1stOn this day in 1486 Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella to fund his expedition to the West Indies. Today in 1786 in Vienna, Austria, Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro was performed for the first time. Queen Victoria opened The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace on this day in 1851. The first international football match outside Great Britain was played by Belgium and France at Uccle, near Brussels, in 1904, the teams drew 3-3. Born on this day in 1914 Dutch javelin thrower Jaap van der Poll, he competed at the 1936 Olympics. He threw in the first round, but had to withdraw due to kidney stones. He commented on his Olympic appearance saying “I felt flattered that I was allowed into the Olympic Games. I was in my eyes only just started with that sport. My friends also said: Go! I made a sporting choice. When I returned I was again welcome to my Jewish friends. That was a comfort to me”. After the games Van der Poll left to work in the  Dutch West Indies and was later held as a Prisoner of War in Japan. He died on February 1, 2010.  Henri Pélissier, French racing cyclist from Paris and champion of the 1923 Tour de France, died on this day in 1935, aged 46. In addition to his 29 career victories, he was known for his long-standing feud with Tour founder Henri Desgrange and for protesting against the conditions endured by riders in the early years of the Tour. He was killed by his lover with the gun that his wife had used to commit suicide two years previously. On this day the 1940 Olympics were officially cancelled. Stirling Moss and co-driver Dennis Jenkinson became the first British winners of the Mille Miglia in 1955. In 1958 Barcelona won the first Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final, beating London 6-0 in the second leg. American jockey Steve Cauthen was born in 1960. After a successful career in the US, including partnering Triple Crown winner Affirmed in 1978, Cauthen came to England. He won his first of three jockey’s championships in 1984 and in the following year had his first success in the Epsom Derby, with Slip Anchor. Reference Point gave Cauthen his second victory in the race, in 1987. On this day in 1961 betting shops became legal in Britain. Billie Jean King acknowledged a lesbian relationship with Marilyn Barnett today in 1981, thereby becoming the first prominent sportswoman to ‘come out’.  Ben Lexcen, designer of Australia II, the first non-American yacht to win the America’s Cup (1983), died in 1988.  Today in 1994, the Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna was killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, near Bologna in Italy. He was just 34-years-old. His Williams FW16 Formula One car was travelling at a speed of 192 mph (309 km/h) when it ran wide at a curve and crashed into a concrete wall. Winner of 41 Grands Prix, Senna was considered the finest motor racing driver of his generation and was mourned by fans the world over. “This is the blackest day for Grand Prix racing that I can remember in the many, many years I have been covering the sport,” said veteran BBC sports commentator Murray Walker. Senna was well-known for his aggressive driving style. In 1989 he collided with French driver Alain Prost in the Japanese Grand Prix. He was disqualified and lost his title. The following year, the same thing happened and this time, Senna went on to win as Prost dropped out. Afterwards he told reporters: “Winning is like a drug. I cannot justify in any circumstances coming second or third.” Elizabeth Ann Hulette better known in professional wrestling circles as Miss Elizabeth or simply Elizabeth, was an American professional wrestling manager and occasional professional wrestler, died on this day in 2003 at the age of 42. She gained international fame from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s in the World Wrestling Federation, and the mid-1990s in World Championship Wrestling in her role as the manager to wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage, as well as other wrestlers of that period. She died as a result of a drug and alcohol overdose in the home she shared with wrestler Lex Luger.


2nd – On this day in 1536 Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, was arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft. Born on this day in 1859 Jerome K Jerome, English writer and humourist, best-known for the comic travelogue Three Men in a Boat (1887).  English/American ballroom dancer Vernon Castle was born today in 1887 in Norwich, England. Together with his wife Irene they were a husband-and-wife team who appeared on Broadway and in silent films early in the early 20th century. They are credited with reviving the popularity of modern dancing. The couple reached the peak of their popularity in Irving Berlin’s first Broadway show, Watch Your Step (1914), in which they refined and popularized the Foxtrot. They also helped to promote ragtime, jazz rhythms and African-American music for dance. Irene became a fashion icon through her appearances on stage and in early movies, and both Castles were in demand as teachers and writers on dance. After serving with distinction as a pilot in the British Royal Flying Corps during World War I, Vernon died in a plane crash on a flight training base in Texas in 1918. Irene continued to perform solo in Broadway, vaudeville and motion picture productions over the next decade. She remarried three times and became an animal-rights activist. In 1939, her life with Vernon was dramatized in The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. Dr Benjamin Spock was born on this day in 1903. Some 20 years before writing the best-selling Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946) Spock was a member of the US rowing eights gold medal team at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Albert Castelyns, also known as Albert Casteleyns, Belgian athlete was born today in 1917. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin he was part of the Belgian water polo team that won the bronze medal, he played five matches. In the 1950s Casteleyns competed in bobsleigh. Taking part in two Winter Olympics (1952 and 1956), he earned his best finish, sixth in the two-man event at Oslo in 1952.  On this day in 1952 the world’s first ever jet airliner begun its maiden flight from London to Johannesburg. Crowds cheered as the BOAC Comet G-ALYP took off from London airport at 1512 local time carrying 36 passengers. The De Havilland Comet 1 was regarded as a feather in the cap for British design and innovation and promised to usher in a new era of faster, smoother air travel. The plane’s sleek design incorporated four De Havilland Ghost 50 Mk1 engines inside the wing of the plane. The total journey of nearly 7,000 miles was expected to take just under 24 hours, allowing for five stops at Rome, Beirut, Khartoum, Entebbe and Livingstone. Stanley Matthews finally won an FA Cup winner’s medal in 1953 when Blackpool came from 3-1 behind to beat Bolton 4-3. Stan Mortensen became the third man, and the first in the 20th century, to score a hat-trick in a Cup final. Brian Lara international cricketer was born in 1969. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, topping the Test batting rankings on several occasions and holder of several cricketing records, including the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, with 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994, which is the only quintuple hundred in first-class cricket history. Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004. He is the only batsman to have ever scored a century, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class games over the course of a senior career. Lara also shares the test record of scoring the highest number of runs in a single over in a Test match, when he scored 28 runs off an over by Robin Peterson of South Africa in 2003 (matched in 2013 by Australia’s George Bailey) Also on this day in 1969 the British liner QEII deported in her maiden voyage to New York City. Today in 1970 saw Diane Crump became the first woman to ride at the Kentucky Derby.  Crump won the first race on the undercard that day, and then on a horse called Fathom, came in 15th in a 17-horse field in the Derby. She had caused some in 1969 when she became the first woman to compete as a professional jockey in a pari-mutuel race in the United States. She rode a horse named Bridle ‘n Bit at Hialeah Park Race Track. There was so much hostility to a woman riding in a horse race that she needed a police escort to get to the track, taking her through an angry crowd of shouting people. Crump ultimately finished 9th in the 12-horse race and returned to cheers of support. Two weeks later, she rode her first winning race. The crowd was just swarming all over me. They were crazy, up in arms. . The hecklers were yelling: ‘Go back to the kitchen and cook dinner.’ That was the mentality at the time. They thought I was going to be the downfall of the whole sport, which is such a medieval thought. I was like: ‘Come on people, this is the 1960s!’ The previous year, two women had been forced out of horse races they had entered after male jockeys threw rocks at the trailers the women had to use as locker rooms and threatened a boycott. The situation changed at Hialeah because the track officials threatened sanctions against the male jockeys. Snooker player jimmy White was born in 1962. Known as “The Whirlwind”, he was youngest-ever world amateur champion in 1980. British tennis professional Katie O’Brien was born in 1986.  She was briefly the British No. 1 tennis player and reached her career-high singles ranking of World No.84 in February 2010 and won four ITF singles titles and two ITF doubles titles. In 2007, she reached the second round at Wimbledon, by beating Sandra Klösel in the first round. She lost to the No.31 seed, Michaëlla Krajicek, in the second round. In 2010, she replicated this achievement by beating Patricia Mayr to reach the second round of the Australian Open where she fell to 8th seeded Jelena Janković.  Andy Gregory made history in 1992 as the first man to win seven Rugby League Challenge Cup winners’ medals when Wigan carried off the trophy for the fifth successive year. Today in 2016 Leicester City FC won the Premier League title after starting the season at 5000-1 odds.


3rd – On this day in 1830 the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway was opened; it was the first steam-hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel. The Swedish oceanographer Vagn Walfrid Ekman was born in 1874. During the expedition of the Fram, Fridtjof Nansen had observed that icebergs tend to drift not in the direction of the prevailing wind but at an angle of 20°-40° to the right. Bjerknes invited Ekman, still a student, to investigate the problem and, in 1905, Ekman published his theory of the Ekman spiral which explains the phenomenon in terms of the balance between frictional effects in the ocean and the Coriolis force, which arises from moving objects in a rotating environment in a similar fashion to planetary rotation. From 1910 to 1939 he continued his theoretical and experimental work at the University of Lund, where he was professor of mechanics and mathematical physics. He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1935. A gifted amateur bass singer, pianist, and composer, he continued working right up to his death in 1954.  Born in 1915, Canadian wrestler and promotor Stu Hart, who founded Stampede Wrestling based in Calgary. Hart has been referred to by multiple writers, including wrestling historian Dave Meltzer, as one of the most influential and important figures in pro wrestling history. His greatest contribution to the art was as a trainer. Along with sons Bret and Owen, his trainees included future world champions Fritz Von Erich, Superstar Billy Graham, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Mark Henry, Chris Benoit, and Jushin Thunder Liger. Hart was also well known for his involvement in over thirty charities, for which he was given a position in the Order of Canada, the second highest honour for merit that can be given in Canada. Ken Tyrrell was born today in 1924, the British Formula Two racing driver was also the founder of the Tyrrell Formula One construction company. Tyrrell served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. After the war he became a timber merchant; as a result, he was sometimes known as “Chopper”. In 1952, at 28, he began racing Norton-powered Cooper in Formula 3. In 1958, he advanced to Formula Two in a Cooper-Climax where he achieved a number of good placings and the occasional win. Realising, however, that he was not going to reach the top and recognising his talents were better suited to team management, Tyrrell stood down as a driver in 1959, and began to run works Cooper Formula Junior team using the woodshed owned by his family business, Tyrrell Brothers, as a workshop. By 1961, he was also managing theMini Coopers, as well as deputising for an injured John Cooper in Formula One. Tyrrell was responsible for discovering Jackie Stewart, whom he had race for his FJr team, after a test in 1963. Along with numerous lesser lights, he also approved Jody Scheckter and motorcycle racing ace John Surtees. Recognizing the value of the new Cosworth DFV, after a Lotus win at Zandvoort in its debut in 1967, with financial help from Elf, Dunlop, and Ford, Tyrrell achieved his dream of moving to Formula 1 in 1968, as team principal for Matra International, a joint-venture established between Tyrrell’s own team and the French auto manufacturer Matra. He persuaded them a DFV was good insurance against the failure of their own V12, and the Matra MS10 resulted. By the early 1980s, Tyrrell’s fortunes declined to the point where he had to run his team without sponsorship, but he still retained his eye for talent, bringing Michele Alboreto, Stefan Bellof and Martin Brundle to F1, but was not able to retain them. Without the proper funding, Tyrrell was the only entrant with the Cosworth DFV at a time when all other teams had switched to turbocharged engines. Alboreto scored the engine’s last win in 1983, but in 1984 the team was excluded from the championship after being found to have run underweight cars before adding ballast during pit stops. Tyrrell denied this and felt his team was being singled out for refusing to run more expensive turbos. In the early 1990s Tyrrell relinquished much of the company’s control to his sons and to Harvey Postlethwaite, who was the first to introduce the high-nose concept in the 1990 Tyrrell. Jean Alesi scored two-second places in the car, and the team led a lap for the last time. Their final podium finish was in 1994 from Mark Blundell, and their final points at the 1997 Monaco Grand Prix, with 5th position from Mika Salo. In 1997 the Tyrrell F1 team was bought by British American Tobacco and Craig Pollock to create British American Racing. Tyrrell did not stay with the team for its last year under the Tyrrell name (1998), after Pollock insisted on hiring Ricardo Rosset, whom Tyrrell regarded as inferior to the also-available Jos Verstappen. On 25 August 2001 Ken Tyrrell died of cancer at the age of 77. Sir Henry Cooper was born today in 1934, the English heavyweight boxer was known for the power of his left hook, “Enry’s ‘Ammer”, and his knockdown of the young Muhammad Ali.  Cooper held the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles several times throughout his career, and unsuccessfully challenged Ali for the world heavyweight championship in 1966. Following his retirement from the sport, Cooper continued his career as a television and radio personality and was enormously popular in Britain: he was the first (and is today one of just four people) to twice win the public vote for BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and is thus far the only boxer to be awarded a knighthood. Born in 1942, Věra Čáslavská, Czechoslovakian gymnast and Czech ports official. She won a total of 22 international titles between 1959 and 1968 including seven Olympic gold medals, four World titles and eleven European championships. Čáslavská is the most decorated Czech gymnast in history and is one of only two female gymnasts, along with Soviet Larisa Latynina, to win the all-around gold medal at two consecutive Olympics. In addition to her gymnastics success, Čáslavská was known for her outspoken support of the Czechoslovak democratization movement and her opposition to the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, she took this protest to the world stage by quietly looking down and away while the Soviet national anthem was played during the medal ceremonies for the balance beam and floor exercise.  While Čáslavská’s actions were applauded by her compatriots, they resulted in her becoming a persona non grata in the new regime. She was forced into retirement and for many years was denied the right to travel, work and attend sporting events. Čáslavská’s situation improved in the 1980s after the intervention of members of the International Olympic Committee, and following the Velvet Revolution her status improved dramatically. During the 1990s she held several positions of honour, including a term as President of the Czech Olympic Committee. Today in 1951 King George VI inaugurated the Festival of Britain and opened the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank. The festival had been organised to mark the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was intended to demonstrate Britain’s contribution to civilisation, past, present, and future, in the arts, in science and technology, and in industrial design. After a special service attended by the King, Queen Elizabeth, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and other senior members of the royal family, King George declared the festival open in a broadcast from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. Cheering and flag-waving crowds lined the route taken by the King and Queen to St Paul’s from Buckingham Palace. At Temple Bar the procession stopped for a traditional ceremony in which the King was offered the Pearl Sword of the City. The Lord Mayor of London, who enjoyed precedence “of every subject” within the boundaries of the City of London, surrendered his sword, thus indicating the precedence of the Sovereign. The King then returned the sword and the Lord Mayor led the procession on to St Paul’s. A 41-gun salute was fired at the Tower of London and Hyde Park. Later in the afternoon, the King and Queen attended a service of dedication led by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Royal Festival Hall. Designed by Sir Robert Matthew, Leslie Martin and Sir Hubert Bennett, it was built specially for the occasion on the south bank of the River Thames. Battersea Park was transformed into the Festival Gardens, laid out as a pleasure garden with a tree walk, fountains and a grotto. Exhibitions of art and design were held all over the country and 2,000 camp fires were lit across Britain during the evening. Kathryn Cook, née Smallwood, was born in 1960 and is regraded as one of the most successful female sprinters in British athletics history. She is a three-time Olympic bronze medallist, including at 400m in Los Angeles 1984. Her other individual achievements include winning the 200m at the 1981 Universiade, finishing second in the 100m at the 1981 World Cup, and winning bronze in the 200m at the 1983 World Championships. She is also a three-time winner of the British Athletics Writers’ Association Female Athlete of the Year Award (1980–82). Cook held the UK National records for 100m, 200m and 400m for over 25 years. Her 100m best of 11.10 secs, stood as the UK record from 1981–2008. Her 200m best of 22.10 secs, stood as the UK record from 1984-2015, she first brokenthe 200m record in 1979. Her 400m best of 49.43, stood as the UK record from 1984–2013, which she first claimed in 1982. In the sprint relay, along with Heather Hunte, Bev Goddard and Sonia Lannaman, she set the UK record with 42.43 at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which stood as the UK record until 2014. She is also a former holder of the World Best for 300m, running 35.46 in 1984. Cook remains the only British woman to have won a World Championship 200m medal and the only British athlete (male or female) to have reached Olympic finals at 100m, 200m and 400m. Her accomplishments are all the more significant because many of her rivals after the fall of the “Iron Curtain” were found to have been performing illegally. She retired in 1987, after competing at the UK Championships. James Baulch was born in 1973 in Nottingham but raised by adoptive parents in Risca, near Newport in Wales. The British sprint athlete and television presenter won 400m gold at the 1999 World Indoor Championships. As a member of British 4×400m relay teams, he won gold at the 1997 World Championships, and silver at the 1996 Olympic Games. He represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games where he won individual silver and bronze in the 4×400m relay. Baulch excelled as a trampolinist in his youth, and won a silver medal at the Welsh Schools Trampoline Championship in 1991. Baulch is mixed race, his biological parents being a white English mother and a black Jamaican father. In 2014 Baulch made a TV documentary for the BBC, Jamie Baulch: Looking For My Birth Mum, where he tracked down and was reunited with his birth mother. Katinka Hosszú, Hungarian competitive swimmer specializing in individual medley events was born in 1989. She is a three-time Olympic champion and a five-time long-course world champion. She is the world record holder in 100m individual medley, 200m individual medley (long course and short course), 400m individual medley (long course and short course), 100m backstroke (short course) and 200m backstroke (short course). She is the first swimmer to hold world records in all five individual medley events at the same time. She holds two-thirds of the Hungarian national records. Hosszu was named FINA Swimmer of the Year in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and won SwimSwam’s Swammy Award for Female Swimmer of the Year in 2013. She competed at four Summer Olympics: 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. She currently swims for the Vasas SC, under head coach Shane Tusup, who is also her husband. She is one of the most versatile swimmers in the world, and was nicknamed the “Iron Lady”, which she has since turned into a fast growing International brand. She is the first race-prize dollar millionaire in swimming history.


4th – On this day in 1626 American Indians sell Manhattan Island for $24 worth of cloth and buttons. The first Derby was run at Epsom in 1780. The name of the race was decided by a toss of the coin between the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury – the Epsom Bunbury would not have tripped off the tongue nearly so well. Bunbury had the consolation of seeing his horse, Diomed, ridden by Sam Arnull, win the race. On this day in 1859 the Cornwall Railway opened across the Royal Albert Bridge thereby linking Devon and Cornwall by rail.    English cricketer and administrator Ronald Aird was born in 1902. He played 136 first-class matches as a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium bowler for Cambridge University and Hampshire between 1920 and 1938. He was a good cricketer, but he will be remembered for his work at Lord’s for sixty years. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1926, following the promotion of W. Findlay to Secretary. He continued to serve under Colonel Rait Kerr, until his eventual appointment as Secretary in 1952. He retired in 1962 and continued to serve the club as President (1968–1969), Trustee (1971–1983) and as a Life Vice-President (1983–1986). He died at his home in Yapton, Sussex following a long illness aged 84 in 1986. Born today in 1908 was German decathlete Wolrad Eberle, who won bronze at the 1932 Olympics in LA. The 8th Olympic Games opened in Paris today in 1924.  Betsy Rawls, American former LPGA Tour professional golfer was born in 1928.  She won eight major championship and 55 LPGA Tour career events. She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 1949 almost the entire Italian football team, Torino FC, were killed in a plane crash. Two players did not make the trip: Sauro Tomà, due to an injury and Renato Gandolfi, because of coach request.  On this day in 1961 Malcolm Ross and Victor Prather attained a new altitude record for a manned balloon flight, ascending in the Strato-Lab V open gondola to 113,740 feet (34.67km).  South African golfer Jackie Mercer won her 4th golf title today in 1979– 31 years to the day after she won her first. On the same day that Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minster of Great Britain. Sarah Meier, the Swiss figure skater was born in 1984. She is the 2011 European champion, a two-time European silver medallist (2007 & 2008), the 2006 Grand Prix Final bronze medallist, and an eight-time Swiss national champion (2000–2001, 2003, 2005–2008, 2010). American tennis player Irina Falconi was born in 1990 in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Her highest WTA singles ranking is World No. 64, which she reached in September 2015. Her career high in doubles is World No. 70, which she reached in June 2013. Falconi played college tennis at Georgia Tech where she was a 2x ITA All-American. Today in 2010 an auction at Christie’s in New York sets a record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction when it sells Pablo Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ for $106 million. In 2013 Harper Lee, author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, faces a court battle in a lawsuit claiming a literary agent tricked her into giving up the copyright to her world-famous book. Also on the same day American boxer Floyd Mayweather defeats Robert Guerrero and retains his WBC Welterweight title in a unanimous decision.


5th – Today in 1809 Mary Kies became the first woman awarded a US patent, for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread. South African cricketer Herbert Wilfred Taylor was born in 1889, he played 42 Tests for his country including 18 as captain of the side. Specifically   batsman, he was an expert on the matting pitches which were prevalent in South Africa at the time and scored six of his seven centuries at home. His batting was also noted for quick footwork and exceptional ‘backplay’.He became the first South African to pass 2500 Test runs and was selected one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1925. In domestic cricket, he played for Natal, Transvaal and Western Province. Taylor’s greatest achievement is generally reckoned to be scoring 508 runs at an average of 50.80 in the 1913–14 Test series against England, in spite of English bowler Sydney Barnes taking a record 49 wickets in the series at 10.93. The cricket historian H.S. Altham wrote: “The English cricketers were unanimous that finer batting than his against Barnes at his best they never hoped to see.” Neville Cardus noted it was “perhaps the most skilful of all Test performances by a batsman.” It also led Cardus to count Taylor as “one of the six greatest batsmen of the post-Grace period”.  On this day in 1891 The Music Hall in New York City (later known as Carnegie Hall) had its grand opening and first public performance, with Tchaikovsky as the guest conductor. Britain’s most successful jockey Sir Gordon Richards was born in 1904. He rode 4870 winners, including 14 Classic winners. Victory in the Derby came late in his career, after 27 failures. Days after receiving his knighthood from Her Majesty the Queen, in 1953, he rode 5-1 favourite Pinza to a four lengths win over the Queen’s horse, Aureole.  He rode 200 winners in a season a record 12 times and was champion jockey 26 times between 1925 and 1953. The 5th Olympic Games were opened on this day at Stockholm in 1912. In 1928 Everton forward ‘Dixie’ Dean went into the last match of the season, against Arsenal at Goodison Park, requiring three goals to beat George Camsell’s record of 59 League goals in one season. His third goal came in the 82nd minute when Dean rose to meet a corner and headed it into the net. The game ended 3-3, but Dean set a new record. Igor Kashkarov, Soviet high jumper was born in 1933. He competed for the USSR in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where he won the bronze medal. Today in 1935 Jesse Owens set a new long jump record of 26ft 8½in. Canadian pairs skater Barbara Wagner was born in 1938, teamed with Robert Paul in 1952 they became the 1960 Olympic champions, four-time World champions, and five-time Canadian national champions. After retiring from competition, the pair toured with Ice Capades. She currently lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, and coaches figure skating at the Alpharetta Family Skate Centre, the Cooler, and is a member of the Atlanta Figure Skating Club. Bella Hage, commonly known by her married name Bella van der Spiegel-Hage, was born in 1948. She is a Dutch former professional cyclist from Sint-Maartensdijk, in the province of Zeeland. She comes from a family of cyclists and is the sister of Keetie Hage, Heleen Hage and Ciska Hage, and aunt to Jan van Velzen. She won the Dutch National Road Race Championships in three successive years between 1966 and 1968 and was placed third in 19710 and runner up in both 1972 and 1978. Spaniard Jorge Llopart was born in 1952, best known as a race walker. He competed in the 50km event at the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympics and won a silver medal in 1980, he was also European champion in 1978. The 1954 Rugby League Challenge Cup final reply between Warrington and Halifax attached a then world’s biggest rugby league crowd, 102,569, to the Odsal Stadium in Bradford.  James Cracknell was born in 1972, the British athlete, rowing champion and double Olympic gold medalist was appointed OBE for “services to sport” in the 2005 New Year Honours List. He formerly trained as a geography teacher, which was revealed in an episode of the BBC comedy quiz School’s Out. On 20 July 2010, Cracknell suffered a hit from behind by a petrol tanker whilst cycling during an attempt to cycle, row, run and swim from Los Angeles to New York within 18 days. The accident happened at around 5.30am on a quiet stretch of road outside Winslow, Arizona. He has attributed his survival to the fact he was wearing a cycle helmet at the time, which was “shorn in two”. In the crash he suffered a contrecoup injury to the frontal lobes of his brain.In 2012 Cracknell and his wife wrote Touching Distance about his life before and after his brain injury, which has left him with epilepsy and a changed personality, including a short temper. Since the accident he has been conspicuous in advocating the use of bicycle helmets. The Belgian sprint canoeist Wouter D’Haene was born in 1982 and mainly competed in the mid-2000s. He won a silver medal in the K-2 1000m at the 2003 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Gainesville. D’Haene also finished fifth in the K-2 1000m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In 2005 he finished fourth in the K2 1000m at the world Championship in Zagreb and was ninth in Szeged a year later. After 2007 he started paddling in the K1. He reached the final of the 2008 European Championships in Milan and finished seventh and thus qualified for the Olympics in Beijing. He could not compete however because the Belgian Olympic Federation did not want to take part. In 2009 he was sixth in the Europeans at Brandenburg in the K1 1000m. Gino Bartali, Italian champion road cyclist, nicknamed Gino the Pious died in today in 2000 aged 85. He was the most renowned Italian cyclist before the Second World War, having won the Giro d’Italia twice (1936, 1937) and the Tour de France in 1938. After the war he added two other victories in both events: the Giro d’Italia in 1946 and the Tour de France in 1948. His second and last Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest gap between victories in the race. Bartali also earned respect for his work in helping Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during the time of the Italian Social Republic. It emerged in December 2010 that Bartali had hidden a Jewish family in his cellar and, according to one of the survivors, by doing so saved their lives. He used his fame to carry messages and documents to the Italian Resistance, cycling from Florence through Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche, sometimes traveling as far afield as Rome, all the while wearing the racing jersey emblazoned with his name. Neither the Fascist police nor the German troops risked discontent by arresting him. In 1943, he led Jewish refugees towards the Swiss Alps, pulling a wagon behind his bike, with a secret compartment, telling patrols it was just part of his training. In 2013, Yad Vashem awarded Gino Bartali the honour Righteous Among the Nations and he is a central figure in the 2014 documentary My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes.


