• Ernst Robert Efraim Fast, was born in Stockholm in 1881, along-distance runner who competed in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Ernst worked as an electrical engineer at the Swedish pavilion of the World Exposition of which the 1900 Paris Olympics were a sideshow. He was a recognised distance runner back in Sweden, having won the Swedish 10000m title in 1899. He would add another one in 1904, as well a various unofficial championships in long distance running. His marathon debut at the Olympics was unfortunate. While running in first place, he took a wrong turn, only finding out about this after a few hundred metres. When returning to the course, his lead was gone, and he eventually finished in third place. According to one of the many myths that surround the 1900 marathon, he was pointed the wrong way by a police officer from Marseilles, who didn’t know Paris.  He died at the age of 78 on 26th October 1959.
  • Harold Wilson, British athlete, was born today in 1885 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Affiliated to Hallamshire Harriers, which he joined at an early age, in 1906 he competed in his first mile race, at Hillsborough Park, Sheffield. At Rotherham just one week later, he enjoyed his first victory over the distance. Hallamshire were the dominant team on the Northern cross-country circuit at that time and won the Northern title six ears in succession 1907-12. Wilson was a member of the winning team in the first two of those years. He was one of the favourites for the 1908 Olympic 1500m title after setting a world record of 3:59.8 at the British Olympic trials. Wilson the won the AAA mile title in 4:20.2, which topped the world rankings for the year. However, he could not quite repeat his earlier form in the Olympic 1500m final, and took the silver medal, two metres behind the American Mel Sheppard. In the 3-mile team event he finished fifth individually. He went to live and work in the United States in 1909, but the following year turned professional and moved to South Africa to race with his good friend Reggie Walker. Wilson enjoyed limited success there, and in Canada. He returned to England briefly, before making South Africa his permanent home, where he died in 1932.
  • German sprinter Rosa Kellner was born today in 1910 in Munich. She won a sprint relay bronze medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics together with Leni Schmidt, Anni Holdmann and Leni Junker. The relay team set a new world record with 49.8 shortly before the Games. As a participant at the 1930 Women’s World Games she finished fifth in the 60m and won the gold medal in the 4×100 together with Luise Holzner, Agathe Karrer, and Lisa Gelius. Domestically Kellner earned national relay titles from 1928-30. By profession she was a bookkeeper.  She died on 13th  December 1984 aged 74.
  • Today in 1911, the first Monte Carlo Rally took place, the Monte Carlo Rally was to start at points all over Europe and converge on Monte Carlo. In January 1911 23 cars set out from 11 different locations and Henri Rougierwas among the nine who left Paris to cover a 1,020 kilometres (634 mi) route. The event was won by Rougier in a Turcat-Méry 25 Hp. The rally comprised both driving and then somewhat arbitrary judging based on the elegance of the car, passenger comfort and the condition in which it arrived in the principality.
  • On this day in 1920 Australasia beat Great Britain in the 14th Davis Cup (4-1) held in Sidney.
  • Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers of modern times, was born in  1940. A professional since 1961 he has won 18 professional majors as well as producing 19 second-place and 9 third-place finishes in them, over a span of 25 years. His first win was the US Open in 1962, a tournament that he has won four times. He has five PGA championship wins to his name as well as three British Open titles and six US Masters, the last being in 1986 at the age of 46. Since joining the Seniors’ Tour in 1990 he has continued on his winning ways, with 8 titles.
  • Today in 1950 the acclaimed author George Orwell died after a three-year battle against tuberculosis.
  • In 1966 the future of the Monte Carlo Rally was thrown into doubt when the first four cars to cross the finishing line were disqualified. Timo Makinen (Finland) driving a British Motor Corporation Mini-Cooper, followed by Roger Clark (Ford Lotus Cortina), and Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk, both also driving BMC Minis. They were all ruled out of the prizes – with six other British cars for alleged infringements of complex regulations about the way their headlights dipped. The official winner was announced as Pauli Toivonen, a Finn, driving a Citroen. BMC and Ford lodged protests but they were rejected by the race organisers. After the race, a British official said: “This will be the end of the Monte Carlo rally. Britain is certain to withdraw.” They boycotted the official farewell dinner held at the International Sporting Club. Prince Rainier of Monaco showed his anger at the disqualifications by leaving the rally before attending the prize-giving which he had always done in previous years. On 13 October 1966, the supreme motor racing and rally tribunal upheld the disqualifications. The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile in Paris said the iodine quartz headlights fitted on the British cars were not standard. The Citroen declared the official winner, which had similar lamps, was approved because the bulbs were fitted as standard on some models. Pauli Toivonen never drove for Citroen again. In 1986, his son Henri won the Monte Carlo rally.
  • On this day in 1981, production of the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 sports car began in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.
  • Today in 1990 saw John McEnroe become the first player since 1963 to be expelled from a Grand Slam tournament when he was disqualified from the Australian Open. Playing against Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors he won the first set easily but Pernfors lifted the level of his game to win the second set. After the players traded service breaks in the third, McEnroe led 2-1. During the changeover, he stopped in front of a lineswoman he thought had made a bad call, glaring at her while bouncing a ball on his racket. The chair umpire, Gerry Armstrong, gave McEnroe a conduct code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. Bigger trouble began in the seventh game of the fourth set, with McEnroe leading overall 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, 2-4. Hitting a forehand wide to go down 15-30, McEnroe threw his racket to the ground, where it bounced on the court’s hard surface. Another wide McEnroe forehand prompted another racket smash, this one cracking the racket’s head. Armstrong called another code violation, for racket abuse, and McEnroe started swearing at him, demanding the intervention of Ken Farrar, the Grand Slam chief of supervisors. Farrar arrived and spoke with McEnroe, whose continued complaints and swearing were audible to spectators and TV viewers. With Farrar’s authorization, Armstrong called a third and final code violation: “Default Mr. McEnroe. Game, set, match……” The crowd of 150,000 rose to their feet, booing and chanting their support for McEnroe, as McEnroe himself stood with his hands on his hips, stunned. The last player to be disqualified from a Grand Slam for misconduct had been Willie Alvarez of Spain, in the 1963 French Open, 17 years earlier.
  • Mrinalini Sarabhai, Indian classical dancer, choreographer and instructor died today in 2016 at the age of 97She was the founder of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, an institute for imparting training in dance, drama, music and puppetry, in the city of Ahmedabad. She received many awards and citations in recognitions of her contribution to art. She trained over 18,000 students in Bharatnatyamand Kathakali.



