On this day in 1704 the first regular newspaper in British Colonial America, The Boston News-Letter, is published. In 1741 George Stevenson became the first fighter to lose his life as a direct result of a prize fight. He died after a bout with Jack Broughton at Taylor’s Booth, Tottenham Court Road. On this day in 1792 Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle composes “La Marseillaise”, it went on to become France’s national anthem. The United States Library of Congress is established today in 1800, when President John Adams signs legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress”. Sandy Herd, Scottish professional golfer was born in 1868. He was the club professional at Huddersfield Golf Club from 1892 to 1911. In 1902, he won The Open Championship at Hoylake. He had a three shot lead after 54 holes, but nearly let the title slip out of his hands by scoring an 81 in the final round. Harry Vardon and James Braid both had medium length putts at the final hole to force a play-off, but they missed and Herd took the Championship. He was the first Open Champion to use the Haskell rubber-cored ball. In 1920 he became the oldest runner-up in The Open before Tom Watson in 2009. Herd’s appearances in The Open Championship spanned fifty years, his last appearance being at St Andrews in 1939, when he was 71. On that occasion he failed to qualify for the tournament. Herd’s brother Fred won the 1898 US Open. In 1880 the Amateur Athletic Association, the then governing body for men’s athletics in England & Wales, was founded in Oxford. It is the oldest national governing body for athletics in the world; three men from Oxford University were responsible for its founding Clement Jackson, Montague Shearman and Bernhard Wise. The first AAA Championships were held on the 3 July 1880 at Lillie Bridge. Dame Marea Hartman was the first woman president of the AAA when she was appointed in 1991. The AAA of England was formed in 1991 following the merger of the previous AAA and the Women’s AAA (formed in 1922). In 1897 Batley beat St Helens 10-3 in front of 13,292 fans at Headingley, Leeds, to win the first Northern Union Cup (now the Rugby League Challenge Cup). Inga Gentzel, later Dahlgren, was born today in 1908. She was a Swedish runner, who won bronze in the 800m at the 1928 Olympics. Shortly before the Olympics she set a new world record in this event, which was broken two weeks later, but remained a national record until 1943. Gentzel won silver in the 1000m at the 1926 Women’s World Games. Gentzel held Swedish titles in the 200m in 1929 and in the 800m in 1928–31. She worked as a piano teacher in Nyköping and often appeared on the Swedish radio as a member of the vocal group Trio Rita, together with Ulla Castegren and Anna-Lisa Cronström. In 1916 Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat fromunihabited elephant Island in the Southern ocean to organise a rescue for the crew of the sunken Endurance. Tommy Docherty, the football manager reputed to have had more clubs that Jack Nicklaus was born on this day in 1928. In his playing days he was with Celtic and Preston North End, at the latter taking over the number 4 shirt from Bill Shankly. He enjoyed success as a manager at Chelsea and Manchester United, but also endured some failures, at Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers for example. Chorley’s Carl Crook beat Najib Daho of Manchester in 1991 to retain this British lightweight title. This victory gave him the Lonsdale Belt in a record 161 days, beating his previous record of 203 days held by Robert Dickie since 1986. Laura Kenny, née Trott; was born in 1992, she is a British track and road cyclist who specialises in the team pursuit, omnium and scratch race disciplines. With four Olympic gold medals, having won the team pursuit and the omnium at both the 2012 and 2016 games, Kenny is both the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history (behind only Dutch track and road legend Leontien van Moorsel), and Great Britain’s most successful Olympic female competitor in any sport. Gary Lineker of Tottenham Hotspur received the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year Award for the second time in 1992; he first won it in 1986, while at Everton. On this day in 2012 the organizers of the London Marathon accidentally publish the home and email addresses of 38,000 entrants in the marathon on their website.
25th– On this day in 1684 a patent is granted for the thimble. As long as 30,000 years ago early mastodon hunters were using the ivory tusks to create buttons by drilling holes through disks of the substance. They then used bone rings to protect hands while attaching the buttons to heavy leather garments. The miniature cup-shaped item that we call thimbles today first made an appearance in the Etruscan area of what is modern day Italy. About 2,500 years ago, as the Etruscans moved north into the area that is now Germany, they took their technology with them and it eventually spread across Europe. In the 15th century, most thimbles were made of copper and the metal would stain the cloth as one sewed. In Germany it was discovered that adding a special soil to the copper made a metal that was a beautiful colour and stain resistant. It also stank to high heaven! An industrious unnamed scientist figured out that the ingredient in the soil that made the difference was zinc. Copper and zinc make the alloy known as brass. The secret stayed in Nuremburg for 200 years where most of the European thimbles were made. Today in 1719 Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe was published. Charles Burgess Fry, known as CB Fry, English sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher, who is best remembered for his career as a cricketer was born in 1872. John Arlott described him with the words: “Charles Fry could be autocratic, angry and self-willed: he was also magnanimous, extravagant, generous, elegant, brilliant – and fun … he was probably the most variously gifted Englishman of any age.” Fry’s achievements on the sporting field included representing England at both cricket and football, an FA Cup Final appearance for Southampton F.C. and equalling the then-world record for the long jump. He also reputedly turned down the throne of Albania. In later life, he suffered mental health problems, but even well into his seventies he claimed he was still able to perform his party trick: leaping from a stationary position backwards onto a mantelpiece. Walter de la Mare (FYI my favourite poet) was born in 1873. He is probably best remembered for his works for children, for his poem “The Listeners”, and for a highly acclaimed selection of subtle psychological horror stories, amongst them “Seaton’s Aunt” and “All Hallows”. Preferred to be known as ‘Jack’ by his family and friends as he disliked the name Walter, he worked from 1890 in the statistics department of the London office of Standard Oil for eighteen years to support his family, but nevertheless found time to write. In 1908, through the efforts of Sir Henry Newbolt he received a Civil List pension which enabled him to concentrate on writing. For the Collected Stories for Children (Faber & Faber, 1947), he won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year’s best children’s book by a British subject. It was the first collection to win the award. His ashes are buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral, where he had once been a choirboy. Ernie