24thBorn on this day in 1838 was Annie Eddson Taylor, stuntwoman and educator, who, on her 63rd birthday in 1901, became the first person ever to go safely over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. She used a custom-made barrel for her trip, constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress. She managed to briefly earn some money from speaking about her experience, referring to herself as “The Queen of the Mist” but was never able to build much wealth. Her manager, Frank M. Russell, bizarrely ran away with her barrel, and most of her savings were used towards private detectives hired to find it. It was eventually located in Chicago, only to permanently disappear some time later. The world’s oldest association football club still in operation, Sheffield FC, was formed at a meeting of Cambridge University old boys in 1857. Born today in 1872 was Irish track and field athlete Peter O’Connor. O’Connor set a long-standing world record for the long jump and won two Olympic medals in the 1906 Intercalated games. On 5th August 1901 he jumped 24ft 11¾in (7.61m) off a broad runway at Ball’s Bridge in Dublin; this was subsequently recognised as the first official IAAF record and remained on the books for 20years, not beaten as an Irish All-Comers record until 1968. He retired to concentrate on his solicitor’s practice in 1906 but maintained a keen interest in the sport and was one of the judges at the 1932 Games. Orville Wright remained in the air for nine minutes and 45 seconds on a Wright Glider at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on this day in 1911. Rafał Piszcz Polish canoe racer was born on this day in 1940. He won a bronze medal in the K-2 1000m at Munich in 1972. The 1977 British Lions Tour captain Phil Bennett was born in 1948. He played for the Lions in eight Tests and for Wales on 29 occasions. James Hunt’s third place in the Japanese Grand Prix in 1976 was enough to secure hum the world title by one point from Niki Lauda, who quit on lap two because torrential rain had made conditions too dangerous for his liking. Lauda’s caution was understandable given the horrific injuries he has suffered just 11 weeks earlier. The 1976 GP season served as the inspiration behind the 2013 film “Rush”. Today in 1982 saw German tennis player Steffi Graf play in her first professional tournament at Stuttgart, Germany; she lost in first round, 6–4, 6–0 to Tracy Austin. Born on this day in 1985, English footballer and captain of the national side Wayne Rooney. Jeff Blatnick, American super-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler and sports commentator passed away today in 2012. He won the Olympic gold medal in 1984 after battling back from cancer.


25th in 1620 the Puritan Governor of the British settlers in the American colony of Plymouth, Gov William Bradford, disallowed sport to be played on Christmas Day. He was enraged when some people refused to work but seemed happy enough to play games while other worked. Upon encountering people in the street doing just this he announced that “ther should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets”. Born on this day in 1802 was Canadian logger and strongman Joseph Montferrand.  Hero of the working man, Joseph was the inspiration for the legendary Ottawa Valley figure Big Joe Mufferaw. Joe Mercer the English jockey who was apprenticed to trainer Frederick Sneyd and won his first British Classic race while still an apprentice on Ambiguity in the 1953 Epsom Oaks was born in 1934. He was British flat racing Champion Apprentice twice, in 1952 and 1953 and won a total of 2810winners in Britain. The East German swimmer Kornelia Ender was born in 1958. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics she became the first woman to win four swimming medals at one Games, all of them in world record times. She set a staggering 32 world records between 1973 and 1976, becoming the first woman to break the 58, 57 and 56 second barriers in the 100m freestyle. However, it was later proven that the East German team doctors had systematically administered steroids to their athletes (albeit without the athletes’ knowledge) and she, along with many other East German athletes was stripped of their medals. Ironically, in 1977 she was banned from the East German team by the Marxist authorities after becoming suspicious of the substances she was being administered with by the coaches. Born today in 1970 was Dutch kick-boxer and mixed martial artist Peter Aerts. Known for his devastating high kicks, which earned him the nickname “The Dutch Lumberjack”, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight kickboxers ever,

In 1983 West Ham became the first team to score 10 goals in a match in the Football League Cup, beating Bury 10-0 in the second leg of their second round encounter. Frankie Bunn of Oldham Athletic set a League Cup individual record in 1989 when he scored six against Scarborough. In the final of the Sharjah Cup in 1991 Aaqib Javed of Pakistan produced the best bowling figures in a one-day cricket international by dismissing seven Indian batsmen for 37 runs, including a hat-trick. Passing away on this day in 2013 was New Zealand rugby player and coach Ron Ackland, who represented his country in the 1957 and 1960 World Cups and coached his country in the 1977 World Cup. His nephew, John, also played for New Zealand.