  • On this day in 1552 Sir Walter Raleigh was born, he died in 1618.
  • Henri Pélissier, French cyclist was born today in 1889. He was the 1923 Tour de France champion and in addition to his 29 career victories, he was also known for his long-standing feud with Tour founder Henri Desgrange and for protesting against the conditions endured by riders in the early years of the Tour. Pélissier was one of four brothers, three of whom became professional cyclists. He began racing professionally in 1911 and amassed important victories before the First World War, including the 1912 Milan–San Remo and three stages in the 1914 Tour de France. After the war he resumed competition, winning Paris–Roubaix in 1919 and the second (and final) running of the Circuit des Champs de Bataillein 1920. He entered the Tour de France in 1920 and for the next four years. Before the 1921 Paris–Roubaix, Pélissier and his brother Francis demanded their sponsor pay them more than racers usually received. Their request was rebuffed and they rode as individuals without team support. Desgrange vowed that they would never again appear on the front page of his newspaper L’Auto, only to eat his words when Pélissier emerged the champion. Pélissier rode his last Tour de France in 1925. He did not finish. He stopped racing in 1927. He did nothing for two years after ending his career, then returned as a motorcycle-pacer and team manager. He had little success at either. In 1932 he wrote his impressions of the Tour de France for Paris-Soir. He remained bitter about those he believed treated cyclists as little better than slaves, said the broadcaster Jean-Paul Brouchon, while forgetting that cycling had made him rich. Pélissier’s first wife, Léonie, shot herself in 1933. Three years later Pélissier took a lover, Camille Tharault whom he called Miete, who was 20 years his junior. He threatened her with a knife at least once and on 1 May 1935, he and Camille had a row and Pélissier lunged at her with a knife, cutting her face. She ran to the bedroom, opened a drawer and pulled out the revolver with which Léonie had shot herself. She ran back to the kitchen and found Pélissier waiting with the knife. At that moment both saw the other as threatening and Camille pulled the trigger five times. Pélissier fell to the floor. Next day, Paris-Soir‘s headline was: ‘THE TRAGIC END OF HENRI PÉLISSIER surprises no-one at Dampierre – ‘If I’d had the money I would have left him long ago’ the murderess said yesterday’ Camille’s trial opened a year later, almost to the day. She pleaded self-defence and on 26 May 1936, she was handed a year’s suspended jail sentence. It was as close as the court could come to acquitting her.
  • Born today in 1903, Attercliffe swimmer Irene Gilbert. She held the English Ladies’ breaststroke record  and joint holder of the English Ladies’ backstroke record.  Whe was said to have a slight physique and spectators were in constant wonder as to where she found her wonderfful staying power. She competed at the 1924 Games in 200m breaststroke, where she came 5th behind teammates Lucy Moreton, who took gold and Gladys Carson in third, with American Anges Geraghty winning silver.
  • Former Everton and England centre-forward Dixie Dean was born on this day in 1907. In the 1927-28 season he scored a record 60 goals in a Football League season, he also scored 18 goals in 16 appearances for England. Dean died on 1 March 1980 at age 73 after suffering a heart attack at Goodison Park whilst watching a Merseyside Derby. It was the first time that Dean had visited Goodison Park in several years, due to ill health. “He belongs to the company of the supremely great, like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt“, said Bill Shankly. His funeral took place at St. James’ Church on Laird Street (the street where he was born) in Birkenhead. Dean was survived by his four children: William, Geoffrey, Ralph and Barbara; he outlived his wife Ethel, who died of a heart attack in 1974 after 43 years of marriage.
  • The man who guided England to World Cup glory in 1966, Sir Alf Ramsey, was born in 1920. He was appointed England manager in 1963, a year after talking Ipswich to the first division title.
  • Former heavyweight boxer George Foreman was born in 1949. He won the title by beating Joe Frazier in 1973 and made two successful defences before losing to Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. He came out of retirement in the 1980s to have another crack at the world crown and in 1991, at the age of 43, was beaten on points by Evander Holyfield.
  • Joe Davies complied the first official maximum snooker break of 147 in 1955, playing against Willie Smith at the Leicester Square Hall.
  • On this day in 1956 Betsy Rawls wins the LPGA Tampa Golf OpenBritain’s first world moto-racing champion,
  • Mike Hawthorn, died in 1959 when the Jaguar he was driving went out of control on the Guilford by-pass.
  • British Olympic swimmer Nick Gillingham was born in 1967.  He also represented GB in FINA world championships and European championships, and England in the Commonwealth Games and participated in three consecutive Olympics, starting in 1988. In August 1989, he equalled the existing world record in the long-course 200m breaststroke, only to co-hold it for a single day before the other record co-holder, American Mike Barrowman, lowered the record again. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul he won a silver medal in the 200m followed by a bronze medal in the same event four years later at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He also won the world title at the first inaugural 1993 FINA Short Course World Championships in Palma de Mallorca. He broke three world, ten European, nine Commonwealth and seventeen British records during his career and won 17 major championships. Gillingham was awarded the MBE in 1993 for ‘services to swimming’ and retired from full-time competitive sport in 1996.
  • Today in 1988 saw Brian Lara make his first class cricket debut for Trinidad and Tobago against Leeward Islands.


