23rdFrederick Holman, British swimmer died on this day in 1913. Born in 1883 he was a member of the Dawlish Swimming club in Devon. Holman represented Great Britain at the 1908 London Olympics winning gold in the 200m breaststroke in a then world record time of 3:09.2 He died of typhoid fever in Exeter aged 29. His brother Frank, learning from Frederick’s great swimming skill, kept himself afloat two hours in the North Atlantic and was rescued from the sinking of the Lusitania.  One of the most successful managers in Football League history, Bob Paisley, was born in 1919.   He joined Liverpool from Bishop Auckland as a player in 1939 and stayed over 40 years with the club.   He took over from Bill Shankly in 1974 and went on to lead the club through an unprecedented period of success, capturing six League titles, the European Cup three times, the Milk Cup three times and the UEFA and European Super Cups once each. He was manager of the year a record six times.   On this day in 1958 Pakistan batsman Hanif Mohammad, the first star of Pakistan cricket, the “Little Master” played the longest innings in Test history – his 970-minute 337 against West Indies in Bridgetown lasted four days and still stands as a record today. He then followed it a year later with the highest first-class innings to that point, 499 run out, which stood as a record for more than three decades. With such feats, broadcast on radio, he turned cricket in Pakistan from the preserve of the Lahore educated elite into the mass sport it is today. Although famous for his immaculate defence and never hitting the ball in the air, Hanif could also attack, and was probably the originator of the reverse-sweep. His versatility extended to captaining and keeping wicket, and bowling right- and left-handed in Test cricket. But in addition to being the jack of all trades, he was the master of one. On this day in 1972 Ard Schenk becomes European all-round skating champion. Bjorn Borg announces his retirement from professional tennis today in 1983. In 1993 Graham Gooch scores his 100th 100,on tour at Cuttack, while in 1996 Chris Cairns scores 120 off 96 balls – 10 fours and 9 sixes in the New Zealand v Zimbabwe Test Match.


24th – The world’s oldest badminton club is reputed to have been formed in England as the Newcastle Badminton Club today in 1900. We don’t know when the game was invented or by whom. It is believed to be an ancient Indian, Grecian, or Chinese game. The game has been in Europe since medieval times. Early rackets were solid, rather than the meshed ones in use today.  In the 1850s, British Army officers in Pune, India added the net for an extra challenge. They played often at the Duke of Beaufort’s estate called “Badminton House,” hence the name. The rules to the game were standardized by the Bath Badminton Club and written up in 1887. By 1893 there was a Badminton Association of England publication with the regulations set down, very similar to today’s rules. The first All England Open Badminton championships were held in 1899, the first of its kind in the world. The International Badminton Federation was established in 1934 and it is now called the Badminton World Federation. The original nine member nations have since expanded with 159 member associations. Robert Baden-Powell founds the Boy Scouts in 1908, with the publication of the first instalment of his Scouting for Boys Lieutenant General Baden-Powell began the movement in order to aid young boys in their physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Marie TallChief was born on this day in 1925, was considered America’s first major prima ballerina and was the first Native American to hold the rank. Almost from birth, Tall Chief was involved in dance, starting formal lessons at age three. When she was eight, her family relocated from her birth home of Fairfax, Oklahoma, to Los Angeles to advance the careers of her and her younger sister, Marjorie. At age 17, she moved to New York City in search of a spot with a major ballet company, she spent the next five years with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where she met legendary choreographer George Balanchine. When Balanchine co-founded what would become the New York City Ballet in 1946, Tallchief became the company’s first star. The combination of Balanchine’s difficult choreography and Tallchief’s passionate dancing revolutionized the ballet. Her 1949 role in The Firebird catapulted Tallchief to the top of the ballet world, establishing her as a prima ballerina. Her role as the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker transformed the ballet from obscure to America’s most popular. She travelled the world, becoming the first American to perform in Moscow‘s Bolshoi Theatre. She made regular appearances on American TV before she retired in 1966. After retiring from dance, Tallchief was active in promoting ballet in Chicago. She served as director of ballet for the Lyric Opera of Chicago for most of the 1970s, and debuted the Chicago City Ballet in 1981. Tallchief was honoured by the people of Oklahoma with multiple statues and an honorific day. She was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame and received a National Medal of Arts. In 1996, Tallchief received a Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievements. Her life has been the subject of multiple documentaries and biographies. She died in 2013. The BBC televised its first steeplechase in 1948, from Sandown Park. Yugoslav tennis player Monica Seles won her second successive Australian open title in 1992 when she beat Mary-Jo Fernandez of the USA 6-2, 6-3. A year earlier she had defeated Jana Novotna 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 to become, at 17, the youngest-ever Australian women’s champion. Mary Lou Retton, american gymnast was born in 1968. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silvers and two bronze. Her performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States. Retton was the first ever American woman to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympics and was the only one to do so for twenty years. She is credited with being a pioneering figure in American women’s gymnastics. Furthermore, prior to Retton’s Olympic triumph, no American woman had won all-around gold at the World Championships. Rebecca Romero, English sportswoman, a former World Champion and Olympic Games silver medallist at rowing, and a former World champion and former Olympic champion track cyclist was born on this day in 1980.


