- January 3 down the years
A Brit dominates Down UnderThe sporting events of January 3 down the years
For the second time in a row, Australia's darling Evonne Goolagong lost in the final of the Australian Open, this time to Britain's Virginia Wade, who beat her 6-4 6-4. Goolagong lost the next year's final too, before winning the title for the three years after that. This was the second of Wade's three Grand Slam singles titles, in three different events, culminating in her big moment on July 1, 1977.
Michael Schumacher was born. It's not just the record numbers here, though we have to list some of them. Seven Formula One titles, 91 Grand Prix wins, 68 pole positions, 1,369 points. It's the talent to handle supercharged machinery like no-one else. When he won his first world title, in 1994, his Benetton car was seriously fast but needed intricate handling. In the races he missed, the team didn't score a point. And Ferrari were only dominant again after he joined them: before 2000, they hadn't won the drivers' title in 21 years. But for the odd engine blowing up, the occasional fast one pulled here and there, he might have won ten world titles. As it is, the driver who won the second-highest number of Grands Prix, Alain Prost (born February 24, 1955), is 40 behind.
The first sending-off in an international rugby match. Welsh referee Albert Freethy had already warned both packs for over-enthusiastic play when big Cyril Brownlie kicked someone and was ordered off after only ten minutes. The decision seemed to deflate England and galvanise the All Blacks. Their remaining forwards dominated the match and Brownlie's brother Maurice snorted over for a vengeful try. New Zealand scored three others, led 17-3, and won 17-11. No-one else was sent off in an international match until one of the all-time greats on December 2, 1967.
Willie and Ernest Renshaw were born. The twins who changed tennis from a vicarage pastime into a sport. When Willie met John T Hartley (born January 9, 1849) in the Wimbledon Challenge Round in 1881, his new-fangled athleticism and the revolutionary way he took the ball on the rise destroyed the Reverend's gentle pit-a-pat 6-0 6-1 6-1. Willie went on to retain the title for the next five years, twice against his brother, and was champion seven times in all, a record equalled only by Pete Sampras on July 9, 2000. Ernest won the singles title in 1888, and the brothers won the doubles seven times. Willie's 14 Wimbledon titles are the record for any male player.
Phil Taylor beat Peter Manley 6-2 to win his fifth world darts title in a row and seventh in all.
On the same day in 2001, the figures went up a couple. Taylor's seventh in a row and ninth in all. His opponent John Part, crushed 7-0, did wonderfully well to come back on January 5, 2003.
Gavin Hastings was born. A strong-running, goal-kicking full-back, he scored 667 points for Scotland, including 227 in the World Cup, and 66 for the Lions, all records at the time. His 44 points against poor Ivory Coast in 1995 would have been even more, a World Cup record that still stands, if one of his kicks hadn't hit a post. He scored the first 27 points of the match, including three tries. Four years earlier, he'd missed a close-range sitter which would probably have won the semi-final against England, who crept into the final 9-6. He was captain of the Lions when they were refereed out of the 1993 series in New Zealand, but left the suspicion that this was someone masquerading as a great player...
Angelo Parisi was born in Italy but represented Britain and France at the Olympics. In 1972 he was only 19 when he won bronze in judo's open class. In 1980 he took advantage of the absence of Yasuhiro Yamashita (born June 1, 1957) and Sumio Endo to win gold at heavyweight. His silver medal against Hitoshi Saito (born January 2, 1961) four years later was probably a greater achievement.
After losing the final on January 9, 1977, Argentinian clay court king Guillermo Vilas was desperate to win a Grand Slam title on grass. He did that today, helped by the fact that his opponent, Australian John Marks, was ranked 177 in the world. He was up to No.44 after the match, in which he took the third set with his net-rushing tactics. It was the first time Vilas won any major tournament on grass. He retained the title the following year. The women's event attracted one of the weakest fields in the event's recent history. In the final, on the same day as the men's, the unseeded Australian six-footer Chris O'Neill beat Betsy Nagelsen of the USA in straight sets, the second on a tie-break. It was the only Grand Slam singles Final either of them ever reached.
Eli Manning was born. Like his brother Peyton, he was a quarterback who was voted MVP after leading his team to victory in a Super Bowl. Peyton won the award with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, Eli with the New York Giants the following year.
Chris Von Saltza was born in San Francisco. Her five golds at the Pan-American Games of 1959 made her a big favourite in the swimming events at the Olympics the following year - and she made light of the pressures on a 16-year-old. Silver in the 100 metres freestyle behind the unbeatable Dawn Fraser (born September 4, 1937) was followed by gold in two relays and the 400 free, in which she'd set a world record just before the Games. She's actually Baroness Von Saltza: the title's still recognised in a who's who of Swedish toffs.
At the end of their first tour of Europe, South Africa scored 13 tries in beating France 55-6 in Paris (worth 81-10 now). The total and Dietloff Maré's 22 points (26 today) would have been world records if the match hadn't been declared unofficial.