world records for the SB4 50m and 200m breaststroke events. Due to congenital spina bifida, she does not have use of her legs. Nonetheless, she started swimming at the age of five years, and began taking part in competitions at age 12. She soon established herself as a top competitor, winning medals at, among others, the ASEAN ParaGames (2001, 2003, 2005 and 2008), Far East and South Pacific Games Federation for the Disabled (FESPIC) Games (now known as the Asian Para Games) (2002), International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF) World Wheelchair Games (2003), National Swimming Championships (2004), and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Swimming Championships (2006). At Leeds in 1991, Great Britain beat France 60-4 to register their biggest win in a rugby league international. Martina Navratilova beat Jana Novotna in the Chicago Virginia Slims in 1992 to become the most successful Tennis player of all-time, it was the 158th title of her career. On this day in 2011 Lance Armstrong announced his official retirement from professional cycling. In 2013 Lionel Messi scored his 14th consecutive goal in La Liga and his 300th goal in 365 appearances for Barcelona.


17thOn this day in 1818 Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun, German inventor, patents a ‘draisine’ A form of early bicyle also nicknamed the dandy horse. This incorporated the two-wheeler principle that is basic to the bicycle and motorcycle and was the beginning of mechanized personal transport. Drais also invented the earliest typewriter with a keyboard in 1821, later developed into an early stenograph machine, a meat grinder, and a wood-saving cooker using a hay chest. In 1882 the first Test Cricket match was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The first telecast of a sporting event in Japan took place today in 1931 – a baseball game. American basketball player Michael Johnson was born in 1963. A leading scorer among his contemporaries he accumulated 32,292 points with an average of 30.1 during his career. Jean-Claude Killy of France, one of the greatest Alpine skiers of all time, won his third gold medal at the 1968 Olympics at Grenoble. Victorious in the downhill, the giant slalom and finally, in the slalom, he equalled Toni Sailer’s record of winning three gold medals at one Games. On this day in 1971, England regained the Ashes with a 2-0 series win. 49 people tragically lost their lives in a stampede for seats at a football match in Cairo, Egypt today in 1974. The so called Zamalek disaster happened when fans were crushed before friendly match at the Zamalek Stadium between Zamalek SC of Egypt and Dukla Prague of Czechoslovakia. Following a change of venue for the match, many supporters thought they would not be able to enter the newly chosen stadium, as the previously intended venue, Nasser Stadium, was much larger. In the ensuing rush the walls crumbled and many people were left dead. According to reports, up to 80,000 people tried to access the stadium, despite the capacity at the time being just 40,000. In 1982 the first Test Cricket match between Sri Lanka and England commenced. British swimmer Mark Foster set a new 50m world record on this day in 1993 of 21.60s. On this day in 1998 the USA Women’s Ice Hockey Team beat Canada to win the first Olympic Gold medal. Approximately 70 ancient Olympic artefacts were stolen from the Archaeological Museum of Greece. Robbers broke into a museum in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics, tied and gagged a museum guard, and fled with stolen artifacts. The two men raided the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games, a smaller building close to the main Archaeological Museum of Olympia, just after 7:30 a.m. local time, said Athanassios Kokkalakis, a police spokesman. The robbers “approached the museum’s guard, tied her hands and bound her mouth and then went into the museum, where they took small clay and brass small statues, and a gold ring, and put them in a bag and left.”   Today in 2013 Australia beat the West Indies by 114 runs, to win the Women’s Cricket World Cup.