25th – On this day in 1755, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University was established at the instigation of Ivan Shuvalov and Mikhail Lomonosov by a decree of the Russian Empress Elizabeth. It is the largest and arguably the oldest university in Russia. Lord Lonsdale, the president of the National Sporting Club, who lends his name to the most coveted trophy in British boxing, the Lonsdale Belt, was born in 1857. His belts, which were inaugurated in 1909, become the permanent property of any boxer who wins three British title fights in a weight division. The first person to win one outright was featherweight Jim Driscoll in January 1911. On this day in 1895 Wales lost 3-0 to Ireland at Rhyl in the first international hockey match. The first Winter Olympics got underway at Chamonix, France in 1924. A total of 281 men and 13 women from 16 countries took part. The competitions were held at the foot of Mont Blanc and were organized by the French Olympic Committee. They were held in association with the 1924 Summer Olympics. After the fact, the International Olympic Committee renamed them I Olympic Winter Games. From 1924 until 1992, winter games were held in the same year as the Summer Games. Beginning in 1994, the Winter Games were held two years before the Summer Games. Spanish motor-cyclist Angel Nieto was born in 1947. He won seven world 125cc and six 50cc titles. He retired in 1986 at the age of 39 with a total of 90 Grand Prix victories and 13 World Championships. Known to be superstitious, he prefers to refer to his championship tally as “12+1”. His total of 90 Grand Prix victories is third only to the 122 by Giacomo Agostini, and the 114 of Valentino Rossi. 1952 saw the Test debut of Australian cricketer Richie Benaud, v West indies at the SCG. In 1992, Britain’s Steve Backley became the first man to throw the modified javelin 300m (91 feet) at a meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. In 1999 after an inquiry into a corruption scandal, 6 International Olympic Committee members are expelled. The six were identified at the end of an investigation by the IOC into allegations of corruption during the awarding of the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City, in Utah. In all, the investigation named 13 IOC officials who were alleged to have taken cash or services in return for helping Salt Lake City win the right to host the Olympics. The total spent by the Salt Lake Organising Committee (SLOC) in gifts to visiting IOC members was later revealed as over $1m. Similar gift-giving well in excess of levels recommended by the IOC was later admitted by Nagano, Japan, which hosted the 1998 Winter Games. Officials in Atlanta, site of the 1996 Games, also admitted some misconduct. At a meeting in December 1999, the IOC voted to ban expenses-paid visits to cities bidding for the Olympics. It stopped short of the recommendation to reduce drastically the number of members who could vote on where a Games is held. Instead, it introduced a new elected system for choosing IOC delegates, and set up an ethics committee to watch specifically for signs of corruption. Juan Antonio Samaranch retired after serving his full term, in 2001. He was succeeded by Jacques Rogge, of Belgium. Plans for Euro 2020 are announced on this day in 2013 by UEFA, the football championship is to be held in 13 cities in 13 different European countries.


26th – On this day in 1871, the Rugby Football Union was formed. 21 clubs were represented by 32 people at a meeting chaired by EC Holmes, the Captain of Richmond Club. It was held at the Pall Mall Restaurant in London. Within two hours the deed was done and the new Rugby Union was announced. Algernon Rutter of Richmond was elected as the first President, with Edwin Ash as the first Secretary/Treasurer. Golfer Henry Cotton was born in 1907. He was the last Briton before Nick Faldo to win the British Open three times and was the only golfer to win the tiles both before and after the Second World War. His second-round 65 during his first Open win at Sandwich in 1934 was one of the finest seen in the championship and remained a record for a single round for more than 40 years. He also won the title in 1937 and 1948, at Carnoustie and Muirfield respectively. The 7th Winter Olympics opened on this day in 1956, they were held in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy. Today in 1977 the Soviet figure skaters Sergei Shakrai & Marine Tcherkasova were the first pair to perform a quadruple twist lift.  Heather Stanning, British professional rower, a member of the Great Britain Rowing Team, and Royal Artillery officer was born today in 1985. Ranked number 1 female rower in the world since 2016, she is a double Olympic champion, double World champion, quadruple World Cup champion and double European champion. As of May 2015 she and her partner Helen Glover are the World, Olympic, World Cup and European record holders, plus the reigning Olympic, World, and European champions in the women’s coxless pairs. She has also been a British champion in both women’s fours and quad sculls. She was a Captain, now a Major, in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery but has been given dispensation from the army to pursue an Olympic career with the British team at both the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Paired with Helen Glover in 2012 she won an Olympic gold medal, the first for their country of the 2012 Games and the first ever British Olympic gold medal in women’s rowing. She set the world record time in partnership with Helen Glover at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, and they retained their World title at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Lac d’Aiguebelette, France. In 2016 they retained their European title and set the World Rowing Cup record time at Poznan. She announced her retirement from rowing in November 2016. Allan Border takes 7-46 against the West Indies at the SCG in 1989. West Indies beat Australia by one run in the Fourth Test at Adelaide in 1993, the narrowest winning margin in Test Cricket history. Today in 2014 Stanislas Wawrinka wins his first Grand Slam title when he beat Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.


