8thYorkshire completed a record innings in the county cricket championship when they made 887 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1896. The Surrey and England batsman Jack Hobbs completed his 100th first-class century on this day in 1923. On this day in 1927, while attempting to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York, French war heroes Charles Nungesser and François Coli disappeared after taking off aboard The White Bird biplane. Former world heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston was born in 1932. He beat Floyd Patterson to take the title with a first-round knockout in 1962. He retained the title a year later, again by beating Patterson in one round, but met his match in newcomer Cassius Clay in 1964.  He suffered a first-round knockout by Clay (then Muhammad Ali) when trying to regain the title the following year. Liston died in 1970. In 1936 Jockey Ralph Neves was thrown from his horse during a race and declared dead on the scene. Neves was in first place in a close race for the riding title at Bay Meadows (a track in San Mateo) with a few other jockeys. The prize was $500 and a gold watch awarded by Bing Crosby, so Neves naturally had quite the incentive to win.  Neves was in fifth place behind four horses who were bunched together. The outside horse broke its leg, sending it into the other three horses, causing them all to begin to fall. This startled Neves’ horse, Flanakins, who threw Neves into a wooden rail. Neves was then trampled. His seemingly lifeless body was taken to hospital on the back of a pick-up truck (no track-side ambulances in those days), the announcer told the crowd, “We regret to inform you that jockey Ralph Neves is dead. Please stand in silent prayer.” What actually happened next is the cause of much debate, Neves, naturally, was completely out of it, so he didn’t know himself what happened exactly. A doctor, at some point, gave him a shot of adrenaline., the debate is whether that was administered  at the hospital or if Neves had already been transferred to a local mortuary (toe tag and all) before a doctor acquaintance of Neves gave him the injection. However it was the adrenalin that revived or, if you prefer, resurrected Neves. He then tried to get back to the racetrack to compete in the final race of the day. The track administrators would not allow it and according to the accounts his wife fainted when she saw him return to the track. The next day Neves competed in  five races. For years, even the National Racing Hall of Fame incorrectly noted that the jockey WON all five of these races, this is untrue (and the Hall of Fame has since corrected it). He did not win ANY of his races the following day. However, he did have enough second and third place finishes to ensure that he won the overall riding title, netting him the $500 and the gold watch. The San Francisco Chronicle’s take on it was “Ralph Neves – Died But Lives, to Ride and Win.” Today in 1973 Ernie Banks filled in for Cubs manager Whitey Lockman who was ejected during the game, thereby technically becoming baseballs first African American manager. Today in 1984, twelve weeks before the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games, the USSR announced it would be boycotting them. It was expected at the time that most of the Eastern Bloc will follow suit. The announcement, made on Russian TV, blamed the commercialisation of the games and a lack of security measures, which amounted to a violation of the Olympic charter. The Soviet Union accused the USA of using the games “for political purposes” and “stirring up anti-Soviet propaganda” and of having a “cavalier attitude to security of Russian athletes”. It was thought that the Russian withdrawal would devalue the Los Angeles Games far more than the earlier US boycott in 1980 as it seemed certain that top-class athletes from the Eastern Bloc would also be prevented from taking part. The White House denounced the move calling it a “blatant political act”. John Hughes, a State Department spokesman, said the USA had “gone the extra mile” to ensure adequate security measures were in place. He further took the opportunity to attack the USSR for its “barbarous behaviour” in Afghanistan and its persecution of Russian dissidents such as Dr Andrei Sakharov living in forced exile in the Russian town of Gorky. Moscow had not, at this point officially told the IOC of its boycott but there was little hope that the decision will be reversed. In the end, with the exception of Romania, the entire Eastern bloc and Cuba joined the boycott, amounting to 14 countries in all. Although a record 140 nations did ultimately take part – including China which had not taken part since 1932 – the level of competition was somewhat lopsided with the absence of so many world-class athletes. As a result the USA won a record 83 gold medals. The Los Angeles Summer Games were highly commercialised – they were the first privately financed games ever and made a profit of $225m thanks to corporate sponsorship and extensive use of unpaid volunteers. Forty-three companies were licensed to sell “official” Olympic products. . In 1989 Paul McCartney released a remake of Ferry Cross the Mersey in aid of those affected by the Hillsborough disaster. Romanian gymnast twins Anamaria and Adriana Tămârjan were born today in 1991.  Anamaria is a bronze Olympic medallist and a gold European medalist with the team. Individually, she is a European silver medallist on balance beam and a bronze medallist on floor. Adriana was also a world-class gymnast and a member of the Romanian national team, but she is now retired. Anamaria also struggled with health problems; she was not at her full physical potential at the 2009 European Championships. However, she managed to qualify second all around, second on beam and fifth on floor. She failed to win a medal in the all-around event due to a fall during the floor exercise. She was placed fifth all around, won silver on balance beam and placed fourth on floor.  Later that year she competed at the 2009 World Championships where she qualified only in the all-around final. She ended her second world championships experience by coming ninth all around. After her return to Romania she underwent surgery to both knees with little chances of making a comeback at the 2010 European Championships. Due to health problems she retired in June 2010. Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement as Manchester United manager at the end of the season on this day in 2013.


