• In 1901 Peter O’Connor of Ireland, sets the first officially recognised world long jump record at 24′ 11 3/4″ in Dublin, Ireland
  • On this day at the 1936 Olympics American Athlete Jesse Owens won the 200m in a world record time of 20.7 and his third gold medal of the Games. The Italian Ondina Valla ran a world record 11.6 in the semi-finals of the 80m hurdles, winning the final the next day but unable to match her time. Her win however made her the very first Italian woman to win an Olympic Gold and the youngest Italian female athlete to ever to win an Olympic title. A USA 1-2 in the men’s discus saw Ken Carpenter throw a new Olympic record of 50.48m and Gordon Dunn claim silver with 49.36m, the Italian Giorgio Oberweger coming third.
  • Today, at the first post WWII Olympics in 1948, events included: a Jamaican 1-2 in the men’s 400m, with Arthur Wint clocking 46.2s to beat his team mate Herb McKenley for the gold medal. A Swedish sweep of the medals in the 3000m steeplechase saw with Tore Sjöstrand taking gold ahead of team mates Erik Elmsäter & Göte Hagström.
  • Today in 1984 American super-hurdler Edwin Moses won the 400m hurdles gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics, which was his 105th consecutive race victory. Another American, Evelyn Ashford ran an Olympic 100m record of 10.97 to beat fellow US competitor Alice Brown to the tape.
  • In 1991 Russian Sergei Bubka broke his own world pole vault record, clearing 6.10m in Malmö Sweden
  • The 5th Athletics World Championships open at Gothenburg, Sweden today in 1995
  • Today in 2016 the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games officially opened in the Maracanã Stadium


  • Australian athlete and 4 times Olympic champion Elizabeth “Betty” Alyse Cuthbert, died today in 2017 at the age of 79. Born on 20 April 1938, she will be forever known as the Golden Girl of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, when she sprinted into public consciousness from virtually nowhere. She personally never rated her chances of being chosen to represent her country and in fact bought tickets to watch the Games. However, she went on to overshadow her world record holding team mates Shirley Strickland and Marlene Matthews. In a glorious nine days she won three gold medals – 100m, 200m and ran the anchor leg to bring the Australian 4x100m relay team home to victory, this becoming the first Australian ever to win three Golds at a single Games. It needed to be noted here that the track events at these Games preceded the swimming, at which Murray Rose performed the same feat. Injured for the 1960 Games she failed to do well and was forced into an early retirement, but one that did not last that long, when she competed in the 400m at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, winning her fourth career Olympic title. Betty held 14 world records, comprising 10 individual and four relays as well as a number of world bests [including unclaimed records and metric distance bests]. She remains the only Olympic sprinter, man or woman, to have won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m. In the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff she claimed silver in the 220 yrds and 4 x 110 yrds relay as well as finishing fourth in the 110 yrds. Four years later in Perth she was part of the victorious Australian sprint relay team and individually finished fifth in the 220 yrds and was eliminated at the semi-final stage of the 110 yrds. In 1964 she was awarded the prestigious Helms Award for her contributions to sport. Sadly she later suffered from multiple sclerosis, having first been diagnosed in 1969 and in 2002 had a severe brain haemorrhage. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, aided by a wheelchair, she was one of several Australian women who carried the Olympic Flag at the Opening Ceremony. Betty was the only Australian among the 10 inaugural inductees to the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012 and among other honours has a rose named after her. At the time of her death, she was the youngest ever 200m gold medallist in Olympic history and the day after her 2017 death a minute’s silence was held before the start of competition at the World Athletics Championships in London and Australian athletes were granted permission by the IAAF to wear black armbands in competition.


  • Back to the 1936 Olympics were today the surprise Finnish winner of the 5,000m final, Gunnar Höckert, ran an Olympic record to beat team mate Lauri Lehtinen, who was the favourite for the event.
  • In London today in 1948: Delfo Cabrera of Argentina won a dramatic Olympic marathon in 2:34:51.6s. The London Games was Cabrera’s first major international meet and the race was dominated by the Belgian, Gailly dominated the race, until the final few yards that was. He was the first runner to enter the stadium, but on the final lap he fell down exhausted several times in an eerie replay of the finish at the 1908 marathon. Cabrera and GB’s Tom Richards managed to pass the staggering Gailly, Cabrera winning, 16 secs ahead of Richards, with Gailly taking bronze. Swedish race walker John Mikaelsson won the 10k title by 30.6 secs from team mate Ingemar Johansson. The women were also making their mark in the athletics arena with Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands winning her 4th track & field gold medal of the Games as part of the Dutch 4 x 100m relay team and American Alice Coachman becoming the first black woman from any country to win an Olympic gold, when she won the high jump title. The British women high jumpers taking silver in the form of Dorothy Odam-Tyler, with Bertha Crowther in 6th and Dora Gardner in 8th.
  • In 1983, on the opening day of the 1st Athletics World Championships, held in Helsinki, Grete Waitz of Norway claimed the inaugural women’s marathon title
  • Today in 1991, the American quartet of Carl Lewis, Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell and Dennis Mitchell set a 4 x 100m relay world record of 37.67s at the annual Weltklasse Zürich, meet in Switzerland.
  • Today in 2005 saw American sprinter Justin Gatlin blitz through the field to win 100m in 9.88s at the World Athletics Championships


