5th – On this day in 1605, Guy Fawkes…….. no no no I’m not going there – can’t decide if that’s sport or leisure or in fact either!!! and Happy Birthday to son Number two who is 28 today! In 1886, David Brown, Scottish professional golfer, shoots a 157 at Musselburgh Links to win the 26th British Open. He also finished second in the 1903 US Open and had 12 top-10 finishes in major championship tournaments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1935 Parker Brothers began marketing the board game Monopoly. Arsenal manger Herbert Chapman persuaded London Transport to change the name of the proposed new underground station close to Highbury from Gillespie Road to Arsenal on this day in 1932. Jockey Lester Piggott was born in 1935.Lester comes from a family with a great racing tradition: his great-grandfather Tom Cannon rode 13 Classic winners, his grandfather Ernest Piggott rode three Grand National winners, and his father Keith trained Ayala to win the 1963 National. Lester has ridden 30 English Classic winners including nine Derby winners. Piggott retired as a jockey at the end of the 1985 flat season and became a trainer. His Eve Lodge stables housed 97 horses and sent out 34 winners. His burgeoning new career commentator and presents sports programmes on both BBC radio and television for many years. Slovenian mountaineer Tomo Cesen was born on this day 1959. He specialises in solo ascents in the Alps and Himalayas. At the age of 26 he reported that he had enchained the three Great north faces of the Alps, becoming the first person to do so solo in winter. He also claimed a number of other notable mountaineering achievements, but some of his claimed ascents have often been met with scepticism from others in the mountaineering community. The most controversial was his 1990 solo ascent of Lhotse, the 4th highest mountain in the world. One of the more popular routes on K2 is named after him – the Cesen Route – after he soloed it in 1986.
6th – In 1814, Adolphe Sax, instrument maker and inventor of the saxophone was born. The physical education instructor who in 1891 invented the game of Basketball, James Naismith, was born on this day in 1861. Mark McCormack, founder and head of the International Management Group (IMG) was born in 1930. The former lawyer signed up Arnold Palmer as his first client in 1960 and went on to become the “most powerful man in sport”, according to Sports Illustrated magazine. In the process he became hugely wealthy and his IMG Group was responsible for ensuring generations of sportsmen also gained riches that would have been unimaginable before McCormack redefined the sports business. Soon after clinching the deal with Palmer, McCormack signed a talented South African newcomer by the name of Gary Player and a fledgling American professional called Jack Nicklaus. In 1968, McCormack branched out into tennis, signing Australian great Rod Laver. He soon added Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. IMG’s current list of clients includes tennis stars Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Tim Henman and the Williams sisters and golf stars Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia. The company has also grown to be a major player in the football market as well as representing athletes from rugby, cricket, motor racing and a host of other sports. He died in May 2003. On this day in 1956 both Holland and Spain withdrew from the Olympics in protest against the Soviets in Hungary. Frank Vandenbroucke, a Belgian professional road racing cyclist, was born today in 1974. He was the great hope of Belgian cycling in the 1990s but a remarkable talent which appeared in his adolescence in athletics and then in cycle racing dissipated in a succession of drugs problems, rows with teams, suicide attempts and finally being disowned by the cycling world. His former wife described him as a cocaine addict. He is known to have had numerous drug and family problems, and to have attempted suicide. However, VDB claimed in an interview with ProCycling’s Daniel Friebe three weeks before his death to have made a near-complete recovery from the emotional issues that plagued him throughout his career. He told Friebe, “I simply realise that the last year and a half have been fantastic for me.” Nevertheless, he died of a pulmonary embolism in October 2009. Pat Tillman, professional American football player, who ended his career to enlist in the US Army in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was born on this day in 1976. He was tragically killed on April 22nd 2004 by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
7th – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal is first published on this day in 1665. In 1786 the oldest musical organisation in the USA is founded as the Stoughton Musical Society. Top three-day eventer Lucinda Green (Nee Prior-Palmer) was born in 1953. She is the 1982 World Champion and a two-time European Champion, 1975–77. She also won World team Gold in 1982, three European team golds in 1977, 1985 & 1987, and an Olympic silver medal in the team event in 1984. Between 1973 and 1984, she won a record six times at the Badminton Horse Trials, on six different horses. She also won the Burghley Horse Trials in 1977 and 1981. England international footballer Mark Hateley was born today in 1961. After playing for Portsmouth and Coventry he went to Italian club AC Milan and then to Monaco in the French league before returning to Britain and joining Rangers. His father, Tony, played for Aston Villa and Liverpool. Another English footballer, rapper and manager, who currently works as a TV commentator and pundit, John Barnes, was born on this day in 1963. A fast, skilful left winger, Barnes was born and initially raised in Jamaica, the son of a military officer from Trinidad, he moved to London with his family when he was 12 years old. He joined Watford at the age of 17 in 1981 and over the next six years made 296 appearances for the club, scoring 85 goals. He made his debut for England in 1983 and four years later joined Liverpool for £900,000. Between 1987 and 1997 Barnes won the then top-flight First Division twice and the FA Cup twice with Liverpool, scoring 106 goals in 403 matches. By the time of his last appearance for England in 1995 he had been capped 79 times—then a record for a black player. After two years with Newcastle United, he ended his playing career at Charlton Athletic in 1999. In 2006, in a poll of Liverpool fans’ favourite players, Barnes came fifth; a year later FourFourTwo magazine named him Liverpool’s best player of all time. Mark Philippoussis, Australian tennis player was born today in 1976. Of Greek and Italian descent, he turned professional in 1994. His greatest achievements are winning two Davis Cup titles with Australia in 1999 and 2003, winning the deciding rubber in the final of each. He also reached the finals of the 1998 US Open and the 2003 Wimbledon tournaments, losing to countryman Pat Rafter and Swiss Roger Federer respectively. He reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 8. He has had a minor career in modelling and starred in the American reality television dating show Age of Love. The former heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney died on this day in 1978, aged 80. Tunney was an American professional boxer who competed from 1915 to 1928. He held the world heavyweight title from 1926 to 1928, and the American light heavyweight title twice, from 1922 to 1923 Tunney had a five-fight rivalry with Harry Greb in which he won three, drew once, with one loss. He also knocked out Georges Carpentier and defeated Jack Dempsey twice; first in 1926 and again in 1927. Tunney’s successful title defence against Dempsey remains one of the most famous bouts in boxing history and is known as The Long Count Fight. He retired undefeated as a heavyweight after his victory over Tom Heeney in 1928, after which Tunney was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine. Manchester City’s Adcock, Stewart and White contributed to a hat-trick apiece to their team’s 10-1 drubbing of Huddersfield Town in 1987, then it was only the fifth time that three players had scored hat-tricks in the same Football League game. In 1991, the Los Angeles Basketball star ‘Magic’ Johnson shocked the world by announcing that he has tested positive for the AIDS virus and was retiring. “Polly” Umrigar, Indian cricketer, died on this day in 2006. He played first-class cricket for Bombay, and Test cricket in the Indian cricket team, mainly as a middle-order batsman but also bowling occasional medium pace and off spin. He captained the Indian team in eight Test matches from 1955 to 1958. When he retired in 1962, he had played in more Tests (59), scored more Test runs (3,631), and recorded more Test centuries (12), than any other Indian player. He scored the first double century by an Indian in Test cricket against New Zealand in Hyderabad. Joseph William ‘Joe’ Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe“, American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981 died today in 2011. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Frazier was known for his sheer strength, durability, formidable punching power, and all-out relentless attack.