Webb, British race-walker, who competed for Herne Hill Harriers, was born in Hackney in 1874. He competed for Great Britain in the 1908 Olympics in the 10 mile walk where he won silver behind fellow Brit George Larner. The two of them repeated this in the 3500m walk giving Ernest Webb his second silver of the games. Four years later he returned to the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm where he competed in the inaugural 10k walk and finished off with his third Olympic silver behind Canada’s George Goulding. Lia Manoliu, Romanian discus thrower who won a gold and two bronze Olympic medals and was the first track and field athlete to compete at six Olympics (1952–1972), was born in 1932. As a teenager Manoliu competed at the national level in tennis, table tennis, volleyball and basketball, before turning to throwing events at the age of 16. Two years later she became the first Romanian woman to throw the discus over 40m (41.44m, 22 May 1950). At the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, she finished 6th with a throw of 42.64m. She bettered this distance in 1956 in Melbourne, throwing 43.90m for ninth-place. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, she held the lead after the first round with a throw of 52.36m, and although she was unable to improve it, the throw was sufficient to earn her bronze. At the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Manoliu was outside the medals after round four, but then she produced a throw of 56.96m to win her a second Olympic bronze. In the winter of 1967–68, the Romanian Athletics Federation informed the 35-year-old Manoliu that she was too old to try for the Olympics again and that she need not bother turning out for their training camp sessions. This only increased her determination, and after months of individual training, she qualified for the Mexico City Olympics. There, she carried an arm injury, and the team doctor warned her that she would not last more than one good throw. Manoliu threw 58.28m on her first attempt, which proved good enough for the gold. On 19 July 1969, Manoliu won the UK national WAAA discus title at Crystal Palace, and in 1972, she finished 9th in the discus final at the 1972 Olympics with a throw of 58.50m. She retired shortly after the 1972 Games, and in 1974 was awarded the UNESCO Fair Play Prize, for her support to the ideals of fair and loyal competition. From 1973 and until her death Manoliu served as vice-president and then as president (since 1990) of the Romanian Olympic Committee. In 1975 she was awarded the Olympic Order in bronze and in 1994 the International Olympic Committee Centennial Trophy. She was a member of the IAAF Women’s Committee (1976–1995) and of the Romanian Senate in the 1990–1992 legislature. She died of a heart attack in January 1998 after lapsing into a coma during surgery for a brain tumour the week before. Until 2012 the national stadium in Bucharest was named after her. On this day in 1947 Lou Thesz beat Whipper Watson in St Louis to win the NBS world heavyweight title. The “Crafty Cockney”, professional Darts player Eric Bristow, was born in 1957. He won the game’s major titles, including a world record five world professional darts championships. On this day in 1964 Tranmere Rovers took only four seconds from the kick-off to score against Bradford Park Avenue, a League record. The goal was credited to Jim Fryatt, although the claim is often disputed because three other players touched the ball before it entered the net, thus making four seconds seem unlikely. British Paralympic swimmer Matt Walker was born in 1978, he has participated in four Paralympic Games, winning eleven medals, in the S7 (butterfly and freestyle), SM7 (medley) and SB7 (breaststroke) classifications. Walker’s first international medal came with a bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the 1997 European Championships in Spain. Since then he has gone on to win four further European Championship medals and eight World Championship medals. He also won bronze in the 50m freestyle and finished fourth in the 100m freestyle, at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where he was the only disabled swimmer representing England. Beijing 2008 was Walker’s third appearance at a Paralympics, and his most successful to date with five medals won. He collected medals in both the 50 and 100m S7 freestyle events, as he had done in Athens, as well as in both the butterfly and medley events for the first time, winning silver in the 50m S7 butterfly, with a European record time of 32.24 seconds, and bronze in the 200m individual medley SM7. Competing alongside David Roberts, Robert Welbourn and Graham Edmunds, Walker won gold in the 4×100m freestyle 34 pts for the third time in as many Games. This meant that he has won eleven Paralympic medals, with all of his silver and bronze medals being won individually and all three golds being in relay events. Born on this day in 1981 was Swedish alpine skier Anja Pärson. She is an Olympic gold medalist, seven-time gold medalist at the World Championships, and two-time overall Alpine Skiing World Cup champion. She has won a total of 42 World Cup races. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, while trying to chase down eventual downhill champion Lindsey Vonn of the United States, Pärson lost her balance on the last jump before the finish, resulting in a 60-metre flight and subsequent fall, without however suffering serious injury. She recovered from the fall and one day later won bronze in the combined event. With a downhill victory in March 2011, she has won at least one race for ten consecutive World Cup seasons, trailing only Alberto Tomba and Vreni Schneider who won races in eleven consecutive World Cup seasons, and equalling the mark of Renate Götschl and Ingemar Stenmark. On 12 March 2012, Pärson officially announced her retirement, and that her last competition would be the World Cup final in Schladming the coming weekend. In 2014 she became an expert commentator for Viasat during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Michele Alboreto, Italian racing driver died today in 2001. He is famous for finishing runner up to Alain Prost in the1985 Formula One World Championship, as well as winning the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours and 2001 12 Hours of Sebring car races. He also competed in Formula One from 1981 until 1994, racing for a number of teams, most notably his five seasons (1984–88) driving for Ferrari. The Italian’s career in motorsport began in 1976, racing a car he and a number of his friends had built in the Formula Monza series. The car, however, achieved very little success and two years later Alboreto moved up to Formula Three. Wins in the Italian Formula Three championship and a European Formula Three Championship crown in 1980 paved the way for the Italian’s entrance into Formula One with the Tyrrell team. Two wins, the first in the final round of the 1982 season in Las Vegas, and the second a year later in Detroit, earned him a place with the Ferrari team. Alboreto took three wins for the Italian team and challenged Alain Prost for the 1985 Championship, eventually losing out by 20 points. The following three seasons were less successful however and at the end of the 1988 campaign, the Italian left Ferrari and re-signed with his former employers Tyrrell, where he stayed until joining Larrousse mid-way through 1989. Further seasons with Footwork, Scuderia Italia and Minardi followed during the tail end of his F1 career. In 1995, Alboreto moved on to sports-cars and a year later the American IndyCar. In 2001, a month after his Sebring victory, he was killed testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring in Germany.