  • Today in 2019 see the opening of the World Police and Fire Games in Chengdu, China, the closing ceremony will take place on August 18th. The games had their origins in San Jose, California in 1985 and since that time have been held every two years in a different city and country around the world. Many of the world largest cities have hosted the games, which attract thousands of competitors from up to 80 countries to contest 54+ sports. Eligibility extends to all serving law enforcement officers and professional firefighters as well as retired officers. The event has over 10,000 participants, just a little more than the participants of the Summer Olympic Games, exceeding the third place holder – The Commonwealth Games. In 1967, the first California Police Olympics was held. The idea of the Games started to evolve and led to create the World Police and Fire Games Federation – it is a non-profit organization that is run by the Californian Police Athletics Federation. In 1985, the first WPFG was held in San Jose, California with almost 5,000 participants. In 2011 in New York, over 16,000 athletes from 59 different countries attended. During the early 2010s, the UK hosted three events consecutively—the 2012 Olympics in London, the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Montréal was originally set to host the 2017 Montreal World Police and Fire Games, however the Montreal Firefighters Association called for a boycott of the event, which was supported by other groups around the world and subsequently the host city decided to withdraw. The event was held in LA and the 2021 edition is set to be staged at Rotterdam. For more information on these games see http://www.chengdu2019wpfg.com/en/sports/infos/


  • In 1936, Korean nationals, both representing Japan, won medals in the marathon at the Berlin Olympics; Sohn Kee-Chung won gold and Nam Sung-Yong bronze [After the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, Japan had occupied Korea, and forced their athletes to compete under the Japanese flag]. Jesse Owens continued his winning ways when the USA sprint relay team smash the world record, clocking 39.8s on their way to taking the Gold medal. The American women, not to be outdone, claim the sprint relay with athlete Helen Stephens winning her second gold, previously having won the individual 100m. The GB team were second, with Canada in third. The German women, the overwhelming favourites, dropped the baton on the way around.
  • British decathlete Daley Thompson scored 8,797 points to win the Olympic title in Los Angeles today in 1984, which was later recognised as a world record. Valerie Briscoe-Hooks beats fellow American Florence Griffith to win the 200m gold and thus completed the 200-400m double.
  • On this day in 2012, Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt won 200m Olympic Gold in London, stopping the clock at 19,32s to become the first ever athlete to win the 100/200m double in back-to-back Olympics.


  • Born today in 1913, Estonian born Finnish athlete, Kalevi Kotkas. A high jumper, discus and shot put specialist, he became the first ever European high jump champion in 1934 in Turin, and competed in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. In 1936 he cleared the same height of 2.00 m as the medalists Dave Albritton and Delos Thurber but made more attempts and was thus placed fourth. Kalevi set four European records in high jump, but two of them – achieved in Rio de Janeiro in 1934 – were never ratified. The ratified records were 2.03m (Helsinki, 12 July 1936) and 2.04m (Gothenburg, 1 September 1936). He died on 24 August 1983.
  • Today in 1972 Finnish runner Lasse Virén wrapped up a 5,000/10,000m double at the Munich Olympics, running an Olympic record 13:26.42 while claiming the 5k title.
  • At the inaugural World Athletics Championships in 1983, Carl Lewis won the long jump title
  • The famous or maybe infamous Mary Decker-Zola Budd collision during 3,000m at the LA Olympics took place today in 1984. In summary: Decker fell, Budd finished 7th and Maricica Puică of Romania won.
    The 14th Athletics World Championships open at Moscow today in 2013.



  • Today in 1984 Carl Lewis duplicated Jesse Owens’ 1936 feat by winning his 4th Olympic gold as a member of the USA 4 x 100m relay team, in a world record time of 37.83s. A GB 1-2 in the 1500m saw Sebastian Coe edge Steven Cram into silver. Seb became the only man to successfully defend an Olympic 1500m.
  • In Helsinki in 2005, American sprinter Justin Gatlin becomes only the 2nd athlete to take the sprint double, winning 200m in 20.04 at a single World Championships. Maurice Greene being the first in 1999. Tyson Gay finishes fourth in the race to complete an American 1-2-3-4, the first time any nation achieved this in a world championship athletics event. Usain Bolt pulled up at about 150m and finished last.
  • Today in 2013 at the 14th Athletics World Championships, Usian Bolt won the 100m, with his team mate Nesta Carter being pipped for silver by Gatlin. Bolt also claimed the 200m title at this championships in a world leading time, It was a Jamaican 1-2, with Warren Weir taking silver and USA sprinter Curtis Mitchell in third.