9thOn this day in 1887 Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show opened in London. Joe Davis beat Tom Dennis 20-11 at Camkin’s Hall, Birmingham, in 1927 to win the first world professional snooker championship. Davis beat o field of ten to make the trophy, which is still presented today. His prize money that day?  a mere 10s 6d (52½p!!)  Ricardo Alonso González also known as Richard Gonzales, and usually as Pancho Gonzales, American tennis player, was born in 1928.  He was the World No 1 tennis player for an all-time record eight years from 1952 to 1960. He won 14 Major singles titles, including 12 Pro Slams and 2 Grand Slams, but never won Wimbledon. Largely self-taught, Gonzales was a successful amateur player in the late 1940s, twice winning the United States Championships. He is still widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. A 1999 Sports Illustrated article about the magazine’s 20 favourite athletes of the 20th century said about Gonzales (their number 15 pick): “If earth was on the line in a tennis match, the man you want serving to save humankind would be Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez.” The American tennis commentator Bud Collins echoed this in an August 2006 article for MSNBC.com: “If I had to choose someone to play for my life, it would be Pancho Gonzales. Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott was also born today in 1928.  She was the 1948 Olympic champion, a two-time World champion (1947–1948), and a four-time Canadian national champion (1944–46, 48) in ladies’ singles. Known as “Canada’s Sweetheart”, she is the only Canadian to have won the Olympic ladies’ singles gold medal, the first North American to have won three major titles in one year and the only Canadian to have won the European Championship (1947–48). During her forties she was rated among the top equestrians in North America. She received many honours and accolades, including being made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991 and a member of the Order of Ontario in 2008. The former British boxing world champion Terry Downes was born in 1936. He took the middleweight crown from the defending champion, Bostonian Paul Pender, in 1961 but lost it again, to the American, nine months later, his attempt to wrest the world light-heavyweight from Willie Pastrano was bought to a halt in the 11th round at Manchester in 1964. Don Bradman was bowled for 0 in a match against Cambridge University on this day in 1934.  The wicket was described as true and easy as Bradman fell victim to J G W Davies, a slow leg-break bowler. At the lunch break Cambridge had dismissed three leading Australian batsmen for 80 runs. The Cambridge team included Jahangir Khan, who was one of the best all-rounders in the all-Indian team that toured England in 1932. Footballer Bernard Joy played his one and only game for England in 1936, against Belgium, a member of the successful Corinthian Casuals team, he was the last amateur to play for England at this level. Born today in 1941, Dorothy Hyman, English sprinter who competed at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics in the 100m, 200m and 4×100m and won a medal in each of them. She also won individual 100m gold and 200m silver at the 1962 European Championships in Belgrade and, representing England, completed the 100yd/220yd sprint double at the 1962 Commonwealth Games. Winner of the 1963 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, she has a stadium in her home village in Cudworth, Barnsley, named in her honour. In 2011, she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.  She retired shortly after the 1964 Olympics and wrote an autobiography in 1965. This payment she received for the book prevented her from returning to amateur international competitions later in the 1960s, when she reconsidered her retirement. Instead she became an athletics coach at the Dorothy Hyman Track Club in her home town and occasionally competed at the national level. Later she worked in the administration of the National Coal Board and taught people with learning disabilities. Canadian swimmer Donald Smith was born in 1958, he won a silver medal in the men’s 4x100m medley relay at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Quebec. At the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta, he became the first competitor to win six gold medals at a single Commonwealth Games; he won the 100m and 200m breaststroke, 200m and 400m individual medleys, and was part of the winning 4x100m  freestyle and 4x100m medley relay teams. Smith twice broke the world record in the men’s 200m individual medley (long course). He also won a NCAA national swimming championship at the University of California, Berkeley and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1978. Tegla  Loroupe the Kenyan long-distance track and road runner was born in 1973. She is also a global spokeswoman for peace, women’s rights and education. Loroupe holds the world record for 20k, 25k and 30k and previously held the world marathon record. She is the three-time World Half-Marathon champion. Loroupe was also the first woman from Africa to win the New York City Marathon, which she won twice. She has won marathons in London, Boston, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Berlin and Rome. In 2016, she was the person organising the Refugee Team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. At the age of 71, Tenzing Norgay, born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing died in 1986 He  was a Nepali Sherpa mountaineer and among the most famous mountain climbers in history. He was the first individual known to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Today in 2001 the so called Accra Sports Stadium Disaster took place. 129 Ghanian football fans died in a stampede caused by the firing of teargas by police following a decision by the referee in a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko. Wouter Weylandt, Beligan professional cyclist died on this day in 2011 aged just 26.  He raced for UCI ProTeam Quick-Step–Davitamon and later for Leopard Trek. His first major win was the 17th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a España. He also won the 3rd stage of the 2010 Giro d’Italia. In stage 3 of the 2011 Giro d’Italia, Weylandt crashed while descending the Passo del Bocco, suffering a fatal injury. With some 17km of the stage remaining, riders were going downhill in the final part of the descent, Weylandt trailing the main peloton, going perhaps 80km/h (50mph). According to Manuel Antonio Cardoso (a Team RadioShack rider who was trailing Weylandt), Weylandt looked back over his left shoulder at other riders before a slight left bend. Weylandt lost control and hit the leading edge of a low concrete guard rail on the left side of the road with his foot and pedal. He was thrown to the right side of the road, where he hit another obstacle. The medical chief of staff of the Giro, Dr. Tredici, was right behind the accident in a service car and reported that he ran to Weylandt less than 20 seconds after the crash but, he said on Sky News, “…he was already and clearly dead upon impact. I had never seen such a thing before, such a sudden death.” Tredici also reported the severe trauma Weylandt’s contact with the wall had caused him: had Weylandt survived injuries to his left foot and lower leg would likely have necessitated their amputation. The Giro d’Italia medical team and Garmin’s team doctor performed resuscitation attempts for around 45 minutes while an emergency team was rushing to the incident by helicopter. On their arrival, Weylandt was declared dead due to facial and basal skull fractures, his injuries were too severe to allow further resuscitation attempts. It was determined that his heart had stopped immediately upon impact. An autopsy confirmed that the cyclist was “dead on the spot and did not suffer.”  Weylandt was wearing a helmet, as all professional road cyclists have been obliged to do since May 2003 Weylandt is the fourth rider to die in the history of the Giro d’Italia. In tribute to Weylandt, the following day’s stage of the race was neutralized, with teams taking turns to ride in front, and all riders wearing black armbands.