26th– German rower, Ernst Felle was born in 1876. He was part of the German boat Ludwigshafener Ruderverein, which won the bronze medal in the coxed fours final B at the 1900 Olympics. On this day in 1903 Atlético Madrid football club was founded. Fanny Blankers-Koen was born today in 1918. A Dutch athlete, best known for winning four gold medals at the 1948 Olympics in London. She accomplished this as a 30-year-old mother of two, during a time when many disregarded women’s athletics. Her background and performances earned her the nickname “the Flying Housewife”. She was the most successful athlete at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Having started competing in athletics in 1935, she took part in the 1936 Olympics a year later. Although international competition was eliminated by World War II, Blankers-Koen set several world records during that period, in events as diverse as the long jump, high jump, and sprint and hurdling events. Apart from her four Olympic titles, she won five European titles and 58 Dutch championships, and set or tied 12 world records – the last, pentathlon, in 1951 aged 33. She retired from athletics in 1955, after which she became captain of the Dutch female track and field team. In 1999, she was voted “Female Athlete of the Century” by the IAAF. Her Olympic victories are credited with helping to eliminate the belief that age and motherhood were a barrier to success in women’s sport. After her athletic career, Blankers-Koen served as the team leader of the Dutch athletics team, from the 1958 European Championships to the 1968 Summer Olympics. In 1977, her husband Jan died. It forced her, often dependent on Jan Blankers, to become more independent. Some years after his death, she moved back to her old hometown Hoofddorp. In 1981, the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games, an international athletics event, were established. They are still held annually in Hengelo. Fanny Blankers-Koen’s last moment of glory came in 1999. At a gala in Monaco, organized by the IAAF, she was declared the “Female Athlete of the Century”. She was very surprised to have won, audibly asking “You mean it is me who has won?” In the years prior to her death, she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and lived in a psychiatric nursing home. She was also deaf. She died at age 85 in Hoofddorp on 25 January 2004. A year before her death, the first biography of Blankers-Koen was published, Een koningin met mannenbenen (A Queen with men’s legs) by journalist Kees Kooman. Through many interviews with relatives, friends and contemporary athletes, it paints a previously unknown picture of her. During her successful years, Dutch and international media portrayed her as the perfect mother (hence her nickname “The Flying Housewife”), who was very modest about her own achievements. Kooman’s book portrays Fanny Blankers-Koen in a different light, a woman who found it difficult to show affection and most of all always wanted to win. Blankers-Koen wrote an autobiography in 1949 with help from her husband. The 1924 FA Cup Final between Newcastle and Aston Villa was the first all ticket FA Cup Final. One of the BBC’s top commentators David Coleman was born on this day in 1929. Also on this day in 1929, the first non-stop flight from England to India was completed. Two Welshmen, Squadron Leader Arthur Jones-Williams and his co-pilot Flight Lieutenant Norman Jenkins, flying a Fairey Long-Range Monoplane – one of two built specifically for the RAF Long Range Development Unit set off from RAF Cranwell on 24 April. 50 hours and 38 minutes later they arrived at Karachi in the sub-continent. The Belgian middle-distance runner Roger Moens was born in 1930. In 1955 he broke Rudolf Harbig’s long-standing world record over 800m; at the 1960 Olympics in Rome he won silver in the 800m. On 3 August 1955, in the Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Moens improved Rudolf Harbig’s 16-year-old 800m world record of 1:46.6, running 1.45.7. He finished two-tenths of a second ahead of Norwegian Audun Boysen, who was also under the previous world record. Moens’ global record would stand for seven years, until it was improved in 1962 by New Zealander Peter Snell. As a Belgian record it stood for 20 years until broken in 1975 by Ivo Van Damme, who ran 1:45.31. On 8 August 1956, Moens along with his teammates set a world record in the 4×800m relay with a time of 7.15.8. Yet he did not go to the Melbourne Olympics, which took place in November. In training at night on a tennis court, he ran into a pole, injured himself, and, as world record holder and Olympic favourite, was forced to withdraw from the Games. At the Rome Games in 1960, Moens, aged 30 felt confident about the 800m, biding his time in the race, he followed the pack, waiting to unleash his final sprint in the straight, coming off the final turn Moens moved strongly into the lead and appeared to have the race won but Snell, a complete unknown at the time, passed him on the left shortly before the finish line. Snell won by inches in 1:46.3 to Moens’ 1:46.5. Immediately after the finish Moens threw himself on the grass and stayed there with his head in his hands. Years later, when asked whether the final in Rome still haunted him, he said, “Ah, it makes no sense to look back.” After retiring from competitions Moens served as a sports commentator for VRT; he interviewed his former rival Snell at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. A criminology graduate, he also worked for the Belgian judicial police, eventually becoming a commissioner general. British long-jumper Shirley Cawley was born in 1932. She won bronze in the long jump at the 1952 Olympics. Alan Hinkes was born in 1954, an English mountaineer from Northallerton in North Yorkshire, Hinkes is the first British mountaineer to have claimed all 14 mountains with elevations greater than 8,000m, the eight-thousanders; however, this claim is disputed. He is recorded as summiting Mount Everest in May 1996. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sunderland in 1999, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York in 2007. In 2011, Hinkes teamed up with UK Tours Operator, Best of Britain Holidays, to lead their Three Peaks Challenge Tour. German freestyle skier Sandra Schmitt was born today in 1981. In 1998 she came 9th in the Women’s Moguls contest at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano and the Women’s Dual Moguls World Champion in 1999. Schmitt died in the Kaprun disaster on 11 November 2000 aged 19. The Kaprun disaster was a fire that occurred in an ascending train in the tunnel of the Gletscherbahn Kaprun 2 funicular in Kaprun, Austria. The disaster claimed the lives of 155 people, leaving 12 survivors (10 Germans and two Austrians) from the burning train. The victims were all skiers on their way to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. Novlene Williams-Mills, née Novlene Williams, Jamaican track and field athlete was born in 1982. She won bronze in the 400m at the 2007 World Championships. She is also a three-time Olympic bronze medallist in the 4×400m relay. At the 2005 World Atheltics Championships she won (together with Shericka Williams, Ronetta Smith and Lorraine Fenton) silver and at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, she won bronze in the individual 400m. Williams attended the University of Florida, where she was a member of Coach Tom Jones’ Florida Gators track and field team. She graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in 2004. Novlene was born in Saint Ann, Jamaica. In July 2013, Williams-Mills told members of the media that she was diagnosed with breast cancer before the 2012 Olympics. Very few people at the time knew about the diagnosis. Despite the diagnosis, she still ran the race and was able to help Jamaica win a bronze medal. After the Olympics, Williams-Mills had a mastectomy and in January 2013 had another operation. British boxer Terry Spinks died on this day in 2012. He won the gold medal in the flyweight division at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne; in the final he defeated Mircea Dobrescu of Romania on points. He was also British featherweight champion from 1960 to 1961.He was an apprentice jockey, before finding boxing more lucrative. Spinks had 49 professional bouts of which he won 41. He had his first professional bout in April 1957, against Jim Loughrey, at Harringay Arena, winning on a stoppage for a cut eye. In September 1960, Spinks fought for the British featherweight title, against the holder Bobby Neill. The fight was at the Royal Albert Hall, and Spinks won the title when the fight was stopped in the seventh due to cuts suffered by Neil. In November 1960, the two men had a re-match at the Empire Pool, Wembley. Spinks retained his new title by knocking Neill down three times in the fourteenth, with him finally being counted out. In May 1961, Spinks defended his title for the second time, against the Welshman, Howard Winstone. The fight was at the Empire Pool and Winstone won by a technical knockout in the tenth round. After losing his title, Spinks continued fighting, but never challenged for a title again. He had his last fight in December 1962 against Johnny Mantle, winning by a technical knockout in the eighth. After his boxing career ended Spinks became a trainer, coaching the South Korean team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He witnessed the Black September terrorists approaching the Israeli quarters before the Munich massacre and raised the alarm. Spinks died at his home in Essex after a long illness. More than 200 ex-boxers, including Bobby Neill and several more of Terry’s former opponents, attended his funeral in West Ham. Author and sports historian Norman Giller, his long-time friend, said in the eulogy: “Terry hung up his gloves in 1962 but we have never hung up our memories of one of the most accomplished fighters to come out of the East End boxing factory.” The 35th London Marathon, which was run on this day in 2015, was won by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge & Ethiopian Tigist Tufa
27th– On this day in 1840 Edward Whymper, the first man to climb the Matterhorn was born. Maurice Raoul-Duval, French polo player, was born in 1866. In the 1900 Olympics he was part of the Bagatelle Polo Club de Paris team which won the bronze medal. He was also a member of the Compiègne Polo Club team which was eliminated in the first round of the same tournament. He was killed in action during World War I. English cricketer Frederick Luther Fane was born today in 1875, he played cricket for the England cricket team in 14 Test matches. He also played for Essex, Oxford University and London County. Fane was born at Curragh Camp in County Kildare, Ireland, where his father Frederick John Fane, an officer in the British Army, was stationed with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot. He was a great-grandson of John Fane, a politician, of the family of the Earls of Westmorland. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Magdalen College, Oxford. Fane captained the England cricket team on five occasions: three times when he took over from the injured Arthur Jones, and twice when he took over from HDG Leveson Gower. He won two and lost three of these games. He was the first Irish born player to score a century in a Test match for England and remained the only one for over a hundred years, until Eoin Morgan repeated the feat against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in July 2010. During the First World War Fane was commissioned in the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917 “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while commanding a patrol. Having obtained valuable information, he withdrew his men from a difficult position under heavy machine gun fire. He displayed the greatest coolness and determination.” The 4th Modern Olympic Games were opened in London today in 1908, a total of 2,036 athletes from 23 nations took part. Meanwhile at Stamford Bridge in 1908, Manchester United and Queen’s Park Rangers drew 1-1 in the first Charity Shield match. When the game was replayed four months later, United won 4-0. Luz Long, German Olympic long-jumper, notable for winning silver in the 1936 Olympics was born in 1913. He was also known for giving advice to Jessie Owens before the American went on to win the gold medal for the broad jump. Long won the German long jump championship six times in 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939. He was killed in action serving in the German Army during World War II. For his actions in the spirit of sportsmanship, he was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal. Nina Ponomareva, a champion discus thrower who earned the Soviet Union its first Olympic gold medal when she competed in the 1952 Helsinki Games and touched off a diplomatic crisis four years later when she shoplifted five hats in a London store was born in 1929. Ponomareva, competing under her married name of Romashkova, led a strong women’s discus contingent when the Soviet Union made its first appearance in the Olympic Games. Already a national champion in the USSR, she took the gold with a throw of 168 feet 8 inches, shattering the Olympic record of 156-2 , set by Gisela Mauermayer at the 1936 Games in Berlin. Her teammates won the silver and bronze medals. Her win was an enormous coup for the Soviet Olympic team, regarded as little more than a joke at the time. Less than a month later, at a track meet in Odessa, she set a world record of 175-10½. Flawless on the field, Ponomareva took a bad step four years later in the millinery department of a store in London, where the Soviet track and field team had travelled to compete against a British team. Two store detectives at C&A Modes on Oxford Street testified that Ponomareva, who had attracted their attention by her furtive behaviour, had stuffed one hat in the sleeve of her coat and concealed four others between two paper bags that she was carrying. She was taken into custody, charged with theft of goods and ordered to appear in court the next day. Instead, she disappeared. “The Case of the Slipped Discus,” as one British newspaper called it, dominated headlines, giving the Suez Canal crisis a run for its money on the front page. The manager of the Soviet team, accusing the British of a “dirty provocation which was aimed at the blackmailing of this well-known and remarkable sportswoman,” pulled his athletes from the competition. A planned visit by the Bolshoi Ballet to Covent Garden looked to be in danger, as Galina Ulanova and other members