27th – On this day in 1913 American Athlete Jim Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic medals when it was discovered he had been paid for playing baseball a couple of years earlier. Of mixed Irish/French/Red Indian descent, Thorpe was an outstanding footballer and baseball player. He was also a keen athlete and was selected for the 1912 Stockholm Games. He won the pentathlon and decathlon gold medals and finished fourth in the high jump and seventh in long jump. He returned to the US a national hero, but by the following January it was revealed that he had received $25 for playing minor league baseball in 1909 and 1910. He was stripped of his medals. Thorpe enjoyed successful careers in professional baseball and gridiron before dying suddenly at the age of 64 in 1953.   In January 1983 thirty years after his family made moves to have his name reinstated in the record books, his gold medals were presented to his children. On this day in 1969 in the final of the 1st Women’s Australian Open (the 57th edition of the tournament), Billie-Jean King beat Margaret Court 6-4, 6-1. Thomas Sopwith English aviation pioneer and yachtsman died on this day in 1989 at the age of 101. When he was ten years old, whilst on a family holiday on the Isle of Lismore, near Oban in Scotland, a gun lying across young Thomas’s knee went off, killing his father. This accident haunted Sopwith for the rest of his life. Sopwith was interested in motor cycles, and took part in the 100-mile Tricar trial in 1904 where he was one of four medal winners.  He also tried hot air ballooning, his first ascent being in C.S. Rolls’ balloon in June 1906. Together with Phil Paddon he bought his own hot air balloon from Short Brothers. For a while he was in business with Phil Paddon selling automobiles as Paddon & Sopwith, Albermarle St, Picadilly, London. In his youth, he was an expert ice skater and played in goal during Princes Ice Hockey Club’s 1908 match with C. P. P. Paris and during the 1909–10 season. He was also a member of the Great Britain national ice hockey team that won the gold medal at the first ever European Championships in 1910. Sopwith became interested in flying after seeing John Moisant flying the first cross-Channel passenger flight. His first flight was with Gustave Blondeau in a Farman at Brooklands. He soon taught himself to fly on a Howard Wright Avis monoplane and took to the air on his own for the first time on 22 October 1910. He crashed after travelling about 300 yards (275 m), but soon improved, and on 22 November was awarded Royal Aero Club Aviation Certificate No. 31, flying a Howard Wright 1910 Biplane. On 18 December 1910, Sopwith won a £4000 prize for the longest flight from England to the Continent in a British-built aeroplane, flying 169 miles (272 km) in 3 hours 40 minutes. He used the winnings to set up the Sopwith School of Flying at Brooklands. In June 1912 Sopwith with Fred Sigrist and others set up the Sopwith Aviation Company, initially at Brooklands. On 24 October 1912 using a Wright Model B completely rebuilt by Sopwith and fitted with an ABC 40 hp engine.  Harry Hawker took the British Michelin Endurance prize with a flight of 8h 23m. Sopwith Aviation got its first military aircraft order in November 1912, and in December moved to larger premisies in Kingston upon Thames. The company produced more than 18,000 British World War I aircraft for the allied forces, including 5747 of the Sopwith Camel single-seat fighter. Bankrupted after the war by punitive anti-profiteering taxes, he re-entered the aviation business a few years later with a new firm named after his chief engineer and test pilot, Harry Hawker. Sopwith became chairman of the new firm, Hawker Aircraft. After the nationalisation of the aviation interests of what was by then Hawker Siddeley, he continued to work as a consultant to the company until 1980. His yachting exploits were just as impressive – Sopwith challenged the America’s Cup with his J-class yachts, Endeavour, in 1934, and with Endeavour II in 1937. Sopwith funded, organised and helmed the yachts. He did not win the Cup but he became a Cup legend by nearly winning it in 1934. He was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1927 Sopwith commissioned yacht builders Camper and Nicholsons to build a luxury motor yacht he named Vita. She was sold in 1929 to Sir John Shelley-Rolls who renamed her Alastor  During World War II the Royal Navy commandeered her to ferry provisions to Navy vessels moored at the entrance to Strangford Lough. In 1946 a fire gutted her and she sank in Ringhaddy Sound at the back of Strangford Lough.In 1937 Sopwith received the yacht Philante, also built for him by Camper and Nicholsons. During the Second World War the ship was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and used as a convoy escort vessel, HMS Philante. After the war the vessel was returned to Sopwith and he sold it to Norway in 1947, to be