6thAmerica’s best known horse race, the Kentucky Derby, was first run in 1875.  The event is traditionally run over 1.25 miles (2km) at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in April. The inaugural winner was Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis.  Today in 1889 The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris. The first 4-minute mile was run today in 1954 by 25-year-old British medical student Roger Bannister. His time of 3mins 59.4 seconds was achieved at the Iffley Road track in Oxford and watched by about 3,000 spectators. Bannister, once president of the Oxford club, was running for the Amateur Athletic Association against his old university during their annual match. The race was carefully planned and he was aided by two pacemakers, Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway. Brasher took the lead as the first pacemaker, Bannister slotted in behind, with Chataway in third place. When Brasher began to feel the strain, Bannister signalled for Chataway to take over. Just over 200yds from the finish, Bannister took the lead with a final burst of energy. He sprinted to the line in record time and fell exhausted into the arms of a friend, the Rev Nicholas Stacey. Pandemonium broke out when spectators heard news that Bannister had officially beaten the four-minute mile. He had prepared for the race the previous week at Paddington Green in London in high winds. The weather at Iffley Road was not ideal for record-breaking – a 15mph crosswind with gusts of up to 25mph meant that Bannister nearly called off the attempt. Bannister beat his main rival to the record – Australian athlete John Landy. Both had run quite close to the time but the magic number four had proved elusive until now. Lyudmila Andonova, Bulgarian high jumper was born in 1960. She set the women’s world record in the high jump on July 20, 1984 in East Berlin, clearing 2.07m. In 1985 she was suspended for amphetamine doping. Andonova competed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, finishing in fifth place with 1.93m alongside Romania’s Galina Astafei. She is married to Bulgarian decathlete Atanas Andonov. Soviet decathlete Oleksandr Apaychev was born today in 1961, his personal best of 8709 points is the current Ukrainian record and ranks 16th on the world all-time list. He was second at the 1986 Goodwill Games and competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics, but failed to finish due to a leg infection. In 2009 he was named as head coach of Ukraine’s national athletics team. Daniela Bártová-Břečková, Czech athlete was born in 1974 in Ostrava. Originally a gymnast, her coach persuaded her to be a pole vaulter. She set nine world records in the mid-1990s, but she lost it on 4 November 1995 to Sun Caiyun and was unable to recapture it. Her personal best is 4.51m was set in Bratislava on the 9 June 1998. Despite her success she only won one international medal, silver at the 1998 European Indoor Championships. As a gymnast, she represented the Czech Republic at the 1991 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, coming 33rd in the all-around event; she also took part in the all-around team event at the 1992 Summer Olympics. She is married to flatwater canoer Jan Břečka. Dominika Navara Cibulková, Slovak tennis player, was born in 1989, currently ranked world No. 4 by the Women’s Tennis Association.  Known for her quick and aggressive style of play, she has won eight WTA singles titles and two on the International Tennis Federation tour. Cibulková has reached the quarterfinals or better of all four Grand Slam tournaments. One of the most notable achievements of her career to date was a finals appearance at the 2014 Australian Open, when she became the first female Slovak to reach the championship round of a Grand Slam.  She also won the WTA Finals in 2016, becoming the fourth player (after Serena Williams in 2001, Maria Sharapova in 2004 and Petra Kvitová in 2011) to win the tournament on debut. Saint Lucian swimmer Danielle Beaubrun was born in 1990. In 2006, Beaubrun represented Saint Lucia in the Commonwealth Games where she reached the 100m breaststroke semi-finals.In the 2007 she was the only Saint Lucian swimmer to make qualifying times for the Pan American Games 2, where she set a new St.Lucian Record for 100m  breaststroke.  She swam for Saint Lucia at the 2008 Olympic Games, where she was the youngest member of the country’s Olympic team. Today in 1994 the Queen and France’s President Francois Mitterrand formally opened the Channel Tunnel during two elaborate ceremonies in France and Britain. After travelling through the tunnel, which took eight years and billions of pounds to build, the Queen said it was one of the world’s great technological achievements. The tunnel is the first land link between Britain and Europe since the last Ice Age about 8,000 years ago. The first leg of the Queen’s journey took her from London’s Waterloo station through the tunnel by high-speed Eurostar passenger train. She arrived at Calais at the same time as the President Mitterrand’s train which had travelled from Paris’ Gard du Nord via Lille. The two locomotives met nose to nose – a computer that prevents two trains travelling on the same track was switched off for the occasion. The two heads of state cut red, white and blue ribbons simultaneously to the sound of their respective national anthems played by the band of the French Republican Guard. They were accompanied by their Prime Ministers John Major and Edouard Balladur and other government ministers to the Eurotunnel terminus. Eurostar would not start carrying passengers until July at the earliest and private cars would have to wait until October. After lunch, the Queen and President Mitterrand took the royal Rolls-Royce on Le Shuttle for the 35-minute trip to Folkestone. There was a similar ribbon-cutting ceremony on English soil. Among those present were joint Eurotunnel chairmen Sir Alastair Morton and André Bénard as well as Frenchman Philippe Cozette, who drilled the hole that first joined the two ends of the tunnel in December 1990. American professional boxer Jimmy Ellis died on this day in 2014 aged 74. He mainly competed from 1961 to 1975 and won the vacant WBA heavyweight title in 1968 by defeating Jerry Quarry, making one successful title defence in the same year against Floyd Patterson, before losing to Joe Frazier in 1970.