8th – In 1602 – The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is opened to the public. The main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom and under Irish Law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as “Bodley” or “the Bod”, it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms. Jockey Fred Archer died on this day in 1886 from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The 29-year-old former champion had suffered from depression for two years following the death of his wife in childbirth. Born on this day in 1943, Martin Peters, a former football player and manager and a member of the England team which won the 1966 World Cup as well as playing in the 1970 FIFA World Cup. Peters played club football for West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City and Sheffield United. He briefly managed Sheffield United before retiring from professional football in 1981. A free kick specialist, Peters was described by England manager Sir Alf Ramsey, after a game against Scotland in 1968, as being “ten years ahead of his time” His versatility was such that while he was at West Ham he played in every position in the team, including goalkeeper in his third game, replacing an injured Brian Rhodes. With his transfer from West Ham United to Tottenham Hotspur in 1970, he became Britain’s first £200,000 footballer. Dutch professional cyclist Jan Raas was born today in 1952. His 115 wins include the 1979 World Road Race Championship in Valkenburg, he also won the Tour of Flanders in 1979 and 1983, Paris–Roubaix in 1982 and Milan–San Remo in 1977. He won ten stages in the Tour de France. In six starts, Raas won the Amstel Gold Race five times. Penny Heyns, former South African swimmer, was born today in 1974. She is best known for being the only woman in the history of the Olympic Games to have won both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events – at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games – making her South Africa’s first post-apartheid Olympic gold medallist following South Africa’s re-admission to the Games in 1992. Along with Australian champion Leisel Jones, Heyns is regarded as one of the greatest breaststroke swimmers. Born a year later in 1975 was Ángel Corella López, former principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, the only Spanish to have achieved such a position in history and guest artist with the Royal Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, La Scala and the Australian Ballet among many others. Considered one of the leading dancers of his generation he has received numerous awards including the Prix Benois de la Danse and the national award of Spain. He is also credited with ushering in a new era of for male ballet in America thanks to his appearance in the iconic 2002 documentary Born to be wild and successful franchise show Kings of the dance. This day 1984 marked the first class cricket debut of Wasim Akram, two months before his first Test appearance. Akram is regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of game. He holds the world record for most wickets in List A cricket with 881 and is second only to Sri Lankan off-spin bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of ODI wickets with 502. He is considered to be one of the founders and perhaps the finest exponent of reverse swing bowling. In October 2013, Wasim Akram was the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in an all-time Test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
9th – On this day in 1861 the first documented Canadian Football match was played, a form of gridiron, it took place at Univerisity College, Toronto. Born on this day in 1921 was Viktor Chukarin, a Soviet gymnast. He won eleven medals including seven gold medals at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics (including the individual all-around title on both occasions) and was the all-around world champion in 1954. He was the most successful athlete at the 1952 Summer Olympics. In 1923, Alice Marie Coachman was born, an American high-jumper, she was the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. At the 1948 games in London she triumphed with an American and Olympic record of 1.68 meters (5.51 feet). Davis was the only American woman to win a gold medal at the 1948 games and was honoured with a 175-mile motorcade in Georgia when she returned from London. However, the black and white audiences were segregated at her official ceremony in Albany. In 1967 the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was published. An American bi-weekly that focuses on popular cuture, founded by Jann Wenner, still the publisher today, and music critic Ralph J Gleason. Today in 1976, Armas Rudolf Taipale, Finnish athlete died. He competed at the 1912 Summer Olympics and won gold medals in two discus throw events, conventional and two-handed, where the total was counted as a sum of best throws with a left hand and with a right hand. After WWI he won a silver medal in the conventional discus throw at the 1920 Olympics and finished tenth in the shot put. At the 1924 Olympics he competed only in the discus throw and finished in 12th place. Taipale set two unofficial discus world records. Today in 1985. Garry Kasparov at the age of 22 beacme the youngest World Chess Champion by beatin his fellow Soviet and defending champion Anatoly Karpov. World Anti-Doping Agency commission report on this day in 2015 recommends that Russian Federation be banned from athletics competition for running a “state-supported” doping programme.