10thIn 1824 the National Gallery in London was first opened to the general public. Today in 1870 Jem Mace defended his heavyweight crown against Irish champion Joe Coburn, the bout lasted an hour and 17 minutes and during that time neither man is struck by a punch. On this day in 1886 the FA approved the giving of caps to players appearing in international matches. Contrary to popular belief, a cap is not awarded for every single international appearance.  Players are awarded one cap for every match they play, including friendlies, unless they play in a World Cup or European Championship finals tournament. Then they are given a single cap for the competition, with the names of all their opponents stitched into the fabric of the cap itself. As an example, when David Beckham made his 100th appearance for England, because a number of his appearances had been at World Cup and European Championship final tournaments for which he received only one cap, he received only his 85th physical cap. Lothar Schmid, German chess grandmaster was born in Radebeul near Dresden in 1928. He was best known as the chief arbiter at several World Chess Championship matches, in particular the 1972 encounter between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky at Reykjavík. He was also an avid collector of chess books and paraphernalia. It was reputed that he owned the largest known private chess library in the world, as well as a renowned collection of chess art, chess boards and chess pieces from around the globe. At the 64th edition of the British Gold Open in 1929 Walter Hagen shot a 292 to win the title. Audun Boysen, Norwegian middle distance runner was born in 1929 He was a prominent 800m runner in the 1950s, and he won a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics, a silver medal at the 1958 European Championships and another bronze at the 1954 European Championships. He set three world records over 1000m, the last being 2:19.0 in 1955. The same year he ran 800m in 1:45.9, setting a new Norwegian record. Incidentally, the man who beat him in that race, Belgian Roger Moens, ran a world record time, with Boysen also under the old world record. That Norwegian record stood for 37 years until 3 July 1992 when it was broken by Atle Douglas (1:45.15) and Vebjørn Rodal (1:45.33). Rodal becoming Olympic champion four years later.  Boysen died on 2 March 2000 aged 79.  Former Spanish amateur tennis champion Manolo Santana was born in 1938, he was ranked World No. 1 in 1966. Before winning Wimbledon he was quoted as saying “Grass is just for cows.”  He thought that tennis should be played on artificial surfaces as opposed to lawn tennis courts like the ones at Wimbledon. Santana was born in Madrid, and began his career as a ball boy and “picked up” the game. In 1965, Santana led Spain to unexpected victory over the US in the Davis Cup, and he became a national hero. Despite his previous Grand Slam successes in the French Championships (1961, 1964) and the U.S. Championships (1965), Santana’s win at the 1966 Wimbledon championships was a surprise, where he defeated the sixth seed Dennis Ralston. This was his last Grand slam title. His last big tournament win was in 1970 when he defeated Rod Laver. He also captured the doubles title in Barcelona that year when he teamed with Lew Hoad to defeat Laver/Andrés Gimeno. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Santana won singles gold, though tennis was only a demonstration sport at that time. He later was captain of the Spanish Davis Cup team twice, once in the ’80s and again for four and a half years in the mid-’90s, until he was dismissed in 1999. Currently, he is the organizer of the Madrid Masters. He manages the Manolo Santana Racquets club, a tennis club in Marbella, and the Sport Center Manolo Santana, in Madrid. He appeared at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships in the Royal Box to watch the Men’s Final which was between his fellow countryman Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Former Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards was born in 1966.  He broke the World Record twice in the World Championships in 1995. On his first jump, he became the first man to legally pass the 18m barrier with a jump of 18.16 m (59 feet 7 inches). That record lasted for about 20 minutes. His second jump of 18.29 m made him the first to jump 60 feet. That record still stand some 22 years later. Born today in 1985, Jon Schofield, British canoeist who partnered with Liam Heath in the men’s kayak double 200m, they won  bronze in K-2 200 at the 2012 Olympics, and  silver at the 2016 Olympics in the same event. Schofield is a member of the Soar Valley Canoe Club and is coached by Alex Nikonorov. Ivana Španović, Serbian long jumper and reigning European Indoor and Outdoor champion was born in 1990.  In 2013, she became the first Serbian track and field athlete to win a medal at the IAAF World Championships. She is the Serbian long jump record holder both indoors and outdoors, and also the national indoor record holder in the 60m and the pentathlon. In 2017, she had an impressive win at European indoor champion in Belgrade. During the qualification she achieved the best ever indoor mark in a qualification round with 7.03m. In the final she broke her national record twice, 7.16m (in the second round) and 7.24m (third round), she successfully defended her 2015 title  and her new national record, 7.24m, put her as the third all-time indoor performances and the second best ever jump in the European Indoor Championships (after Drechsler’s 7.30 in 1988). Today in 2008 Turkish opera singer Leyla Gencer died aged 79. Gencer was a notable bel canto soprano who spent most of her career in Italy, from the early 1950s through the mid-1980s, and had a repertoire encompassing more than seventy roles. She made very few commercial recordings; however, numerous bootleg recordings of her performances exist. She was particularly associated with the heroines of Donizetti.  Gencer rose to international stardom in a short time, singing under some of the greatest Italian maestros, such as Vittorio Gui, Tullio Serafin, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, and Riccardo Muti. She contributed to the ‘Donizetti Renaissance’ with her great performances of Donizetti’s forgotten operas. Her repertoire consisted of 72 roles, including operas by Monteverdi, Gluck, Mozart, Cherubini, Spontini, Simon Mayr, Puccini, Prokofiev, Britten, Poulenc, Menotti, and Rocca, encompassing lyric, coloratura, and dramatic soprano roles. Starting in 1982, she dedicated herself to teaching young opera singers. She worked as didactic art director of As.Li.Co. of Milan between 1983–88, and was appointed by Maestro Riccardo Muti to run La Scala’s School for Young Artists in 1997-1998. As artistic director of the academy for opera artists in Teatro alla Scala, she specialized in teaching operatic interpretation. In 1996, she appeared in Jan Schmidt-Garre’s film Opera Fanatic. Following her funeral service in San Babila Church and subsequent cremation in Milan, her ashes were brought to Istanbul and scattered in the waters of the Bosporus on May 16, by famous musician Fazil Say, according to her wishes.