  • Frederick 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 100th100, 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.
  • Peter Laurence van der Merwe, South African cricketer died on this day in 2013.  Born on 14th March 1937 in Paarl, Cape Province he played in fifteen Tests from 1963 to 1967.



  • The world’s oldest badminton club is reputed to have been formed in England as the Newcastle Badminton Club today in 1900.  While the actual origins of the game are a little uncertain, 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
  • Lieutenant Colonel Alastair Edward Henry Worsley, died on this day at the age of 55 in 2016. The British explorer was born on 4th October 1960 and was part of the successful 2009 expedition that retraced Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps in the Antarctic. He died while attempting to complete the first solo and unaided crossing of the Antarctic. Attempting to be the first person to cross Antarctica on foot, unassisted and unsupported, he crossed more than 900 miles (1450 km) and was forced, by exhaustion and ill health, to call for help 126 miles (200 km) from his journey’s intended end. Rescued and flown to a hospital in Punta Arenas, in the Patagonia region of southern Chile, where he was diagnosed with peritonitis.


  • On this day in 1755V. 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.
  • Kevin Heffernan Irish Gaelic footballer and manager who played as a left corner-forward for the Dublin senior team died today in 2013. Regarded as one of the greatest Gaelic footballers of all-time, he was born on 20th August 1929 and made his debut during the 1948 championship and was a regular member of the starting fifteen until his retirement after the 1962 championship. During that time he won one All-Ireland medal, four Leinster medals and three National League medals. An All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion, Heffernan captained the team to the All-Ireland title in 1958. At club level Heffernan enjoyed a lengthy career with St. Vincent’s. He won fifteen county football championship medals and six county hurling championship medals. In retirement from playing Heffernan became involved in coaching and team management. As Dublin manager he revived the county team and steered them to three All-Ireland titles between 1974 and 1983. Heffernan has a number of personal achievements. In 1974 he became the only non-player to be honoured as the Texaco Footballer of the Year. In 1984 he was named in the left corner-forward position on the GAA’s Team of the Century. He was moved to the opposite corner when he was named on the Team of the Millennium in 1999.



  • 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 titleand 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.



  • 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 the1st 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 Camelsingle-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.