of the troupe protested in a letter to the newspaper Izvestiya that they feared “persecution” if they made the trip. Ponomareva remained at large for more than a month, with a warrant out for her arrest. It was widely assumed that she was holed up in the Soviet Embassy, where an official dismissed the charges against her as absurd. “She has lots of money,” the official told reporters. “She could buy 100 hats.” She resurfaced to enter a not-guilty plea in Marlborough Street Magistrates Court. She had paid for the hats, she told the magistrate, but had not kept a receipt because such a thing did not exist in the Soviet Union. She was found guilty and, after paying a fine of three guineas and court costs, was set free. “The lady of the five hats,” as The Associated Press called her, was greeted enthusiastically by Australians when she stepped off the plane for the 1956 Olympic Games. Good-natured hecklers shouted, “Watch your hats, girls, here comes Nina.” She managed only a bronze medal — the scandal had disrupted her training — but she roared back at the 1960 Games in Rome to reclaim the gold. By then, her name was a byword in Britain. In a House of Commons debate on the lessons of the Suez crisis, the Labour member Tony Benn attacked as “banditry” the government’s foreign policy. “If the Canal is vital to us, we take it,” he said. “This is the morality of Nina Ponomareva — ‘I like your hat, I will have it.’” She died in 2016 aged 87. Heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano retired undefeated on this day in 1956. Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse on this day in 1981. Peter Scudamore became the first National Hunt jockey to ride 200 winners in a season in 1989 when he partnered Gay Moore to victory at Towcester. It was the first double century by a British jockey since Gordon Richards rode 200 on the flat in 1952. On this day in 1992 Betty Boothroyd became the first woman to be elected Speaker of the House of Commons in its 700-year history. On this day in 1993 a DHC-5D plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The plane was heading out of Libreville, Gabon and was carring the Zambian national football team on their way to Dakar, Senegal to play a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal. The Zambian Air Force had specially arranged to fly the team and had three refuelling stops scheduled. The first was at Brazzaville, Congo and the second was here at Libreville. The de Havilland Canada DHC-5D Buffalo had taken off from Lusaka, Zambia and made the first refuelling stop without incident. At the stop, there was an issue with one of the engines but the flight continued on without delay. A few minutes after take-off from the second refuelling stop in Gabon, the left engine caught fire and failed. The pilot shut down the right engine which caused the plane to lose all power. The plane had still been in its climb and without power, fell into the water about 550 yards offshore. An investigation report issued ten years later attributed the accident to instrument error, pilot error and pilot fatigue. The same pilot had flown the team from a match in Mauritius the previous day. There had been 25 passengers and five crew on board and all of them were killed in the crash. The team, Chipolopolo, had been doing well and they were hoping to win the 1993 Africa Cup of Nations and make their first World Cup appearance. There were 18 players, the national team coach, and support staff aboard the plane. The captain of the Chipolopolo team, Kalusha Bwalya, was not aboard as he had been playing in the Netherlands for PSV and had made separate arrangements to get to Senegal.. A new team was quickly put together in 1993 and Bwalya was faced with bringing them together to face off in the African Nations Cup, just a few months away. They made it to the finals, but were unable to defeat Nigeria in the last game. The team won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 in Libreville, only a short distance from where the plane had crashed nearly two decades earlier. Today in 2005 the Airbus A380 makes it first light from Toulouse, France. On this day in 2012 Barcelona’s football manager Josep Guardiola announced his resignation.
28th– Composer Lucy Milward Booth was born today in 1868, the eighth and youngest child of Catherine and William Booth, the Founder of The Salvation Army. At the age of 16, Lucy and her sister Emma went to India to work with The Salvation Army, Emma married Frederick Tucker in 1888. The Booth-Tuckers soon moved to London because of Emma’s failing health, and Lucy followed. On 18 October 1894 Lucy married Colonel Emanuel Daniel Hellberg, a Swedish Officer. As was the custom in the Booth family, the couple added ‘Booth’ to their married name, becoming Booth-Hellberg. Lucy wrote the song Keep On Believing for The Salvation Army. In 1909 her husband died. She went on to become the territorial commander for Denmark, Norway, and South America before she retired in 1934. In 1933 she was admitted to The Salvation Army’s most prestigious award, the Order of the Founder, “for long and exceptional service under peculiarly difficult circumstances, together with her readiness at all times to answer to the call of duty, particularly in the earlier years in India and France, and, latterly, in South America”. She died at Bromma in Stockholm on 18 July 1953, at the age of 85. The world’s first rugby sevens tournament was played on this day in 1883. Rugby sevens was initially conceived by Ned Haig a Jedburgh butcher who moved to Melrose and David Sanderson as a fund-raising event for a local club in 1883. The first ever sevens match was played at the Greenyards, the Melrose ground, where it was well received. Two years later, Tynedale was the first non-Scottish club to win one of the Borders Sevens titles at Gala in 1885. Despite sevens’ popularity in the Scottish Borders, it did not catch on elsewhere until after WWI, in the 1920s and 30s. The first sevens tournament outside Scotland was the Percy Park Sevens at North Shields in north east England in 1921. Because it was not far from the Scottish Borders, it attracted interest from the code’s birthplace, and the final was contested between Selkirk, who won and Melrose RFC, who didn’t! In 1926, England’s major tournament, the Middlesex Sevens was set up by Dr J.A. Russell-Cargill, a London-based Scot. Hyla Bristow Stallard known as H B Stallard, the English middle-distance runner and ophthalmologist was born in 1901. Stallard was educated at Sherborne School before going up to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied medicine. At Caius he was a contemporary of Harold Abrahams, and a member of the University Athletics team in 1920, 1921 and 1922. He was part of the Oxbridge team that set a world record in the 4×880yd relay in 1922. Stallard competed at the 1924 Olympics where he won 1500m bronze and finished fourth in the 800m, despite sustaining a stress fracture in his right foot in the 1500m heats. Stallard is the only athlete that won the AAA titles over 440yds (1925), 880yds (1924), and mile (1923). He withdrew at the last minute from the 1926 AAA Championships after a copious blood donation to a patient at his hospital. Besides athletics, Stallard was a prominent doctor. As ophthalmic surgeon to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital, he pioneered cobalt plaque radiotherapy for the treatment of ocular tumours, particularly in children. He was elected as president of the Ophthalmological Society in 1972. The English pioneer of aviation, Claude Grahame-White was the first man to make a night flight, during the Daily Mail sponsored 1910 London to Manchester air race. Grahame-White was one of the first people to qualify as pilot in England, becoming the holder of Royal Aero Club certificate No. 6, awarded in April 1910. He became a celebrity in England when he competed with the French pilot Louis Paulhan for the £10,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail newspaper for the first flight between London and Manchester in less than 24 hours. Although Paulhan won the prize, Grahame White’s achievement was widely praised. Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United contested the first FA Cup Final at Wembley in 1923. Official receipts gave the attendance at 126,047 but it is estimated that more than 200,000 were in the ground. Bolton won 2-0 with David Jack having the honour of scoring the first goal. On this day in 1931 the programme for women athletes was approved for the 1932 Olympic track and field events. 1966 Tour de Frane winner Lucien Aimar was born in 1941. He also won the national road championship in 1968. He is now a race organizer. He was born in Hyères, France. Former England Test cricket captain Mike Brearley was born in 1942. A great tactician and motivator, Brearley led Middlesex to four championships and two Gillette Cup victories between 1971-82. His record as England captain is phenomenal by present day standards; 18 Test wins out of a total of 31 played, with only four defeats. Clas Thunberg, Finnish speed skater who won five Olympic gold medals – three at the inaugural Winter Olympics held in Chamonix in 1924 (along with a silver and a bronze medal) and two at the 1928 Winter Olympics held in St. Moritz died on this day in 1973. He was the most successful athlete at both of these Winter Olympics, sharing the honour for 1928 Winter Olympics with Johan Grøttumsbraaten of Norway. Despite his amazing career record, Thunberg never reached the top of Adelskalender – a statistical invention which ranks skaters according to their personal bests and then converts them into all-round performances. Oscar Mathisen’s personal bests on the three longest distances were simply too good for Thunberg to match. However, Mathisen – who was born five years before Thunberg – turned professional during World War I, meaning that the two never met in an ISU-sanctioned event. He died in Helsinki at the age of 80. Wigan’s Andy Gregory became only the second Rugby League player to win the Lance Todd Trophy a second time. He was awarded this coveted laurel as man of the match for his contribution to Wigan’s triumph over Warrington in the 1990 Challenge Cup final at Wembley. Dennis Tito became the first space tourist on this day in 2001, paying £20million to fly on a Soyuz mission to the ISS. Today in 2003 Andre Agassi recaptured the World number 1 ranking to become the oldest top-ranked male in the history of the ATP rankings; he was 33 years and 13 days old. Erhard Loretan Swiss mountain climber, often described as one of the greatest mountaineers of all times was born on this day in 1959 and died on his 52nd birthday in 2011. Loretan was born in Bulle in the canton of Fribourg. He trained as a cabinet-maker and mountain guide and began his climbing career at the age of 11. Loretan was the third person to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders (second without oxygen), a feat he accomplished at the age of 36. He made his first expedition to the Andes in 1980 and began his conquest of the 8,000 metres (26,247ft) peaks in 1982 with the deadly Nanga Parbat. 13 years later, in 1995, he climbed the last of them, Kangchenjunga. In 1986, together with Jean Troillet, Loretan made a revolutionary ascent of Mount Everest in only 40 hours, climbing by night and without the use of supplementary oxygen. Loretan was convicted in 2003 of the manslaughter of his seven-month-old son, after shaking him for a short period of time to stop him crying in late 2001. He was given a four-month suspended sentence. At that time Shaken baby syndrome was largely unknown, but he decided to disclose his name to the press in the hope that other parents might avoid a similar drama. Publicity of the case raised awareness of the danger of shaking children due to weak neck muscles. In April 2011, Loretan and his partner Xenia Minder were undertaking the ascent of the Grünhorn when Minder slipped. The rope tying them together dragged them both down a 200m fall. Minder was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries, but Loretan did not survive.
29th– On this day in 1879 Sir Thomas Beecham, founder of the London Philharmonic was born. The American swimmer Raymond Thorne was born today in 1887. In the 1904 Olympics he won a silver medal as a member of American 4x50yard freestyle relay team and was sixth in the 50yards. He died at the age of 33 in 1921 in a car crash in Los Angeles. Today in 1922 the first official International Weightlifting Championships took place in Tallinn, Estonia. Al Balding the Canadian professional golfer, who in 1955 he became the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour event in the USA was born in 1924; Canadians Ken Black (1936 Vancouver Jubilee Open) and Jules Huot (1937 General Brock Open) had won PGA Tour events in Canada in the 1930s. The British sprinter, Dorothy Manley, later Hall, then Parlett; was born in 1927. She raced for the Essex Ladies athletics club and was added to a national list of potential Olympians in late 1947, assigned to train with Sandy Duncan. She began her training for the 1948 Games early in March 1948, training on the track four times a week, but never using the gym. Manley described the trials as a “fiasco”, having finished fifth at the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association Championships, but was still picked to represent the United Kingdom. She was working full-time during 1948 for the Suez Canal Company as a typist, and used her summer holidays to attend the games although the leave was unpaid by her employer. Her mother made her running vest and shorts for the Games, but she was given the blazer and skirt for the opening ceremony. While at the Games, she travelled to and from Wembley on the London Underground, as she was sharing a room with two other athletes near Eccleston Square in central London. She qualified for the 100m final, and finished second, winning silver in her first international athletics event. Fanny Blankers-Koen won the gold medal in first place with a time of 11.9s, while Manley’s time was 12.2s, just ahead of Shirley Strickland de la Hunty, who registered the same time. Manley described her start in the race as the “best of her life”, having described her normal starts as notoriously bad. She thought that this may have actually distracted her as her start was so good that she was expecting the race to be recalled. She won the WAAA Championships 200m title at the 1950 meeting at White City Stadium, which was her only WAAA title She retired from athletics in 1952 after suffering from a thyroid condition At the 1950 British Empire Games in New Zealand, she was asked after arrival if she would like to compete in the high jump – only then finding out that she had been entered in the event without her knowledge. With minimal training in the time available, she competed in the event and finished fourth behind