11th Italian ballet dancer and choreographer Fanny Cerrito was born in 1817. She was a ballerina noted for the brilliance, strength, and vivacity of her dancing. She was also one of few women in the 19th century to be recognized for her talent as a choreographer. Born in Naples, she studied under Carlo Blasis and the French choreographers Jules Perrot and Arthur Saint-Léon, the latter of whom was her husband from 1845–51. Fanny Cerrito was trained in the ballet school of San Carlo Opera House, later under the supervision of Salvatore Taglioni. Her first stage appearance was in 1832 when she gained recognition almost immediately. In 1836–37 her fame started to spread beyond Italy and she appeared in Vienna to reveal some of her own choreographed works. From 1838–40, she continued to dance with La Scala in Milan, where she gained even more attention. In 1843, Cerrito and Maria Taglioni danced in the same programme in Milan; this event caused so much excitement that the city divided itself between the two great rival ballerinas. While in Milan, Fanny began her collaboration with Jules Perrot, during which they choreographed Ondine, ou La naiade (1843) as well as Alma (1842) and Lalla Rookh (1846). Later in 1845, her choreographic talent became recognized after she presented her own ballet, Rosida. For nine seasons, from 1840 to 1848, Cerrito became a very well-respected dancer at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London, where the celebrity chef Alexis Soyer created a moulded dessert in her honour that was topped with a miniature figure of the dancer herself, weightlessly poised on a spun sugar zig-zag spiral. She died in May1909 just a few days short of her 92nd birthday. One of Britain’s most celebrated prize-fighters, Tom Cribb, died on this day in 1848. Undefeated from 1805 until 1811, his two bouts with Tom Molineaux rate among the best contests seen in the days of bare-knuckle fighting. George Lyon, Canadian golfer, died in 1938 aged 79. Although he didn’t begin playing golf until he was 38, he won the gold medal in golf in the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. He won the Canadian Amateur Championship a record eight times between 1898 and 1914, and won the Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association Championship ten times between 1918 and 1930. Lyon lost in the finals of the 1906 U.S. Amateur Championship, and in the semi-finals of the 1908 British Amateur Championship, when in his 50th year. He travelled to London in 1908 to defend his Olympic title, but plans to stage a golf tournament there were cancelled at the last minute, since representatives from England and Scotland were unable to agree on the format. Golf did not return to the Olympics until 2016. Lyon was also a founding member, with Albert Austin, of the Lambton Golf and Country Club in Toronto. It was officially opened on June 13, 1903. Lyon was often partnered with the future Canadian golf hall of famer George Cumming; as a pair they were a difficult team to beat in 4-ball matches.  Today in 1955 saw the death of England cricketer Gilbert Jessop at the age of 80.  Jessop, often reckoned to have been the fastest run-scorer cricket has ever known was Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1898.  Nicknamed “The Croucher” because of his unusual hunched stance at the crease and though a stocky build at 5’7″ and 11 stone, he remained a fast bowler through his career. He was also a powerful driver, cutter and hooker. The Fifth Test at The Oval in August 1902, known as “Jessop’s match”, highlighted Jessop’s ability to play quickly. England had an unlikely one-wicket victory against a quality Australian side who set England 263 to win in the fourth innings. Jessop came to the crease with England at 48 for 5. He scored his first 50 runs in 43 minutes and reached his century in 75 minutes. He was eventually dismissed after 77 minutes for 104, which included 17 fours and an all-run five. Many of the fours had well cleared the boundary, but the laws of cricket in 1902 meant that to obtain six runs the ball had to be hit out of the ground. One of these “fours” was caught on the players’ balcony. A newspaper managed to keep a detailed record of his innings, which shows that Jessop reached his hundred off 76 balls – one of the fastest Test centuries of all time. Besides his cricketing ability, Jessop was an all-round athlete of note. He got his Blue as a hockey goalkeeper, but fell ill and could not play in the University match. He came near getting an Association football Blue and played for The Casuals as half-back or goalkeeper. He also appeared as a wing-three-quarter for Gloucester RFC. He would have played billiards for Cambridge against Oxford, but was gated and could not take part. In one week he made two breaks of over 150. He could run 100yds in 10.2 seconds and frequently entered for sports meetings. A scratch golfer, he took part in the Amateur Championship in 1914, was Secretary of the Cricketers’ Golfing Society and for some years Secretary of the Edgware Club. In 1916 whilst serving in the Lincolnshire Regiment, suffering from severe lumbago Jessop was sent to a clinic in Bath for Radiant Heat Treatment which involved dousing with total immersion for 30 minutes at a temperature of 210-310 degrees F. The patient was placed in an up-ended coffin like structure and steamed up. If he became too uncomfortable he could raise the lid and get out. By some ‘accident’ the catch fell, the attendant had gone away and Jessop was unable to summon assistance. When he was eventually rescued his heart had been seriously damaged by this terrible ordeal, in a matter of minutes the sporting life of one of the greatest athletes had come to an abrupt end. For the next 39 years Jessop was to lead a life of very limited activity. In November 1917 he was invalided