• January 9 down the years

Thank goodness for chocolate

The sporting events of January 9 down the years
Tony Bullimore: Not afraid of a challenge © Getty Images

Following a much-publicised search, Tony Bullimore, a veteran yachtsman in the round-the-world race, was found alive after spending five days in the upturned hull of his boat. He'd survived on a bar of chocolate. Don't we all.

Sergio García was born to be a golfing star but one that doesn't always twinkle twinkle. At 19, he won two events on the European tour and became the only teenager to play in the Ryder Cup. But he also finished dead last in his first British Open, shooting 89 and 83, 30 over par. Then the star shone again at the USPGA, finishing only one shot behind winner Tiger Woods. Eleven years on and counting, García still hadn't won a Major, his best finish being second at the British Open in 2007. Winning the 2008 Players Championship (the 'Fifth Major') was the next best thing, but he isn't any more.

The first nine-dart finish in the World Championship. In his match against Jack McKenna of Ireland, America's Paul Lim's last three arrows took a traditional route: treble 20, treble 19, double 12. He won a £52,000 bonus, more than the eventual champion. Lim's feat wasn't repeated in the Worlds (even with two versions of it) until Ray van Barneveld in 2009.

Guillermo Vilas was a king on clay but hankered after a Grand Slam title on grass. No chance at Wimbledon or the US, where the top serve-volleyers congregated, but the Australian Open now...they even made him top seed there this year. But in the final, he ran into the biggest server of the lot, