20thOn this day in 1872 The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City. In 1877 Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake receives its premiere at the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass died on this day in 1895 – anyone told Trump? Born on this day in 1910 Russian ballet dancer, director and choreographer Konstantin Sergeyev. He was the artistic director and choreographer for the Kirov Theatre and taught at the Leningrad State Choreographic Institute. He was married firstly to prima ballerina Feya Balabina  and then Natalia Dudinskaya, also a prima ballerina. Galina Ulanova was his partner between 1930 and 1940. Sergeyev and Ulanova were the first to dance Romeo and Juliet in Sergey Prokofiev’s ballet of the same name. Sergeyev was named a People’s Artist of the USSR in 1957 and a Hero of Socialist Labour in 1991. He was the recipient of four Stalin Prizes, he passed away on 1st April 1992. Jimmy Greaves, prolific English goal scorer, was born on this day in 1940. He started his career at Chelsea as a 17 year-old and scored on his debut for the club and subsequently in every major competition he played in. He is England’s fourth highest international goal scorer (44 goals), Tottenham Hotspur’s highest ever goal scorer (266 goals), the highest goal scorer in the history of English top-flight football (357 goals), and has also scored more hat-tricks (six) for England than anyone else. He finished as the First Division’s top scorer in six seasons. He was a member of the 1966 England World Cup squad, but not picked to play in the final. After spells at Spurs, West Ham and AC Milan he retired and later, after overcoming alcoholism, enjoyed a successful career in journalism and broadcasting. He popularised the phrase ‘Funny ‘ole game’.   The Shell Trophy cricket match between Wellington and Canterbury at Christchurch in 1990 was bizarre to say the least. In a deliberate attempt to give away runs in order to force a result, Wellington bowler Bert Vance delivered 17 no-balls in the penultimate over. The umpire inadvertently counted the number of legitimate balls, only five of which were delivered. The 22-ball over resulted in 77 runs being scored, 69 of them from the bat of wicket-keeper Lee Germon. A further 17 runs were scored off the last over. Canterbury faced the last ball needing just one run for victory, but the batsman offered no stroke and the match was drawn. Wellington still went on to win the Shell Trophy. On this day in 1998 American figure skater Tara Lipinski became, at the age of 15 years, 8 months and 10 days, the youngest gold medallist in Winter Olympic history when she won the ladies figure staking title at Nagano in Japan. Two years earlier in late 1996, at the U.S. Postal Challenge, Lipinski became the first female skater to land a triple loop/triple loop jump combination, which became her signature element. In early 1997 she unexpectedly won the U.S. Championships and, at 14, became the youngest person to win the title ahead of Sonya Klopfer who won it in 1951 at the age of 15.  Lipinski also won the 1997 Champion Series Final, again becoming the youngest female ever to win the title. She went on to win the World Championships, again becoming the youngest person to win the title. The gaming world mourned as Kenji Eno died today in 2013, aged just 42. He was a Japanese musician and video game designer who gained a reputation as a maverick during the mid-1990s for creating unorthodox games like Real Sound and is perhaps best remembered today for his rebellious marketing techniques. Outside of his native home land he was best known for his survival horror video games, the D series and Enemy Zero. Apart from creating video games, Eno was also a well-regarded electronic musician and he created the scores for several of his games. During his life, Eno founded the video game development companies: EIM, Ltd., WARP (later transformed into SuperWARP), and From Yellow to Orange. He also worked in a variety of fields apart from video games and music including the automotive, mobile phone, tobacco, and hotel industries.


21stOn this day in 1896 – An Englishman raised in Australia, Bob Fitzsimmons, fought an Irishman, Peter Maher, in an American promoted event which technically took place in Mexico, winning the 1896 World Heavyweight Championship in boxing. Today in 1907, the poet W H Auden was born. Wystan Hugh Auden, who died aged 66 in Vienna was best known for love poems such as “Funeral Blues,” poems on political and social themes such as “September 1, 1939” and “The Shield of Achilles,” poems on cultural and psychological themes such as The Age of Anxiety, and poems on religious themes such as “For the Time Being” and “Horae Canonicae. He was born in York, grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family. He attended English independent schools and studied English at Christ Church, Oxford. After a few months in Berlin in 1928–29 he spent five years (1930–35) teaching in English public schools, then travelled to Iceland and China in order to write books about his journeys. In 1939 he moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1946. He taught from 1941 to 1945 in American universities, followed by occasional visiting professorships in the 1950s. From 1947 to 1957 he wintered in New York and summered in Ischia; from 1958 until the end of his life he wintered in New York (in Oxford in 1972–73) and summered in Kirchstetten, Austria. Public recognition of Auden’s work sharply increased after his “Funeral Blues” more commonly referred to as “Stop all the clocks” was read aloud in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral  in 1994 and subsequently, a pamphlet edition of ten of his poems, Tell Me the Truth About Love, sold more than 275,000 copies. After the Twin Towers attack on 11 September 2001 his 1939 poem “September 1, 1939” was widely circulated and frequently broadcast.  Public readings and broadcast tributes in the UK and USA in 2007 marked his centenary year. On this day in 1925 The New Yorker magazine made its debut. Edwin H Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds, on this day in 1925. Eric Liddell, Scottish athlete, rugby union international player, and missionary, who chose his religious beliefs over competing in an Olympic race held on a Sunday died on this day in 1945. At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Liddell refused to run in the heats for his favoured 100m because they were held on a Sunday. Instead he competed in the 400m held on a weekday, a race that he won. He returned to China in 1925 to serve as a missionary teacher. Aside from two furloughs in Scotland, he remained in China until his death in a Japanese civilian internment camp. In 1952 Dick Button performs the first figure skating triple jump in completion. One of the best known of the famous ‘Busby Babes’, Duncan Edwards, died in 1958 aged 21. The brightest prospect in English football, Edwards had made his international debut at 18. He was a member of the great Manchester United team decimated in the Munich Air Disaster. Edwards clung onto life for two weeks after the crash before eventually succumbing. Today in 1976 was a red letter day for Liechtenstein when their skier Hanni Wenzel won the country’s first Olympic medal, a bronze, in the giant slalom. At the next Games in Lake Placid in 1980 she went three better, winning gold medals in the slalom and giant slalom, and just missed out on a sweep by taking the silver in the downhill at Whiteface Mountain. Today in 1983 Donald A Davis of America ran a World Record for the mile in 6:0 7.1. Hang on I hear you cry!! OK, OK, so the mile was run backwards. Davis executed this feat at the University of Hawaii, however this was bettered on July 18th 2004 when German athlete Thomas Dold set a new mark of 5:46.59 at Meßkirch in Germany Playing in the Indian national snooker championship in 1988, Geet Sethi became the first amateur to register an official maximum 147 break in a tournament. Chicago stockbroker Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Canada in 1995.


22ndAustrian motor-racing driver Niki Lauda was born today in 1949. He won his first world title with Ferrari in 1975. Only an horrific accident in the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring in August 1976, which left him with severe facial burns and lung damage, prevented a second successive title. He regained his world crown from James Hunt a year later. He came out of retirement to win his third title with McLaren in 1984. On this day in 1955 one of American tennis star Maureen Little Mo” Connolly announced she was to retire from the sport after a horse-riding accident. Maureen Connolly’s tennis career began at the age of 10 on the municipal courts of San Diego. Her first coach Wilbur Folsom encouraged her to switch from left-handed to right and she soon became a baseline specialist with an especially strong backhand. She earned her nickname “Little Mo” from the sportswriters who likened her explosiveness on court to the battleship USS Missouri, known as “Big Mo”, which was based in her home town. She has won the women’s title at Wimbledon for the past three consecutive years, in 1952, 1953 and 1954. At 16, she became the youngest woman player to win the US national singles. In 1953 she became the first woman tennis player ever to complete the Grand Slam, taking the US National Women’s title at Forest Springs, New York to add to her Wimbledon, French and Australian o Open titles. Last July (1954), she broke her leg in a horse riding accident just a few weeks before she was due to defend her US title. Although she planned to return to tennis, she had recently realised she would never regain her previous form. She was back at Wimbledon in July 1955 reporting for her local newspaper. In an interview for the BBC’s Panorama, she said her life as a housewife and journalist was keeping her too busy to miss playing tennis. She set up the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation to encourage the development of young players in her home state of Texas. The Foundation has since expanded and now runs competitions for young players worldwide. She was elected to the National Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame in 1968. The following year she was diagnosed with cancer and died, aged 34. One of her daughters, Cindy Brinker Simmons, set up a charity, Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, in memory of her mother. Her record as youngest Grand Slam winner was beaten by American Tracey Austin in 1979, when she was just three months short of her 17th birthday. The second round Scottish FA Cup tie between Inverness Thistle and Falkirk was played on this day in 1979 – at last! It had been postponed a (British) record 29 times because of bad weather. The USA Ice Hockey Team beat the Soviets in a stunning 4-3 upset at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid on this day in 1980. The Americans went on the claim the gold medal. On this day in 1998 the 18th Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, came to a close. Atje Keulen-Deelstra, the Dutch speed skater, who was a four-time World All-round Champion between the age of 32 and 36, died on this day in 2013. As a teenager she did gymnastics, athletics and basketball, but finally chose speed skating.  By the age of 16, she had already won a junior title of Friesland and several cash prizes in the Netherlands. When the Thialf arena opened in 1967 in Heerenveen, Keulen-Deelstra went there to work on her comeback after having married and had a family. She quickly made much progress, but she was told over and over again that she was too old. Not a member of the Dutch speed skating team, she won the Dutch All-round Championships in 1970 at the age of 32, beating Dutch skating team members such as Ans Schut and multiple world champion Stien Kaiser. That same year, she became World All-round Champion. More successes soon followed when in 1972, she became Dutch, European, and World All-round Champion, a feat she then repeated the following two years (1973 and 1974). In addition, at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, she won one silver and two bronze medals. In 1975 she switched to marathon skating and she became Dutch Champion in that discipline five times. She won her last Dutch Marathon Championships title in 1980 when she was 42 years old. In 1997, just a few weeks after having been injured in a traffic accident, Keulen-Deelstra participated in the Elfstedentocht. She died of a cerebral infarction. In the 1980s and early 1990s, her daughter Boukje Keulen (born 2 December 1963) also was a successful skater. Like her mother, Boukje went from short track through long track (“regular”) to marathon speed skating.


23rd – In 1874 Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented his game of ‘Sphairistiké’, which later became known as lawn tennis. In the foyer of the Lawn Tennis Association there is a statue to the Welshman with the simple statement: “Inventor of Lawn Tennis”. It is a title that still provokes debate among sports historians. During the late 19th century there was a growing demand to develop gentle outdoor activities and games for the middle-classes, and, with this in mind, Wingfield set about devising games to meet this need and Sphairistiké was the result, taking the name from the Greek world ‘sphairos’ meaning ball. His friends were not keen on the game’s original name. Arthur Balfour, who would later become prime minister, suggested “lawn tennis” and Wingfield later added “or lawn tennis” to the title of his eight-page instruction booklet. It is often said that Wingfield first demonstrated the game at a Christmas party held in 1873 at Nant Clwyd, a Denbighshire country house, but this version of the game would be pretty near the final form. In 1869 Wingfield had shown the game to his friend Lord Landsdowne, although it was not until 1874 that he actually applied for a patent for the game that he devised. Originally Wingfield’s lawn tennis court was an hour-glass shape which may have been adopted for patent reasons as it set it apart from the more familiar rectangular courts. Sets of equipment to play Sphairistiké were manufactured and the game became quite popular. Within the first year over 1,000 sets were sold at a price of five guineas. However, other versions of lawn tennis were played before Wingfield began demonstrating his take on the game. Another major, called Harry Gem, and his Spanish friend JB Perera, were developing the game that they had had named ‘pelota’, which they later changed to ‘lawn rackets’. In 1872, they set up the Leamington Lawn Tennis Club, later publishing the Rules df Tennis. Wingfield may not have been the first to create a game called lawn tennis but it is generally felt that he was the man who first popularised the sport. Harold Horder, Australian rugby league player was born on this day in 1894. A national and state representative player whose club career was with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Sydney Bears between 1912 and 1924. Regarded as one of the greatest wingers to play the game, from 1924 until 1973 his 152 career tries was the NSWRFL record. Horder played 86 games for Souths between 1912–1919 and 1924, 9 games for New South Wales, 13 Test matches for Australia. After following his brother Clarence “Spot” Horder to South Sydney, Harold in his first game, stepped and swerved through the entire Glebe team in a 90-metre dash to score one of the greatest individual tries in rugby league history. He went on to be the NSW Rugby Football League’s top try-scorer in 1913, 1914 and 1917 and for each of the four seasons 1913, 1914, 1918 and 1922 he was the League’s top point scorer. The Gregory’s reference records that in the 1912 City Cup-tie against Glebe, Harold induced the Souths selectors to name his relatively inexperienced brother Clarrie in the side, While Glebe was concentrating on Harold, Clarrie cut holes in the defence and Souths won 30-5. Horder was selected to make his debut for Australia during the 1914 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand. He was selected to go on the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain. He also scored a double in Norths’ 1922 grand final win. He scored 102 tries for South Sydney and 50 tries for North Sydney. In his final season at Souths he became the first player to score 150 tries in NSWRFL history. In 1918 he overtook Dally Messenger’s record for the most points scored in an NSWRFL career (379); Horder’s eventual total of 758 stood as the new career record for nine seasons until it was bettered by Arthur Oxford in 1927. in 1925 moved to Brisbane rugby league club Coorparoo as their captain coach for two seasons after leaving Souths. He appeared in an Australian film In the Last Stride (1916). Pakistan wicketkeeper Wasim Bari caught seven New Zealand batsmen during the Auckland Test match in 1979, a Test record which England’s Bob Taylor equalled a year later. On this day in 1980 the 13th Winter Olympic Games were closed at Lake Placid NY. Today the 22nd Winter Olympic Games closed at Sochi, Russia in 2014. On this last day of the competitions, Canada beat Sweden in men’s hockey, keeping Canada as the reigning gold medal winner in two consecutive Winter Games


24th Brian Close, the youngest Test cricketer to represent England at 18 years and 149 days was born today in 1931. He made such an impact in his first season of 1949 that he also did the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets (bowling seamers and offspin) in a first-class season, again the youngest ever. He spent most of his career at Somerset and was still playing for England in 1976 at the age of 45. Scottish international footballer Dennis Law was born on this day in 1940. He scored a then record 30 goals for his country in 55 appearances. At club level he played for Huddersfield Town and Manchester City before moving to Italy. On his return he joined City’s local rivals Manchester United. Ironically he ended his career at City, with his last kick in first-class football, in 1974, effectively relegated Manchester United to the second division. Alain Prost, the first Frenchman to win the World motor-racing title, was born in 1955. He won the world title with McLaren in 1985, retained it the following year and in 1989 won it a third time, also in a McLaren. He failed to find a drive in 1992 and spent the season out of the sport. He returned in 1993 as No 1 driver for Williams. In 1993 he became the first man to win 50 formula one races. The European Soccer Championship qualifier between Scotland and England at Hampden Park in 1968 drew a crowd of 134,461, an attendance record at the time for the championship. Today at the Winter Olympics in 1980, the United States Hockey team completed the so called Miracle in Ice by defeating Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal. In 1988 the Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen became the Winter Olympics first triple gold medalist and along with Yvonne van Gennip of the Netherlands, the most successful athlete at that event. Nykänen is the only ski jumper in history to have won all five of the sport’s major competitions: a gold medal in the Winter Olympics (three times), the Ski Jumping World Championships (once), the Ski Flying World Championships (once), four overall World Cup titles, and the Four Hills Tournament (twice). Since the 1990s, his status as a celebrity has mainly been fuelled, not by his sporting achievements, but instead by his colourful personal relationships, his career as a singer, and various incidents often related to heavy use of alcohol and violent behaviour. He was sentenced to jail for 26 months following a stabbing incident in 2004, and again for 16 months after aggravated assault on his wife in 2009. In 1993 the former England football captain Bobby Moore died of cancer aged 51. Today in 2002 the 19th Olympic Games closed at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Aggie Allen, Baseball pitcher and outfielder who played from 1950 to 1953 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League died on this day in 2012 aged 81. Born in Alvord, Iowa, Agnes Allen was one of five children, she was taught by her father to throw a baseball at an early age, and they played catch almost every day. As a teenager, she accustomed to play baseball with her father and two brothers, who were semi-professional pitchers, so they taught her how to pitch a fastball, a changeup and a curveball. Allen later attended St. Mary’s High School in Larchwood, where she started to play organized softball and basketball. She read about the AAGPBL in a local newspaper and conned her father into taking her to a try-out in Cedar Rapids. She then was invited to Wrigley Field for another try-out and made the grade. Allen entered the league in 1950 with the Springfield Sallies. She was promoted to the Kalamazoo Lassies in 1951, but during the midseason was loaned to the Battle Creek Belles for five games, returning to Kalamazoo for the rest of the year. Following her baseball career, Allen applied for a Mortar Board at Western Michigan University. After teaching for three years, she was employed as a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She also worked for Presentation Health Systems and for McKennan Hospital before becoming a self-employed physical therapist for Canton Inwood Memorial Hospital. Allen retired after 35 years of work. In her spare time, she was both a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Elmwood Ladies Golf League. In 1988 she became part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display based at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, which was unveiled to honour the entire All-American Girls Professional Baseball League rather than any individual personality.


25th – Danish yachtsman Paul Elvstrøm was born today in 1928. He won four Olympic gold medals and eleven world titles in eight different types of boat, ncluding Snipe, Soling, Star, Flying Dutchman and Finn. Elvstrøm competed in eight Olympic Games from 1948 to 1988, being one of only six persons ever (the others are sailor Ben Ainslie, swimmer Michael Phelps, wrestler Kaori Icho, and athletes Carl Lewis in the long jump and Al Oerter in the discus) to win four consecutive individual gold medals (1948–60), first time in a Firefly, subsequently in Finns.  In his last two Olympic games he sailed the very high performance Tornado Catamaran class, which, in those days, was normally sailed by two young men, with his daughter Trine Elvstrøm as forward hand. Australian athlete Herb Elliott was born in 1938. Elliott won the Commonwealth Games 800m and mile titles in 1958 and that same year, in Dublin, he reduced the world mile record to 3:54.5 He won the Olympic 1500m title in 1960. The 6th Winter Olympics closed on this day in 1952, in Oslo, Norway. Jamaican athlete Don Quarrie was born in 1951. One of the world’s top sprinters during the 1970s. At the 1976 Olympics he was the gold medallist in the Olympic 200m and silver medallist in the 100m. In all, he competed in five Olympic Games and won four Olympic medals during his career. He equalled the 200m world record in 1971 and equalled the 100m world record in 1976. He has lifetime bests of 10.07 seconds and 19.86 seconds for the events. He won 100m/200m sprint doubles at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, 1971 Pan American Games, and 1974 Commonwealth Games. He was the first male to defend either the 100m or 200m title at the Commonwealth Games and a 100m win at the 1978 Commonwealth Games makes him the only person to have won that title three times. He won nine gold medals in the sprints at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Athletics from 1971 to 1981.He has received recognition both on and off the field. He was a five-time winner at the Jamaican Sportsperson of the Year and a statue of him is positioned at the entrance to Jamaica’s National Stadium. There is also a school (Donald Quarrie High School) that bears his name in Eastern Kingston. Reggae artists have paid respect to his achievements with songs including “Tribute to Donald Quarrie”, one by Joe Gibbs and The Guerrillas and one by Bongo Herman. On this day in 1964 22 year old Cassius Clay was crowned world heavyweight champion after beating Sonny Liston in one of the biggest upsets in boxing’s history Clay, from Kentucky, was announced the winner after the hot favourite retired at the end of the sixth round in Miami. When the bell rang for the start of the seventh round, Liston stayed on his stool in the corner of the ring – saying he did not want to continue. Florida state attorney Richard Gerstein is to launch an inquiry into the fight. Clay was earlier fined around £900 for disgraceful conduct after he ranted at his 32-year-old opponent during the weigh-in. He had chanted “I wanna rumble…I wanna rumble!” before saying “You’re a tramp. I am going to eat you up. Somebody’s going to die at the ringside tonight. Are you scared?” The WBA allowed Clay to keep his title after earlier demands of the president Ed Lassman that he be stripped of the crown but later recommended giving him the title back if Clay’s conduct improved over the next five months. Miami State attorney Richard Gerstein said a month-long inquiry revealed no evidence of match-fixing. He added that there was little doubt that Liston was suffering from a sore shoulder during the fight. Both the original fight and the rematch a year later in Maine, which Clay won with a first-round knockout, have been dogged by allegations of rigging. Clay said the victory in Miami over Liston was the most important of his career – because he had proved he was qualified to be champion of the world. Shortly after the fight, Clay surprised the sports world by announcing that he had joined the Nation of Islam and had changed his name to Muhammad Ali. His boxing career lasted 20 years, during which he won 56 fights and scored 37 knock-outs. Not sure if this is Sport or Leisure – or both – however, on this day in 1998 Switzerland’s first legal brothel opened in Zurich.