26thToday in 1863 the Football Association was formed following a meeting of 11 representatives from interested clubs at the Freemasons Tavern, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. On this day in 1881 Luis Bastien, French cyclist and fencer was born, He participated in cycling at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and won the gold medal in the men’s 25km race. He also competed in the individual épée event at the same games. The highest scoring game in Scotland’s top division was played on this day in 1895, Celtic beating Dundee 11-0. The heaviest man to hold the world heavyweight boxing title, Primo Carnera of Italy, was born in 1906. Nicked named the “Ambling Alp”, he won the title from Jack Sharkey in 1933. When he made his second defence against Tommy Loughran in 1934 Carnera weighed in at a record 270 pounds (122.7kg); Loughran just 184 pounds (83.6kg). The weight difference of 86 pounds (39kg) is the greatest between contestants in a world title fight. He lost his title in June 1934 to American Max Baer and died aged 60 in 1967. A Brian Kilcline own goal was enough to give Leeds united a 1-0 home win over Oldham Athletic at Elland Road in 1991 and put them at the top of the first division for the first time since the days of Don Revie 17 years earlier. Leeds shared the top spot with Manchester United through tout most of the season but filly won the title in a tense finish. Today in 1951, Rocky Marciano defeated Joe Louis at Madison Square Garden. In 1973, Austin Healey, was born. He played as a utility back for Leicester Tigers, and has represented England and the British and Irish Lions. He has 51 England caps and 2 Lions caps. He has played for England at scrum halffly-halffullback and wing, and has often been used as a replacement (or substitute) because of his versatility. He is a famously competitive and “outspoken” character, gaining the nick name “The Leicester Lip” In 2008, he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, reaching the quarter-finals with dance partner Erin Boag. Glen Little died on this day in 2010. Little was a circus clown who served with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for over 20 years. He was one of only four clowns ever to have been given the title “Master Clown” by the Ringling organization. He was in fact, the last person ever to have been awarded the title and was the last surviving Master Clown at the time of his death. He was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1991.


27thBorn on this day in 1728, Captain James Cook, an 18th century British explorer and navigator whose achievements in mapping the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia radically changed western perceptions of world geography. As one of the very few men in the 18th century navy to rise through the ranks, Cook was particularly sympathetic to the needs of ordinary sailors. Also born on this day in 1811 was Isaac Singer, the inventor of the sewing machine. George Thomspon, the mainstay of Northamptonshire Cricket for much of the period encompassing both its days as a minor county and its earliest years in the County Championship and Umpire was born in 1877. The most successful bowls player in modern times, David Bryant, was born in 1931. Somerset-born Bryant won the first outdoor world championship in 1966. He won the singles on two more occasions and also won triples and team gold medals. He also won the world indoor championship in its first three years and a record six English Bowling Association (EBA) singles titles between 1960 and 1975. Danish dancer and choreographer Peter Martins was born today in 1946. He was a principal dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet and with The New York City Ballet, where he joined George BalanchineJerome Robbins and John Taras as ballet master in 1981, retired from dancing in 1983 at which time he became Co-Ballet Master-In-Chief with Robbins, and since 1990 has had sole responsibility for artistic leadership of City Ballet. Former England footballer and manager who played as a midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur, as Monaco, Chelsea and Swindon Town and at international level for England, Glenn Hoddle was born on this day in 1957. In 1962 Dawn Fraser became the first women to swim 100m in under one minute when she clocked 59.9 seconds. Simone Moro, the Italian alpinist was born in 1967. He is the first and only mountaineer to have made the first winter ascent to four of the ‘eight-thousanders’ – Shisha Pangman in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011 and Nanga Parbet in 2016. Moro is also an experienced helicopter pilot, in 2013 he and two other rescue experts carried out the world’s highest long-line rescue operation on a helicopter on Lhotse, at 7800m. Since 12th November 2015 he also held the flight altitude world record for a turbine helicopter (6.705m). In 1980 Japanese speed skater and cyclist Sayuri Osuga was born.   She is one of the few athletes who started both in the Winter and Summer Games. In 2002 and 2006 in the 500 m speed skating event and in the 2004 Summer Games in the 500 m time trial cycling event, placing 10th. On this day in 2009 David Shepherd MBE died. Shepherd was a first-class cricketer who played county for Gloucestershire, and later became one of the cricket world’s best-known umpires. He stood in 92 Test matches, the last of them in June 2005, and the most for any English umpire. He also umpired 172 ODIs, including three consecutive World Cup finals in 1996, 1999 and 2003.