7thOn this day in 1824 saw the World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna. The performance was conducted by Michael Umlauf under the composer’s supervision. In 1846 The Cambridge Chronicle, America’s oldest surviving weekly newspaper is published for the first time in Cambridge, Massachusetts. British tennis and badminton player Kathleen “Kitty” McKane Godfree was born today in 1896.  According to A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Godfree was ranked in the world top ten from 1921 (when the rankings began) through to 1927, reaching a career high of World No. 2 in those rankings in 1923, 1924, and 1926. Godfree won five Olympic medals in tennis at the 1920 Antwerp and 1924 Paris games, the most Olympic medals ever won by a tennis player until Venus Williams matched this record at the 2016 Olympics Games. In 1923 she captured the title at the World Covered Court Championships. Godfree won the Wimbledon singles title twice. In the 1924 final, she recovered from a set and 4–1 (40–15) down against Helen Wills Moody to win the title. In the 1926 final, Godfree came back from a 3–1 and game-point-against in the third set to defeat Lili de Alvarez. The 1924 Wimbledon final was not Godfree’s only victory over Moody, during the 1924 Wightman Cup she won 6–2, 6–2.  In 1925, Godfree became the first person to have reached the singles finals of the French Championships, Wimbledon, and U.S. Championships during her career.In 1922, Kitty and her sister Margaret McKane Stocks were the only sisters to contest a Wimbledon doubles final (until Serena and Venus Williams reached the final in 2000), losing to Suzanne Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan 6–0, 6–4. Godfree’s lifetime record at Wimbledon was 38–11 in singles, 33–12 in women’s doubles, and 40–12 in mixed doubles. She received a Centenary medallion on Wimbledon’s Centre Court in 1977 and presented the winner’s trophy to Martina Navratilova in 1986, in honour of the centenary year of play at Wimbledon; she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978. In badminton, Godfree won eight All England Open Badminton Championships from 1920 to 1925, considered the unofficial World Badminton Championships until 1977. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1988 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews. She died in 1962 aged 96. Jimmy Ball the Canadian Olympic sprinter was born in 1903. He competed at the 1928 and 1932 Olympics, winning bronze in the 4×400m relay at both Games. Individually, he finished second in the 400m in 1928 and was eliminated in the heats in 1932. At the 1930 Empire Games he won a silver medal with the Canadian team in the 4×440yds relay. He also finished fifth in the 220yds and 440yds. Scottish and East African rugby football player William Brewitt (WB) Young was born in Ardrossan in 1916. He was capped ten times for Scotland between 1937 and 1948 and three times for East Africa between 1949 and 1950. Along with Maurice Daly of Ireland he is one of only two people to have been capped by a major rugby playing nation and by East Africa.Along with W C W Murdoch, he was one of only two Scottish players to be capped on either side of World War II, giving him one of the longest international careers on record. John “Jack” Heatonand Thomas Arthur “Tommy” Kempalso achieved this feat for England. Born in 1921, Gaston Rébuffat a well-known French alpinist and mountain guide. The climbing technique, to gaston, was named after him. Rébuffat began climbing in the Calanques becoming a mountain guide in 1942. He rose to international prominence in 1950 as one of the four principals of a French expedition during the first ascent of Annapurna, the highest peak then summitted. His most famous mountaineering feat was to be the first man to climb all six of the great north faces of the Alps—the Grandes Jorasses, the Piz Badile, the Petit Dru, the Matterhorn, the Cima Grande di Lavaredo, and the Eiger. His insistence on seeing a climb as an act of harmonious communion with the mountain, not a battle waged against it, seemed radical at the time, though Rébuffat’s aesthetic has since won the day. He put up more than 40 new routes in the Alps. A photo of him climbing in the French Alps is one of 116 pictures included as part of the Golden Record on the Voyager Spacecraft. A long-time Honorary Member of the American Alpine Club and Officer of the French Legion of Honour, he died of cancer in Paris in 1985 aged 64. Today in 1951 the IOC officially allowed Russia to participate in the 1952 Olympics.  Florenţa Crăciunescu, later Ionescu, and then Ţacu, was born in 1955, she was a Romanian athlete, who won discus bronze at the 1984 Olympics and finished sixth in 1980. In 1984 she was eighth in the shot put. Her elder sister Carmen Ionesco competed in the same events for Canada at the 1984 Olympics. Florian Schwarthoff, the German sprint hurdler, was born in 1968. He is best known for winning bronze at the 1996 Olympics. Schwarthoff had his best season in 1995 when he set a new German record of 13.05s. He was expected to compete for a silver or bronze medal at the World Championships in Gothenburg behind the overwhelming favourite Allen Johnson from the United States. However, Schwarthoff did not finish the semi-final as he fell over a hurdle. Schwarthoff remained for several years a world class hurdler but never won a gold medal. Severiano “Seve” Ballesteros Sota died of brain cancer today in 2011 at the age of 54. A Spanish professional golfer and World No. 1 who was one of the sport’s leading figures from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, he came from  a gifted golfing family and won more than 90 international tournaments in his career, including five major championships between 1979 and 1988: The Open Championship three times, and the Masters Tournament twice. He gained attention in the golfing world in 1976, when at the age of 19 he finished second at The Open. He played a leading role in the re-emergence of European golf, helping the European Ryder Cup team to five wins both as a player and captain. He won the World Match Play Championship a record-tying five times. He is generally regarded as the greatest Continental European golfer of all time. Ballesteros won a record 50 European Tour titles, winning at least one European Tour title for 17 consecutive years between 1976 and 1992. His final victory was at the 1995 Peugeot Spanish Open. Largely because of back-related injuries, Ballesteros struggled with form during the late 1990s. Despite this, he continued to be involved in golf, creating the Seve Trophy and running a golf course design business. Ballesteros eventually retired from competitive golf in 2007 because of continued poor form. In 2008 he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. Ballesteros was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for the second time at the BBC Sports Personality Awards 2009. He was presented with the award at his home in Spain by his compatriot and former Ryder Cup team-mate José María Olazábal.