out of the Army. He was able to make his living from journalism and compiled his biography: The Cricketer’s Log. In 1924 he took up an appointment as Secretary of Edgware Golf Club, a position he held until 1936 when the land was sold for housing development. In 1936 Jessop moved to the Vicarage of Fordington St George, Dorchester, Dorset, to live with his son. It was here at Fordington, Dorset that he died. The younger Jessop, Clerk in Holy Orders, also called Gilbert, played cricket for Weymouth College, Christ’s College Cambridge, the MCC, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Dorset. Today in 1965 The West Indies became the first holders of the Frank Worrell Cricket Trophy. Today in 1971, The Daily Sketch newspaper, which was founded in 1909, was published for the last time. Enclosed in the final souvenir issue was a copy of its sister paper the Daily Mail to which owners Harmsworth Publications hoped former Sketch readers will now switch. However, production of the last copies of the Sketch was held up by an industrial dispute over manning of the printing presses. At its peak the Daily Sketch achieved a circulation of 1.3 million copies a day but its readership had been in decline. The Sketch’s fate was sealed two months earlier when Harmsworth Publications announced plans to shut down the paper, although the exact date was kept a closely-guarded secret. The closure resulted in more than 800 people being made redundant. On this day in 1985, many people died and were injured after fire engulfed the antiquated main-stand at Valley Parade, the home of Bradford City Football Club. Bradford City were supposed to be celebrating on 11 May 1985. The team was presented with the Division Three championship trophy – their first trophy in 56 years – in front of 11,000 jubilant fans before the start of their match against Lincoln City. Instead it turned into a day of appalling tragedy.  The fire, thought to have been caused by the accidental dropping of a match or a cigarette stubbed out in a polystyrene cup was further fuelled by rubbish underneath the wooden stand and would eventually claim the lives of 56 supporters and injured 256, it was the worst fire disaster in the history of British football.  The death toll might have been higher had it not been for the courage of police officers and 22 spectators later presented with bravery awards. An inquiry chaired by Sir Oliver Popplewell published its final report in 1986. Its recommendations resulted in new legislation governing safety at sports grounds across the UK. A Bradford Disaster Appeal Fund raised £3.5m for the victims and their families. On Saturday 11 May 2002, the 17th anniversary of the disaster, a memorial with the names of those who lost their lives was dedicated at the new entrance to the redeveloped stand. In 1996 a disaster on Mount Everest saw eight climbers were caught in a blizzard and lost their lives. Over the entire season that year 12 people dying in their attempt to reach the summit, making it the deadliest year on the Mountain until the 2014 Mount Everest avalanche which killed 16 and a further 18 fatalities the following year caused by an earthquake in Nepal which led to avalanches on Mt Everest. The 1996 disaster gained widespread publicity and raised questions about the commercialisation of Everest.  In 1997, Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.


12thOn this day in 1859 Mayonaise won the One Thousand Guineas by 20 lengths, a record for a British Classic. German athlete Carl Schuhmann was born in 1869, he won four Olympic titles in gymnastics and wrestling at the 1896 Olympics in Athens, becoming the most successful athlete at the inaugural Olympics of the modern era. He also competed in weightlifting. Schuhmann, a member of the Berliner Turnerschaft, was part of the successful German gymnastics team that won the team events in the horizontal bar and parallel bars, he added a third title by winning the vault.  He also competed in the parallel bars, horizontal bar, pommel horse, and rings without medal success.  Schuhmann then entered the wrestling competition, which he also won, even though he was much lighter and smaller than most of the other combatants. In the first round, he faced GB’s Launceston Elliot who had won the weightlifting competition. Schuhmann won easily. The semi-finals resulted in a bye for the German, in the final he faced Georgios Tsitas of Greece. The match went for 40 minutes before it was determined that it was too dark to continue and the bout was postponed until a second day. The next morning, Schuhmann quickly finished the bout winning gold. He also entered the weightlifting competition in which he came fourth. Schuhmann was one of nine athletes to compete in the long jump. The only information known about his placing in the event is that he was not one of the top four. He also placed fifth in the triple jump and in the bottom three of a seven-man field in the shot put. Schuhmann tied for fourth place in the two-handed weightlifting competition now known as the clean and jerk.In 1936 he was part of a gymnastics exhibition at the Olympic Stadium. His tombstone is inscribed with the epitaph “Germany’s first Olympic champion”, the Olympic Rings and “Athens 1896”. Today in 1870 the first rules of Water Polo were drawn up by the London Swimming Association. On this day in 1890 the first-ever official Cricket County Championship match began. The official County Championship was constituted in a meeting at Lord’s on 10 December 1889 which was called to enable club secretaries to determine the 1890 fixtures. While this was going on, representatives of the eight leading county clubs held a private meeting to discuss the method by which the County Championship should in future be decided. A majority were in favour of “ignoring drawn games altogether and settling the championship by wins and losses.” Under this system defeats were subtracted from victories and the county with the highest total were champions. The new competition initially featured Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire. Surrey ultimately became the first official county champions after winning nine out of fourteen games. British racing cyclist Beryl Burton was born today in 1937, she dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles, and setting numerous national records. Burton set a women’s record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the men’s record for two years. She was introduced to cycling through her husband, Charlie, whom she married in 1955. Two years later, she took her first national medal, silver in the national 100-mile individual time trial championship, and before the decade was out was competing internationally. Recognition of her sporting achievements came with her appointment as a MBE in 1964 and an  OBE in 1968. Burton also won UK cycling’s top accolade, the Bidlake Memorial Prize, a record three times, in 1959, 1960 and 1967. Her daughter, Denise, was also a top cyclist, winning a bronze in the 1975 world individual pursuit championship. Mother and daughter were both selected to represent Great Britain in the 1972 world championship. Burton, who had always had a somewhat odd heart arrhythmia, died of heart failure during a social ride on 5 May 1996, when she was out delivering birthday invitations for her 59th birthday party. Her daughter also suggested that Burton’s competitive spirit and drive eventually just wore her body out. A memorial garden was established in her home town of Morley. Morley Cycling Club also donated a trophy (previously won 20 times by Burton) to the RTTC for a Champion of Champions competition for women of all ages: the Beryl Burton trophy. The Beryl Burton Cycle Way allows cyclists to travel the 2.8km between Harrogate and Knaresborough without using the A59. In 2009, she was inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame. Alan Ball, the youngest member of England’s 1966 World Cup team, was born in 1945. He started his career with Blackpool and then moved to Everton in a six-figure transfer deal. His subsequent move to Arsenal for £220,000 made him the most expensive footballer in Britain at the time. He later played for Southampton before venturing into management. Lisa Frances Ondieki, née O’Dea, formerly Martin was born in 1960, an Australian former long-distance runner, who won the 1988 Olympic silver medal and two Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medals. Other marathon victories included the 1988 Osaka International Ladies Marathon and the 1992 New York City Marathon. She also won the Great North Run Half Marathon three times. Her best time for the marathon of 2:23:51, set in 1988, made her the then fourth-fastest female marathon runner in history at the time. British swimmer Mark Foster was born on this day in 1970. He represented Great Britain in the Olympics and world championships, and swam for England in the Commonwealth Games. Foster is a former world champion and has won multiple medals in international competition during his long career. Foster is a specialist short-course swimmer. In terms of medals and longevity (1986–2008), he is amongst the most successful British swimmers of all time. He was the fastest swimmer in the country by age 15. He made a comeback at the national championships in July 2007 winning both events he competed in after barely training.  He achieved the fifth best time in 2007 in the world at 50m freestyle and retired for the second time after the 2008 Olympics. He has six World Championship titles, two Commonwealth titles and eleven European titles to his name.  Trinidadian track and field athlete Mike Agostini died today in 2016 aged 81. He was the first athlete from his country to win a gold medal at what is now known as the Commonwealth Games. Agostini participated in athletics, football, and boxing in his school days. In 1952, at Kingston, he defeated Jamaican sprinter Herb McKenley, who had won gold and two silver medals at the 1952 Olympics. On a scholarship, Agostini enrolled at Villanova University, where he was trained by Jumbo Elliott. On 23 January 1954, his 19th birthday, he set a world indoor record for over 100yds at Washington, beating Olympic champion Lindy Remigino. The same year, he competed in the 1954 Commonwealth Games at Vancouver, Canada, and won gold in the 100yds in 9.6s. In 1955 Agostini took part in the Pan American Games held in Mexico and won silver and a bronze in the 100m and 200m respectively. He also won silver at the 1959 Chicago Pan American Games in the 100m, a bronze in the 200m, and another bronze in the 4×10m relay. In the next Commonwealth Games at Cardiff in 1958, he was third in the 100yds. He then won another gold in the 1959 British West Indies Championships in the 100m and a bronze in the 200m. Agostini had also represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 100m and 200m at the 1956 Summer Olympics coming 6th and 4th respectively. Agostini retired from active sports in the late 1950s. He graduated with a degree in economics from Fresno State University, California, in 1958. In the late 1950s he moved to Australia and married, he received Australian citizenship in 1961. He coached various sprinters, including Ralph Doubell, Andrew Ratcliffe, Peter Vassella, and Jenny Lamy. He worked as a freelance journalist and as a teacher for a brief time, and also served as editor and publisher for Track and Field magazine in the mid-1960s. He edited numerous periodicals and authored nine books. In 2007, Mike Agostini was inducted into the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame. In his later years, he suffered from arthritis and pancreatic cancer.