10th – The BBC televised its first Rugby League game in 1951, an international between England and New Zealand at Swinton. Mike Powell, the man who broke Bob Beamon’s 23-year old world record in the long jump, was born today in 1963. He won the gold medal at the world championship at Tokyo in 1991 with a record leap of 29 feet 4½ inches (10.2m). In the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, however, Carl Lewis, the defending champion, avenged defeat in the world championships by taking the medal, and as in Seoul in 1988, Powell had to be content with silver. ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson announced his retirement from boxing on this day in 1965 after more than 25 years in the professional ring. A month earlier the 44-year old former world middleweight and welterweight champion had lost on points to Joey Archer in Pittsburgh. Robinson won 175 and drew 6 of his 202 professional fights. In 1969 the American TV station PBS first airs Sesame Street. A long-time favourite of children and adults alike, it bridges many cultural and educational gaps. Big Bird leads a cast of characters teaching children numbers, colours and the alphabet. Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover are just a few of the other creatures involved in this show, set on a city street full of valuable learning opportunities. Henry Cooper won the European heavyweight title for the third time on this day in 1970 when he stopped Jose Urtain of Spain in the ninth round. Cooper had relinquished the title the previous year because of injury bit still manged to win the title back at the age of 36.Sticking with the boxing theme, Larry Holmes knocks out Alfredo Evangelist in the seventh round to win the heavyweight boxing title on this day in 1978. Bill Gates introduces Window 1.0 on this day in 1983 – yes amazing isn’t it, who thought it was much later?? Sir Gordon Richards, one of the greats and most successful of all British jockeys, died in 1986 at the age of 82. Steve Davis suffered his biggest defeat in a final in 13 years as a professional when he was beaten 9-1 by Stephen Hendry in the final of the 1989 Duty Free Masters in Dubai. It was today in 1991 that Martina Navratilova ties Chris Evert with 157 professional tennis tournament wins. Spaniard Marc Marquez wins the 2013 MotoGP World Championship to become its youngest ever winner at 20.
11th – The first track and field meeting held by the New York Athletics club is held today in 1868 at the Empirew Skating Raink in New York. The meeting was organised by William B Curtis, who had recently formed the club. He himself won the 75 yard dash in 9.0 seconds, he also introduced spiked shoes at this meeting. Haruhiro Yamashita, Japanese gymnast, was born today in 1938. He competed in the 1964 Summer Olympics where he won two gold medals, in the vault and team combined exercises. After his marriage he changed his last name from Yamashita to Matsuda. In 1961, he graduated from Nippon Sport Science University, where in 1983 he became professor and later professor emeritus. In the early 1970s he was an assistant gymnastics coach under Roger Council at the Indiana State University. There he began his research on biorhythms. Yamashita also trained the national gymnastics team, at the 1976 Summer Olympics and at the Asian Games in 1990, and held senior positions with the Japan Gymnastics Association. In 2000 Yamashita was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Died on this day in 1962 aged 84 was American swimmer and water polo player Joseph Aloysius Ruddy, Sr. He represented the United States at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. Ruddy won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the men’s 4×50-yard freestyle relay. He won a second gold medal as a member of the first-place U.S. water polo team. Ruddy was the father of 1928 Olympic swimmer Ray Ruddy. In 1986, Pakistan’s Jahangir Khan lost his first match since April 1981 when he went down to Ross Norman in the first round of the World Open Squash Championship. In 1990, Monica Seles beat Gabriela Sabatini 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Virginia Slims Championship in New York. It was the first five-set match in a major women’s event since the 1901 US Championship doubles. Joe Egan, English professional rugby league footballer of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and coach of the 1950s and 1960s died on this day in 2012. He played at representative level for Great Britain, and England, and at club level for Wigan from 1938 to 1950, and Leigh, as a Hooker, or Second-row, during the era of contested scrums. Egan is a Wigan Hall of Fame inductee, and was a life member at Wigan.