used as a royal yacht for the Norwegian king. Sopwith was awarded the CBE in 1918 and knighted in 1953. Today in 1995 Manchester United’s Eric Cantona was fined £20,000 and banned from playing football over his kung fu-style attack on a fan. The club relegated the French star striker to the bench for nine months for lashing out at a fan in the front row during a game against Crystal Palace two days previously. Cantona was also stripped of his captaincy of the French national team and he lost his place in the side. Cantona claimed the fan, Matthew Simmons, shouted racial insults and threw a missile at him as he walked off the pitch after being given a red card for kicking another player during a tackle. Cantona was sentenced to two weeks in prison, reduced to 120 hours community service for the attack. During a news conference Eric Cantona cryptically referred to the British press as “a flock of seagulls following the trawler”. Cantona returned to action for Manchester United on 1 October and scored a penalty in a 2-2 draw against Liverpool. Today in 2010 Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, unveils a new invention, a tablet PC called the iPad, at a press conference in San Francisco. Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic wins the Austrian open in a four set victory over Britain’s Andy Murray on this day in 2013.


28th– The novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is first published in the United Kingdom today in 1813. On this day in 1896 Walter Arnold of East Peckham in Kent, becomes the first person to be convicted of speeding. He is fined one shilling, plus costs, for speeding at 8mph (13kph), thereby exceeding the contemporary speed limit of 2mph (3.2 kph). The first Monte Carlo Rally ended in 1911 with Frenchman Henri Rougier, in a Toucat-Mery, declared the winner. The world land speed record on a public road is broken today in 1938 by Rudolf Caracciola in the Mercedes-Benz W195 on the Reichs-Autobahn A5 between Frankfurt and Darmstadt.  Caracciola set a new average speed of 432.7 kilometres per hour (268.9 mph) for the flying kilometre and 432.4 kilometres per hour (268.7 mph) for the flying mile, speeds which remain to this day as some of the fastest ever achieved on public roads. Sjoukje Dijkstra, the Dutch competitive figure skater was born today in 1942. She is the 1964 Olympic champion in ladies’ singles, the 1960 Olympic silver medalist, a three-time World champion (1962–1964), five-time European champion (1960–1964), and the six-time Dutch national champion (1959–1964). South African golfer Nick Price was born in 1957. Today in 1958 the Lego company patented the design of its Lego bricks which are still compatible with bricks produced today. Today in 1959 the Soviet Union beat the USA 62-37 inflicting the 1st International Basketball loss suffered by the Americans. Libby Trickett Nee Lenton, Austrlaian swimmer, was born today in 1985. She was a gold medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. She was the world record holder in the short-course 100m freestyle. Helen Sawyer Hogg died today in 1993 – an astronomer noted for pioneering research into globular clusters and variable stars. She was the first female president of several astronomical organizations and a notable woman of science in a time when many universities would not award scientific degrees to women. Her scientific advocacy and journalism included astronomy columns in the Toronto Star (“With the Stars”, 1951–81) and the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (“Out of Old Books”, 1946–65). She was considered a “great scientist and a gracious person” over a career of sixty years. Don Starkell Canadian adventurer, diarist and author, perhaps best known for his achievements in canoeing died on this day in 2012. He took up canoeing in his teens and at age 17 was named Most Outstanding Novice at the Kildonan Canoe Club.  He competed professionally as a canoeist, winning 10 out of 12 races that he entered. In 1967, he was a member of the Manitoba team that competed in the Expo 67 Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant race from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to Montreal, Quebec. The team won the race after a gruelling effort lasting 104 days. On June 1, 1980, he and his two sons, Dana and Jeff Starkell set out on an epic canoe journey from Winnipeg to Belem, Brazil. The trip followed the Red River to its headwaters south of Fargo, North Dakota. From there the canoeists portaged to the Minnesota River and then continued down the Mississippi River to the Intracoastal Waterway at La Rose, Louisiana. They followed the Waterway south to Mexico, then skirted the coast of Mexico to Veracruz where they spent three and a half months (November 1980 to mid February 1981) to recover from the journey to date, a journey that had been—and would continue to be—fraught with difficulty. By this time, Jeff Starkell decided to