18thDuring England’s record 13-0 win over Ireland on this day in 1882, Oliver Vaughton, (5 goals) and Arthur Brown (4) became the first English players to score hat-tricks in a full international fixture. The man who built the Ferrari empire, Enzo Ferrari, was born in 1898. A racing driver with Alfa Romeo in the 1920s, he took over the team when Alfa quit racing at the end of 1929 and started manufacturing under the Scuderia Ferrari banner. Since the launch of the world motor-racing championship in 1950, Ferrari has been the most successful manufacturer and the only one to register 100 grand prix wins. Enzo Ferrari died in 1988. On this day in 1900 Ajax football team forms in Amsterdam. The former football player and England manager Bobby Robson was born in 1933. He played 584 League games for West Bromwich and Fulham before becoming a manager and eventually making his name at Ipswich Town, leading them to a famous FA Cup win in 1978. Appointed manager of England in 1982, he guided the team to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup before returning to league football in Holland. The first officially recognised world heavyweight boxing champion under the Queensbury Rules, ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett, died on this day in 1933 at the age of 66. Today in 1960 the 8th Winter Olympic Games opened in Squaw Valley, California. Footballer Roberto Baggio was born in 1967, in 1990 he became the then most expensive footballer in the world when he moved from Fiorentina to Juventus for £7.7 million. Today in 1967 Bob Seagren set a new pole vault record of 5.36m at San Diego. Also born on this day in 1967 Welsh former sprint and hurdling athlete Colin Jackson, who specialised in the 110m hurdles. During a career in which he represented Great Britain and Wales, he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion twice, World indoor champion once, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and was a two-time Commonwealth champion. His world record of 12.91s for the 110m hurdles stood for over a decade and he remains the 60m hurdles world record holder. The 10th Winter Olympic Games came to a close at Grenoble in France on this day in 1968. The first Iron Man Triathlon (swim, bike ride, marathon) was held in Hawaii today in 1978. During an awards banquet for the Waikiki Swim Club, John Collins, a Naval Officer stationed in Hawaii, and his fellow athletes began debating which athletes were the fittest: swimmers, bikers, or runners. Later, he and his wife Judy, who had both participated in new competitions known as triathlons in San Diego, decided to combine three of the toughest existing endurance races on the island. 15 competitors, including Collins, came to the shores of Waikiki to take on the first-ever IRONMAN challenge. Collins’s famous quote – “Swim 2.4 Miles. Bike 112 miles. Run 26.2. Brag for the rest of your life,” is an oft repeated one among the Ironman fraternity. In 2005 a ban on fox hunting with dogs came into force in England and Wales. The law faced a stiff test on it first weekend, with the Countryside Alliance saying many hunts would still be out in force. Chief police officers spokesman Nigel Yeo said he expected most people would obey the law – by drag hunting or chasing foxes before shooting them. He said the police would challenge the “one or two isolated hunts” which were threatening to break the law. Anti-hunting activists celebrated the introduction of the ban. Hounds could be used to follow a scent and to flush out a fox and foxes could still be shot, or killed by birds of prey, after being tracked by a pair of hounds. Died on this day in 2012, Elizabeth Connell, South African-born operatic mezzo-soprano, and later soprano, whose career took place mainly in the United Kingdom and Australia.