Dorothy Tyler, Bertha Crowther and Noeline Swinton. She was part of the women’s relay teams at the Games, and won silver in the 660yards relay and bronze in the 440yards relay. The team won gold in the 4×100m relay at the 1950 European Athletics Championships. She described that race as particularly exciting as they had beaten the Dutch team, which included Fanny Blankers-Koen. One of Britain’s best known squash players, Jonah Barrington, was born in 1941. He won the British Open championship six times between 1967 and 1974. The World Open title was inaugurated too late in Barrington’s career for him to add it to his impressive list of tournament successes. Soviet cross country skier Galina Kulakova was born in 1942, he was arguably the best skier over distances under 10k in the early 1970s. She won four Olympic golds, two individual in 1972 and two relay golds in 1972 and 1976. She was the most successful athlete at the 1972 Winter Olympics, along with Ard Schenk of the Netherlands. Competing in the World Championships, she won three individual golds, two in 1974 and one in 1970, and also two relay golds in those years. Kulakova also won the 10k event at the Holmenkollen ski festival in 1970 and 1979. Galina Kulakova was also 39 times Champion of the USSR between 1969 and 1981. For her achievements she was awarded Order of Lenin and Badge of Honour. She was also awarded the silver Olympic Order in 1984 by the International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch. Galina Kulakova retired in 1982. American golfer Johnny Miller was born in 1947. He won the US Open in 1973 and the British Open at Birkdale in 1976. Sofia Sakorafa, Palestinian-Greek politician and former javelin thrower was born today in 1957. She is currently an Independent Member of the European Parliament for Greece, having formerly sat for Syriza and before that served, from June 2012 to July 2014, as a Syriza Member of the Hellenic Parliament. She started competing in athletics at 15 as a member of Trikala Gymnastic Club. In total, Sakorafa – often pushed by her antagonism with Anna Verouli – broke the Greek record for the javelin 17 times. She competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics. Sakorafa broke the world record on 16 September 1982 with a throw of 74.20m which stood as a Greek record until the new style javelin was introduced in 1999. She won bronze at the 1982 European Athletics Championships but caused controversy in 2004 when she became a Palestinian citizen and applied a few months before the Olympic Games for a place on the Palestinian Olympic team at the age of 47. She made her debut representing Palestine in Chania, Crete, on 28 June 2004 – with a throw of 47.23m. Despite the fact that her gesture to participate as a Palestinian was symbolic, the IAAF ruled her ineligible for the 2004 Olympics. Rob Druppers, Dutch middle-distance runner was born on this day in 1862. He won the 800m silver at the 1983 World Championships and set a Dutch 800m record of 1:43.56 in Cologne in 1985, and a 1000m record of 2:15.23 in his home town Utrecht in the same year. Druppers competed in the 1988 Olympics, where he reached the quarterfinals of the 800m. Muhammed Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight title in 1967 for refusing, on religious grounds, to be drafted into the US Army. On this day in 1968 the controversial musical Hair, a product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, opened at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway, with some of its songs becoming anthems of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Chelsea beat Leeds United 2-1 after extra time at Old Trafford to win the replay of the 1970 FA Cup Final, the first replay of a Wembley final. The final of the 1989 Pilkington Cup at Twickenham attracted a world record attendance for a rugby union cup match of 59,300. Bath ran out 10-6 winners over Leicester. In 1990 Stephen Hendry beat Jimmy White 18-12 to become the youngest world snooker champion at the age of 21 years and 106 days. The Law Society Legal Handicap Hurdle at Hexham in 1991 saw a record-equalling seven horses start the race as co-favourites. Six of them filled the first six places. Victoria Sinitsina, Russian ice dancer, was born today in 1995. With her skating partner Nikita Katsalapov, she is the 2016 Russian national silver medallist. With former partner Ruslan Zhiganshin, she is the 2012 World Junior champion and won bronze at the 2013 Winter Universiade, 2012 Rostelecom Cup, and 2014 Russian Championships. In 2013 an NBA league committee recommended that NBA owners reject a bid from a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. In 2015 a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox sets the all-time low attendance mark for Major League Baseball. Zero fans were in attendance for the game, as the stadium was officially closed to the public due to the 2015 Baltimore protests.
30th– Léon Flameng, French cyclist and a World War I pilot, was born on this day in 1877. Flameng competed in four cycling track events at the 1896 Olympics, on the 8th April, he competed in the 100k race which was 300 laps of the Neo Phaliron Velodrome, out of the nine starters, two finished with Flameng winning gold 11 laps ahead of second place Georgios Kolettis from Greece. After a couple of days rest he was back in the saddle at the Velodrome competing in three more events, he won silver in the 10k race finishing just behind fellow countryman Paul Masson, he also won bronze in the sprint race, which was six laps around the Velodrome and finally he finished in joint fifth place in the time trial. In 1898 he joined the 8th Infantry Division to do his National Service, he then joined the French Air Force in 1914 as an observer before becoming a military pilot in 1916 on the 21st June 1916, while on a mission on Verdun his plane was hit and although he was hit in the head with a bullet and his crew killed he still managed to get his plane back to base, after being hospitalised he returned to his squadron and was promoted to sergeant before transferring to the Group of Training Division. Sadly, on the 12th January 1917, while trialling a new Sopwith biplane near Ève, Oise, there was a technical incident forcing the plane to crash to the ground killing Flameng. Levi Celerio the Filipino composer and lyricist was born in 1910. Celerio was a prolific songwriter, with over 4,000 songs to his credit. He is perhaps best known for being a leaf-player, a feat for which he was put into the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1997, he was named National Artist of the Philippines for Music. Anton Murray, South African cricketer was born in Grahamstown, Cape Province in 1922. He played in 10 Tests in a little over a year from December 1952 to February 1954, appearing four times against Australia and then six times against New Zealand. He later toured England as a member of the 1955 South African side but did not appear in any of the Tests. Outside cricket, he was a schoolmaster by profession and in 1963; he was the founding headmaster of St Alban’s College, a progressive boarding school in Pretoria, where he remained as head there until retirement in 1984. The West Germany tennis player Karl Meiler was born in 1949. He won four singles (1972, Buenos Aires; 1974, Omaha and Calgary; 1977 Manila) and seventeen doubles titles during his professional career. He notably beat top seed Ken Rosewall in the 1973 Australian