abandon the adventure and Donald and Dana continued on alone. They paddled along the rest of Mexico and Central America to South America. Off the Guajira Peninsula in Colombia they were beset by modern pirates but escaped. They almost died on the Gulf of Coro, Venezuela after being trapped on a sandbar by strong headwinds as their food supplies ran out. Eventually, on October 14, 1981 they made land at Port of Spain, Trinidad, where they recuperated for six weeks. On New Years Day, 1982, they set off from Port of Spain and three days later crossed the Columbus Channel to Venezuela. There, at Pedernales, they entered the delta of the Orinoco River. Over the next two months they paddled virtually the entire length of the Orinoco to Tama Tama where they entered the Casiquiare canal, the only natural canal in the world. Via this route they reached the Rio Negro and then the Amazon River at Manaus, Brazil. From Manaus, they paddled downriver to the Atlantic coast. The journey ended at Belem on May 2, 1982. In 1986, the names of Don Starkell and his son Dana were entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for having completed the longest canoe journey ever, a distance of 12,181 miles (19,603 kilometres). He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition of his all-round athletic excellence.


29th Elizaveta Gerdt, Russian dancer and teacher whose career links the Russian imperial and Soviet schools of classical dance, was born today in 1891. A daughter of celebrated dancer Paul Gerdt, she studied under Michel Fokine at the Imperial Ballet School, where her chief partner was Vaslav Nijinsky. She married another popular danseur, Samuil Adrianov, who danced with Pierina Legnani and Mathilde Kschessinska, two ballerinas she sought to emulate. After the Russian Revolution Elizaveta Gerdt and Olga Spesivtseva were the only world-class dancers who chose to remain in Russia, while others emigrated to the West. In 1928, after 20 years of dancing, she resolved to abandon the stage and devote herself to teaching. She taught the class of perfection for the female dancers in the Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theatre together with teaching the girls in her Alma mater (1927-1934). Then she moved from Leningrad to Moscow. There she taught the class for the female dancers at the Bolshoi Theatre, coaching ballerinas of the Bolshoi Ballet and also worked at the Moscow Ballet School (1935-1942 and 1945-1960). Among her students were Alla Shelest (in Leningrad), Irina Tikhomirnova, Maya Plisetskaya, Violetta Bovt, Mira Redina, Raisa Struchkova, Ekaterina Maksimova (in Moscow). With some of them she continued to collaborate at the theatre. Thus she coached Sulamith Messerer and later her niece Maya Plisetskaya. She died in 1975 at the age of 84. Today in 1929 The Seeing Eye, America’s first school for training dogs to guide the blind was founded in Nashville, Tennessee. On the day in 1936 the first players were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. They were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. South African motor-racing driver Jody Scheckter was born in 1950. He started his formula one career with Tyrrell and then partnered the new Wolf car to its first success in the opening race of the 1977 season in Argentina. Two years later, now with Ferrari, Scheckter became the first and only South African to lift the world championship, with wins in the Belgian, Italian and Monaco grand prix. Twelve months after lifting the world crown, and with a career total of 11 grand prix wins from 112 starts he announced his retirement. The 9th Winter Olympic Games opened today in 1964 at Innsbruck in Austria. The Australian cricketer David Boon played his last day of Test Cricket on this day in 1996. Known for his portly figure and distinctive moustache, Boon scored more than 7,000 runs at Test level, and made more than 100 appearances for both the Test and One Day International Australian side. After leaving the international game he went to England to captain Durham before retiring to become a national selector. Staying with cricket, today in 2006 the Indian Test bowler Irfan Pathan became the first man to take a Test hat-trick in the opening over of a match. The game was against Pakistan at Karachi. In 2011 the 450 year-old painting by Titian of the Madonna and Child sold for for $16.9m (£10.7m) in New York, setting a new auction record for the Renaissance master and sold to a European telephone bidder. It beat the previous Titian auction record of £7.5m ($11.9m) paid at Christie’s in London in December 1991. That was the price achieved for the artist’s Venus and Adonis painting. A spokeswoman for Sotheby’s said The Madonna and Child was “one of only a handful of multi-figured compositions by Titian that remain in private hands”. Christiano Ronaldo became the first non-Spanish player to captain Real Madrid in making his 500th appearance for the club.