26th The Grand National was run at Aintree for the first time in 1839. The race, which was then known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, was by Lottery, ridden by Jem Mason. There had been three previous runnings of the race at nearby Maghull. In 1847 the race was renamed the Grand National Steeplechase. In 1918 more than 600 people were killed when a stand collapsed at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. At a few minutes to three o’clock, just after the third bell had rung for the first race after Tiffin, the whole row of Chinese booth and mat-sheds, except one on the extreme north, collapsed, and awful confusion ensured.  The stands fell gradually, beginning from the stand labelled D.A.J.A. and falling southward and outwards towards the road and made a sound like a rasping of a saw.  It looked as if the tops of all the stands had been connected by a wire hawser and that this had been pulled over gradually.  The stands and booths took about 10 seconds to collapse. It is unclear how the fire began, but it quickly spread and the structure was an entire loss. However, there were accounts that before the catastrophe, several people engaged in preparing meals on cooking ranges in the sheds, and it was the upsetting of these that caused the fire, which levied such a terrible toll of human life though the fire was highly blazed only for 20 minutes. Many people became trapped, as construction of the building did not include well positioned exits.  The charred human remains were carted away by coolies of the Sanitary Board for burial. This Happy Valley Racecourse Fire produced one of worst disasters and highest number of casualties in Hong Kong history. Arsenal goal-keeper Pat Jennings fittingly kept his slate clean in a goalless draw at West Bromwich in 1983 on the occasion of his 1000th appearance in first-class football. Hannah Kearney, American mogul skier who won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, was born on this day in 1986. In 1993 Australian captain Allan Border became the then most prolific scorer in Test cricket when he surpassed Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 10,122 runs against New Zealand in Christchurch. A batsman, Border was for many years the captain of the Australian team. His playing nickname was “A.B.”. He played 156 Test matches in his career, a record until it was passed by fellow Australian Steve Waugh. He holds the record for most consecutive test starts with 153. Border still retains the world record for the number of consecutive Test appearances of 153 and the number of Tests as captain. He was primarily a left hand batsman but also achieved sporadic success as a part-time left arm orthodox spinner. Border eventually amassed 11,174 Test runs (a world record until it was passed by Brian Lara in 2005). He hit 27 centuries in his Test career. He retired as Australia’s most capped player and leading run-scorer in both Tests and ODIs. His Australian record for Test Match runs stood for 15 years before Ricky Ponting overtook him during the Third Ashes Test against England in July 2009. On this day in 2006 the 20th Winter Olympic Games at Turin in Italy drew to a close. The French organist and organ teacher best known for her prolific recording career Marie-Claire Alain died on this day in 2013. Marie-Claire Alain was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 10 August 1926. Her father Albert Alain (1880–1971) was an organist and composer, as were her brothers, Jehan (1911–1940) and Olivier (1918–1994). At the age of 11 she began assisting her father when he played organ in the parish church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. She studied at the Paris Conservatory in the organ class of Marcel Dupré, where she was awarded four first prizes. She also studied harmony there with Maurice Duruflé. Alain won the 2nd prize for organ at the Geneva International Music Competition in 1950. She taught at the conservatory of Rueil-Malmaison and the Paris Conservatory. Upon her death, the list of her students was described as a “who’s who of the present-day organ world”. She was the most-recorded organist in the world, with over 260 recordings in her catalogue. Alain recorded the complete organ works of J.S. Bach three times as well as the complete organ works of over a dozen other major composers of works for the organ, as well as many individual works. She was devoted to the organ works of her brother Jehan, who died before she began her conservatory studies. A recording of works for organ and trumpet with Maurice André was among her most popular. When her third recording of Bach’s works for organ appeared in 1994, she explained to The Organ, a British journal, why she was recording them again. “It’s because of the instruments, the instruments above everything else, and the fine state to which they have been restored—and the fact that they are now accessible. These recordings use instruments from Bach’s time, and we know that Bach even played some of them—it’s an extraordinary feeling, to put your hands on the keyboard, knowing that he was there 250 years before you!” Alain had a long association with the St Albans International Organ Festival. She succeeded her father as organist of the parish church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye after his death in 1971 and served for 40 years. She married Jacques Gommier in 1950. He died in 1992. Their son Benoît died in 2010. Alain died on 26 February 2013 in a nursing home in Le Pecq, a suburb of Paris, survived by their daughter