Open, where he went on to reach the semi-final. The German reached his highest singles ATP-ranking in 1973, when he became World No. 20. He died aged 64 on 17 April 2014, of complications from a head injury sustained in November 2013. Olympian Daniela Costian was born in Romania in 1965 but became an Australian citizen in 1990. She won discus bronze at the 1992 Olympics and silver at the1993 World Championships. Her personal best was 73.84m, set in 1988, which was a Romanian record. Her best result achieved for Australia was 68.72m set in 1994, which is the current Oceanian record. Tatjana Hüfner, German luger was born on this day in 1983. She won bronze in the women’s singles at the2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Hüfner won eight gold medals at the FIL World Luge Championships, winning five in the women’s singles event (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2017) and three in the mixed team event (2008, 2012, 2017). She also won two silvers in the women’s singles event at the FIL European Luge Championships (2004, 2006). Hüfner won the overall Luge World Cup title in women’s singles three times (2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10). On February 2, 2008, she became the first woman to win five straight FIL Luge World Cup events with her victory at the bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track in Altenberg, Germany. Sander Baart, who is a Dutch field hockey player of Belgian descent, was born today in 1988. He started playing at the age of 6 at R. Antwerp H.C. in Belgium and in his final season with them in 2007 won the Belgian national title. As of the 2007-2008 season he was playing for the Dutch club Oranje-Zwart. In 2014 he also won the Dutch national title with his club. Followed by the double in 2015, with Oranje-Zwart, winning the national title as well as the EHL (Euro Hockey League). As a junior player he played for the Belgian national team Boys Under 16 and won the European title with them. Later on he switched to the Dutch national teams and won European silver and gold medals for the Dutch Under 21 team and the silver medal at the Junior World Championship (U21). He played his first official match for the Dutch national men’s team in 2007 against Korea. At the 2012 Olympics, he competed for the national team in the men’s tournament. With the national team he won a gold medal in the first World League in 2014 and in 2015 the European Championship. He represented the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the first three seasons of the Hockey India League. On this day in 1993 the world number one women’s tennis player, Monica Seles, was stabbed in the back during a quarter-final match in Hamburg. The 19-year-old American star was rushed to hospital with a wound half an inch (1.5cm) deep in her upper back. Doctors said her injuries were serious, but not life-threatening. “She was very lucky,” said the tournament doctor, Peter Wind. “Neither the lungs nor the shoulder blades were affected. Monica is still suffering from shock, and will stay overnight for observation.” There was immediate speculation that the attack was politically motivated because of Monica Seles’s Serbian roots. She was known to have received death threats in connection with the Yugoslav conflict. The attack happened during the rest break in the match, against Bulgarian player Maggie Maleeva. Miss Seles was leading 6-4, 4-3 when she took a rest on her courtside seat during the changeover. A man described as stocky and balding leaned over the three-feet-high (91 cm) barrier and stabbed her from behind. Miss Seles let out a scream, clutched her back and stumbled on to the court. The attack took place in full view of the 6,000-strong crowd watching the match. The umpire, Stefan Voss, ran from his chair for ice and a towel. It was over two years before Seles returned to tennis competition. Her first tournament was the 1995 Canadian Open, which she won. On this day in 1994 Formula One racing driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed in a crash during the qualifying session of the San Marino Grand Prix at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari outside Imola, Italy. He went off-track on the previous lap, damaging his front wing, but rather than come into the pits, he continued, since he was competing for the final grid spot.The high speed on the straight, and therefore the high downforce generated, finally broke the wing off, sending it under the car. His car failed to turn into the Villeneuve Corner and struck the outside wall at 314.9km/h (195.7mph). Ratzenberger was pronounced dead on arrival at Maggiore Hospital in Bologna, having been airlifted there from the Imola circuit’s medical centre, where he had initially been transferred to from the crash site by ambulance. Ratzenberger was the first racing driver to lose his life at a grand prix weekend since the 1982 season, when Riccardo Paletti was killed at the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Ratzenberger was also the first driver to die in an F1 car since Elio de Angelis during testing in 1986. The very next day, seven laps into the Grand Prix race, three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna was killed in another accident. Both deaths brought the sport of Formula One under international scrutiny. The double tragedy was marked before the start of the next race in Monaco, with the front row of the grid left empty and the two slots painted with a Brazilian and Austrian flag. The Norweigan swimmer Alexander Dale Oen died on this day in 2012 aged just 26. He represented the clubs Vestkantsvømmerne (1995–2010) and Bærumsvømmerne (2011–2012). Dale Oen’s gold at the 2008 European Championships made him the first Norwegian male to win a medal at a major international long course championship. Dale Oen got his international breakthrough in 2005, placing seventh in the 100m breaststroke at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships. During the European short-course Championships in December the same year, he swam the 100m breaststroke in 59.05s, setting a new Nordic Record. He became the first Norwegian to swim this distance in less than 1 minute. At the Norwegian Short Course Championships two months later, he bettered that time to 58.81, a world best mark for the year. On 30 April 2012, Dale Oen was found unconscious in his hotel bathroom after having suffered a heart attack, caused by chronic, undetected coronary heart disease, a rare disease for a person of his age and fitness. He was found in his bathroom by one of his teammates, and CPR was performed before he was taken to the Flagstaff Medical Centre where he was pronounced dead. Dale Oen was attending a training camp with the Norwegian swimming team in Flagstaff at the time. Shirley Firth, Canadian cross-country skier, died on this day in 2013, at the age of 59. She competed in the Winter Olympics in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984. A member of the Gwich’in First Nation, Firth was one of the first indigenous North Americans to represent Canada in the Olympic Games. Firth was the recipient of the Order of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was the twin sister of fellow ski team member Sharon Firth. They became the first indigenous women to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. Shirley had previously received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the sports category in 2006.