28thThe oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, Harvard College, was founded on Cambridge, Mass. on this day in 1636. On this day in 1880 Billy Wedlock, English footballer was born. Also known as ‘Fatty’ or ‘The Indian Rubber Man’ Wedlock played for Bristol City between 1900-01 and from 1905 until he retired in 1921. He won 26 England caps between 1907 and 1914. The East End at Ashton Gate stadium was named the Wedlock stand in his honour before being demolished in 2014 as part of the stadium redevelopment. After 5 months of competition the II Olympic Games in 1900 in Paris finally ended.   Canadian golfer Gary Cowan was born today in 1938. Cowan reached the semi-finals of the Ontario Amateur Championship at age 17 in 1956, a record for a player so young. Irish snooker player Dennis Taylor was born in 1949. Snooker fans will long remember his match with Steve Davis in the final of the 1985 Embassy World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The last frame took 68 minutes to complete and was one of the most nail-biting climaxes imaginable. Taylor winning the game with the last black and ending the suspense for an estimated 18½ million BBC television viewers. Born on the self-same day as Taylor was Bruce Jenner, an American athlete, who won gold in the Decathlon at the Summer Olympics in Montreal in 1976 with a World Record score. Returning to America he established himself a career in television, film, auto racing and even as a Playgirl Cover model. In April 2015 Jenner revealed her identity as a trans-woman, publicly announcing her name change from Bruce to Caitlyn in July 2015. She has been called the most famous openly transgender women in the world. From 2015 to 2016 Jenner starred in the reality television series I am Cait, which focussed on her gender transition.   Rugby player John Bevan was born in 1950. He played rugby for Cardiff, Wales and the British Lions before turning professional with Warrington in 1973.   He then won Wales and Great Britain honours at the 13-a-side code. George Carpentier, one of the most versatile of all boxing champions, died in 1975 at the age of 81. By the time he was 19 years old he held European titles at welterweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight. He was world light-heavyweight champion between 1920 and 1922, and also challenged unsuccessfully or the world middle- and heavyweight titles.


29thOn this day in 1618 Sir Walter Raleigh, the English courtier, military adventurer and poet was executed in London. After the death of Elizabeth I, Raleigh’s enemies spread rumours that he was opposed to the accession of King James. Wilfred Rhodes, the oldest man to play Test cricket was born on this day in 1877. Yorkshire-born Rhodes was 52 years and 156 days when he played for the last time against West Indies at Kingston, Jamaica, in April 1930. In 58 Tests for England he scored 2235 runs and took 127 wickets. A shock defeat by the Harvard University football team to Centre College ended a 25-game winning streak in 1921 and was considered one of the biggest upsets in college football. Today in 1927 the Russian archaeologist Peter Kozloff claimed to have uncovered the tomb of Genghis Khan in the Gobi Desert, a claim still in dispute to this day. In 1960 Muhammad Ali’s (Cassius Clay) first professional fight ended in a victory against Tunney Hunsaker in 6 rounds, in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. While elsewhere in America an airplane carrying the Cal Polu Football Team crashed on take-off in Toledo, Ohio. Of the 48 on board, 22 were killed including 16 players and a student manager. On this day in 1967, Montreal’s WorldFair, Expo 67, closed after over 50 million people had visited. Born today in 1973, Vonetta Flowers, American bobsledder, sprinter and long-jumper. She originally aspired to make the US Sumer Olympic team but after several failed attempts she turned to bobsledding and found success as a brake woman almost immediately. Along with driver Jill Bakken she won the gold in the two-woman event at the 2002 Winter Olympics, thius becoming the first black women to win a Winter Olympic gold. In 1985 jockey Lester Piggott rode one winner at Nottingham before going into retirement. However, training winners was not the same as riding them and in 1990, aged 54, Piggott made a successful comeback. Colin McMillian became the fastest outright winner of the Lonsdale Belt when he won the British title fight as featherweight in 1991 against Sean Murphy. He has won the fight in the division on 22 May, only 160 days earlier. On this day in 2015 the Serbian basketball player and coach Ranko Žeravica died. With a career that spanned over 50 years, he is most noted for his work with the Yugoslav national team during the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. In particular, Žeravica’s single biggest achievement is guiding the country to its first ever major competition win — gold medal on home soil at the 1970 World Championships— leading to a huge expansion of the game of basketball throughout Yugoslavia.


30thBorn on the day in 1893 was Angelo Siciliano, better known as Charles Atlas. He was the developer of a bodybuilding method and its associated exercise programme that was famous for a landmark advertising campaign featuring his name and likeness. A crowd of 68,029 was attracted to the second division game between Aston Villa and Coventry City on this day in 1937, the highest attendance recorded at a ground to watch a League game outside the top division of the League. In 1938 the radio play “The War of the Worlds”, starring Orson Wells, aired on CBS. The live drama, which employed fake news reports, panicked some listeners who thought its portrayal of a Martian invasion was true. Died non this day in 1942 was British Olympic Silver medal winning polo-player Walter Selby Buckmaster. He represented Great Britain at the 1900 1908 Olympic Games.   One of the world’s finest footballer-cum-‘handball’ players, Diego Mardonna, was born in 1960. Fourteen years and one day after making his professional debut Muhammed Ali became only the second man after Floyd Patterson to regain the world heavyweight title when he knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round off their contest at Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974, the fight forever being dubbed the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. Born today in 1986, Thomas Morgenstern, an Austrian former ski-jumper, He is one of the most successful contemporary ski jumpers, having won the World Cup twice, the Four Hills tournament and the Nordic Tournament once each, the Grand Prix three times, eight gold medals at the World Championships and three gold medals at the Winter Olympics.