19th The first speedway meeting on a cinder track took place in 1928 at High Beech, Essex. On the very same day in 1928 the 2nd Winter Olympic Games closed at St Moritz in Switzerland. In 1975 Her Majesty the Queen knighted cricketer Gary Sobers during a state visit to Barbados, at the time only the fifth cricketer to be so honoured! Ma Lin, Chinese table tennis player, was born on this day in 1980. He learned to play table tennis at the age of five and became a member of the provincial team in 1990. In 1994, he joined the Chinese national team. Ma Lin is the only male player ever to win Olympic gold in Singles, Doubles and Team. Additionally, he holds a professional era record of 5 major titles (4 World Cups and 1 Olympic Gold), having won more World Cups than any other male table tennis player in history. Since retiring in December 2013, Ma Lin has been serving as the head coach of the Guangdong provincial table tennis team. On this day in 1983 Russian swimmer Vladimir Salnikov set a world record for the 400m freestyle at 3:48.32s. In 1984 the 14th Winter Olympics came to a close at Sarajevo in Yugoslavia and on that day twin brothers Phil and Steve Mahre became the first such combo to win a Gold and Silver in the same event at an Olympic Games. Competing in the slalom, Phil recorded the quicker time of the two brothers. Alan Shearer scored on his England debut against France at Wembley in 1992. England won 2-0 as France suffered their first defeat in 20 games. On this day in 1998 the USA Ice Hockey team bring disgrace onto their country as they destroy their rooms at the Olympic village in Nagano, Japan. It was the first year the International Olympic Committee permitted NHL players to compete in the games, and so expectations for the quality of play at the tournament were high—especially for an American team whose 1996 World Cup–winning roster remained mostly intact, and which featured twelve of the top fifteen highest-scoring U.S.-born NHL players of all-time. Along with the U.S., the squads from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, and Sweden were all essentially satellite NHL All-Star teams; these were to be Olympic Games worth watching. Things didn’t go as planned, though, at least not for Team USA (or their fans). In four games, they could only muster a single victory (against a Belarusian side that featured just one NHL representative, Ruslan Salei, who, fascinatingly enough, had been able to join his countrymen earlier than expected—and therefore help them navigate the early rounds, (because he had been serving a two-game suspension from the NHL for head-butting). The American men succumbed to the eventual gold-medal-winning Czechs, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, but as it turned out, their lacklustre play wasn’t the most embarrassing part of their time in Japan. The morning after getting bounced by the Czechs, a delegation of U.S. players—almost certainly worse for drink and definitely dissatisfied with their performance—decided it would be a good idea to smash almost a dozen chairs and activate a few fire extinguishers, one of which was reportedly tossed off a balcony into an Olympic village courtyard. Officials discovered the aftermath a few hours later, and initially estimated the property damages at around $1,000—a number that tripled when all was said and done. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was not impressed. “Obviously, such conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said after the incident. “This is an unfortunate incident and one we deeply regret,” said then executive director of USA Hockey Dave Ogrean. “We believe only a handful of individuals were involved. Nevertheless, we will work with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Player’s Association in an effort to determine exactly who is responsible.” Bettman assigned the league’s security boss to work with USA Hockey, the NHLPA, and the United States Olympic Committee to “determine which players may have been responsible,” but their investigations ultimately failed to uncover any of the guilty party. Along with being the first Olympic tournament to include professional hockey players, Nagano also marked the debut of the women’s tournament, which was won by—you guessed it—the Americans. Captained by all-time great Cammi Granato, the American women conducted themselves with grace and class en route to upsetting the rival Canadian juggernauts. Juxtaposed with the conduct and success of the women, the behaviour of the men’s team looked even more embarrassing. Passing away on this day in 2007 at the age of 85, the founder of The National Ballet of Canada (1951) and its artistic director for 24 years – Celia Franca. Born in London in 1921 as Celia Franks, she was the daughter of a Polish Jewish immigrant and East End tailor. She began to study dance at the age of 4 and was a scholarship student at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Dance. She made her professional debut aged 14. She caught the attention of choreographer Walter Gore and successfully auditioned for Marie Rambert’s ballet company in 1936. She changed her name to Franca in emulation of Alicia Marks, who changed hers to Alicia Markova. In 1941, aged 20, she was recognized as one of the finest dramatic ballerinas in the Sadler’s Wells company. In 1947 she joined the Metropolitan Ballet as a soloist and ballet mistress. It was there that she began choreographing for television, creating the first two ballets – Eve of St. Agnes and Dance of Salomé – ever commissioned by the BBC. In 1950, a group of Toronto balletomanes asked Franca to start a Canadian classical company. A determined woman who thrived on challenges, she did the impossible in only 10 months – while supporting herself as a file clerk at Eaton’s department store, she recruited and trained dancers, staged some Promenade Concerts, organized a summer school, gathered a talented artistic staff and whipped her uneven but enthusiastic new company into shape for its opening on 12 November 1951. She and Betty Oliphant founded the National Ballet School of Canada in 1959 to provide exceptional dancers for the Company. During her years with the National Ballet and since her retirement, Celia was recognized at home and abroad.