13thOn this day in 1905 James J Jeffries retired as boxing champion. Today in 1909 saw the very first edition of the Giro d’Italian, starting in Milan, it was won by Luigi Ganna from Italy. On this day in 1912, The Royal Flying Corps was established, the forerunner of the Roayl Air Force. In 1913 Igor Sikorsky flew the first four-engine aircraft. One of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions, Joe Louis, was born in 1914. Born Joseph Louis Barrow, he won the world heavyweight title in 1937 by beating James J Braddock. He made a record 25 defences over 11 years, before retiring in 1948 after beating ‘Jersey’ Joe Walcott in New York. However, needing, money to pay taxes, Louis came out of retirement two years later, losing on points over 15 rounds to new champion, Ezzard Charles.  Louis eventually retired for good after losing to Rocky Marciano in 1951. He died in 1981. German long-jumper Hildrun Claus was born in 1939, she competed in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics and finished in third and seventh place, respectively. Born in Dresden, but later moved to East Berlin, she won the East German long-jump championships in 1957–1962 and 1964, and set three world records (6.36m and 6.40m in 1960 and 6.42m in 1961). She married Peter Laufer, a German Olympic pole-vaulter, and at the 1964 Games competed as Hildrun Laufer-Claus. She has a degree of a landscape designer. In 1995 she was paralyzed as a result of a sports-related accident and is now confined to a wheelchair. Japanese Marathon runner Kōkichi Tsuburaya was born in 1940, he competed at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, finishing sixth in the 10,000m event and lining up for the marathon on the final day of competition. Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia won the race decisively, becoming the first man to defend his Olympic title in the event, having won in Rome in 1960, running barefoot. Tsuburaya entered the stadium second, but was overtaken on the final lap by the furious sprint of Britain’s Basil Heatley and finished third. Tsuburaya was mortified by the loss to Heatley, saying to fellow marathoner Kenji Kimihara, “I committed an inexcusable blunder in front of the Japanese people. I have to make amends by running and hoisting the Hinomaru in the next Olympics, in Mexico”. Shortly after the Tokyo Olympics, Kokichi starting suffering with lumbago and on January 9, 1968, he committed suicide by slashing his wrist in his dormitory room where he had stayed during his training period for the Mexico City Olympics. In his suicide note, he paid thanks to his parents, siblings and trainers for their contributions, urged his fellow runners to do well, and ended the note (please note this is an informal translation): “I am too exhausted to run any more. Please forgive me. I’m sorry for causing my parents concern and worry, but this is for the best. Thank you very much for everything you have done for me.”  He was 27 years old. The first so called Battle of the Sexes series of tennis matches took place today in 1973. Bobby Riggs had been one of the world’s top tennis players in the 1940s; he once held the number 1 ranking and had won six major titles during his career. After he retired from professional tennis in 1951, Riggs remained a master promoter of himself and of tennis. In 1973, he opined that the female game was inferior and that even at his current age of 55 he could still beat any of the top female players. Riggs first challenged Billie Jean King, but when she declined, Margaret Court stepped in. At the time Court was 30 years old and the top female player in the world. On the day of their game, 5000 fans came to Mother’s Day match in Ramona, California. Bobby Riggs came out on court and presented Margaret Court with Mother’s Day flowers, which she accepted while curtsying. During the match, Riggs used his drop shots and lobs to keep Court off balance. His 6–2, 6–1 victory landed Riggs on the cover of both Sports Illustrated and Time magazine. The second was a nationally televised match between Riggs and Billie Jean King, over the best of five sets in 1973. The final match was played in 1992 between Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova, over the best of three sets and hybrid rules favouring the female player, dubbed The Battle of Champions. England cricket captain, Tony Greig, was sacked today in 1977 for signing up players to Kerry Packer’s commercial cricket “circus”. On 9 May Mr Packer, the Australian media tycoon, announced he had recruited 35 of the world’s best cricketers to play in a series of internationals in Australia during the upcoming winter. It followed the Australian Cricket Board’s decision to turn down his offer of AUS$1.5m a year for television rights to screen Australian Test matches and Sheffield Shield cricket on his Channel 9 station. The impact of his new World Series Cricket, dubbed a “circus” by the press, shocked the cricket establishment and fans around the globe. Packer hired Greig to sign on more players and lead the team. The Cricket Council, the ruling body for the game in the UK, took four hours to reach its decision to drop the England captain. Donald Carr of the Test and County Cricket Board, explained the reasons behind the move. “They took into consideration his involvement in the recruitment of players for this series of matches and clearly running in competition with the scheduled Test match series over the next year or two. “This was considered to be a breach of the normal trust which is expected between the captain and the England team and the authorities.” He said the board reacted with “surprise and grave disappointment” at news that Grieg and two other England players had signed up to Packer’s World Series Cricket. In a statement that he read to the press, Grieg said: “Obviously I am disappointed that my reign as England Captain has come to an end just as we were beginning to put things together. “From a personal point of view, the only redeeming factor is that I have sacrificed cricket’s most coveted job for a cause which I believe could be in the best interests of cricketers the world over.” There were fears that Packer would tempt away more talented players with offers of large salaries to create a World XI team of superstars. With the help of Greig, Parker did indeed recruit 50 top-class players by offering them salaries of around AUS$30,000 (£12,000) a year for a three-year contract – As England captain Greig had been paid just £1,015 a season.  After arriving amid a fanfare of publicity, World Series Cricket existed for only 17 months as a live sporting entity. But Packer – once rated the richest man in Australia and seen as a threat to the sport – was regarded by the cricket world as having revolutionised the game. He introduced floodlit night games using white balls, coloured clothing and top salaries for top players. Above all he transformed the image of the game from a dull and slow sport to something dynamic and energetic. Today in 1995 a British mother of two has become the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas. Alison Hargreaves, 33, was only the second person ever to reach the peak of the world’s highest mountain unaided. She reached the summit and immediately radioed her base camp as she wanted to send a fax to her two children, Tom and Kate, aged six and four, at home near Fort William on the west coast of Scotland. The message was: “I am on the top of the world and I love you dearly.” Before starting her descent, she planted a silk flower. Her husband Jim Ballard, 48, a climbing photographer, who stayed at home to look after the children said: “I am very proud of Alison. I always had confidence in her ability to get to the roof of the world, although she set herself a formidable target.” Alison tackled the mountain’s notorious north ridge from Tibet after more than a year’s training on the slopes of Ben Nevis. She failed in a similar attempt the previous year, when she was driven back at 27,500ft (8,382m) by arctic winds which threatened to freeze her hands and feet. Cally Fleming, a spokeswoman for the Nevis Range ski slope where Miss Hargreaves trained said: “This is the most important climb ever undertaken by a woman. It’s fabulous.” Miss Hargreaves, who uses her maiden name for climbing, arrived at base camp on 11 April. She climbed the entire route without porters or oxygen. She was forced to approach the summit almost along the top of the arduous north ridge because weather conditions meant the slopes below were almost bare of snow. The only other climber to have reached the top of Everest unaided was Reinhold Messner in 1980. Alison Hargreaves had planned to climb the world’s second highest mountain, K2, unaided after a short break in Scotland. However three months to the day after her successful conquest of Everest she was killed shortly after reaching the summit of K2. Three climbers who tackled the summit with her were also killed and three further members of a separate five-strong Spanish team died the same day. New Zealander Peter Hillary, son of the Everest pioneer, Sir Edmund Hillary, was climbing with the Hargreaves’ team, but turned back before the fateful summit bid and survived. It is not clear how they died. Witnesses on the mountain said there was a sudden mountain storm, combined with a bitter 100mph (160.9kph) wind. At least one climber is thought to have fallen. Following Miss Hargreaves’s death, there was some criticism in the media about whether a mother should be allowed to pursue such a dangerous sport. In 1996, Jim Ballard and the couple’s two children, made an emotional pilgrimage to Pakistan to visit the foot of K2. Both children have developed a keen interest in climbing and Tom has said he would like to become a professional climber. Russian cyclist Gainan Saidkhuzhin died aged 77 on this day in 2015. He was ten-time cycling champion of the Soviet Union and competed in the road race at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics and finishing in 34th and 41st places, respectively. In 1964 he also finished 5th in the 100km team time trial.


14ththe oldest organised archery society, the Yorkshire Society of Archers, was formed in 1673. Gofing history was made on this day in 1754 when members of the Society of St Andrews Golfers played their first round over the St Andrews links. The society was the forerunner of the R & R.  Godfrey Rampling, English athlete, was born on this day in 1909; he competed for Great Britain in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. He turned 100 on 14 May 2009 and was the oldest living British Olympian at the time of his death just over a month later on 20 June 2009. At the 1932 Olympics, Rampling was fourth in his semi-final of the 400m and didn’t reach the final, but ran the anchor leg to help the British 4×400m relay team win silver, behind the United States. At the 1934 British Empire Games in London, Rampling won the 440yd, and helped the English 4×440yds relay team to capture gold. During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Rampling was again fourth in the semi-finals of 400m and ran the second leg in the gold medal winning British 4×400m relay team. Rampling was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Artillery, attached to NATO, until retiring in 1958 after 29 years service.  His daughter Charlotte is a noted film actress. He was, as of October 2007, the last surviving male athletics medallist from the 1932 Olympics and the last male gold medallist in athletics from the 1936 Olympics. BBC Radio broadcast its first cricket commentary in 1927, the Rev F H Gillingham commentating on the Essex versus New Zealand match from Leyton.  Today in 1935 Northamptonshire County Cricket Club gains (over Somerset at Taunton by 48 runs) what proved to be their last victory for 99 matches, a record in the County Championship. Their next Championship win was not until May 29, 1939. English born yachtsman Chay Blyth was born in 1940. Born today in 1949, Johan Schans, Dutch swimmer who competed in the 200m and 4×200m freestyle at the 1968 Olympics, but failed to reach the finals. In 1969 he changed to marathon swimming and finished second in the 42km (26 mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 10h 12′ and fourth in the 57km (36 mile) Santa Fe-Coronda river swim in Argentina in 8h 1′. Overall he was ranked 2nd in the world in 1969 and first in 1970. Later in the 1970s he broke the world record in 10 mile swim on more than one occasion.  In 1970, he was inducted to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Trains ran on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales today in 1951 for the first time since preservation, making it the first railway in the world to be operated by volunteers. Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser was born in Clackmannan, Scotland in 1955. Fraser runs Culburnie Records, and is a leading artist on the label. He has founded three summer fiddling programs: the Valley of the Moon fiddle camp in California (in 1984), a week-long course on the Isle of Skye (in 1987) and the more recent Sierra Fiddle Camp in California (in 2006). Adept in various Scottish idioms, in recent years, with cellist Natalie Haas, he has helped reconstruct and revive the Scottish tradition of playing dance music on violin and cello (“wee fiddle” and “big fiddle”).  Wakefield beat Hull 38-5 in the 1960 Rugby League Challenge Cup final to record the highest score ever made in a final to date. On this day in 1973, Skylab, the United States’ first space station, was launched. In 1977 Bobby Moore played his last competitive match for second-division Fulham, away to Blackburn Rovers. He ended on a losing note, with the home side winning 1-0. On the same day in 1977 Liverpool became the first club to win the first-division title ten times when they drew 0-0 at home the West Ham. Liverpool went on to increase their number of titles to 18. Wimbledon announced in 1991 that they were moving from Plough Lane to Selhurst Park for the 1991-92 season.  Today in 2014 the New York Times’ fires its first female executive editor Jill Abramson after three years in the position; Abramson was replaced by Dean Baquet, the newspaper’s first African-American executive editor. The American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter and producer Riley B. King known professionally as B.B. King died on this day 2015 aged 88. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname “The King of the Blues”, and one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” along with Albert King and Freddie King.  King was known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing at more than 200 concerts per year on average into his 70s. In 1956, he reportedly appeared at 342 shows. King was born on a cotton plantation in Berclair, Mississippi, and later worked at a cotton gin in Indianola, Mississippi. He was attracted to music and the guitar in church, and began his performance career in juke joints and local radio. He later lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, and toured the world extensively.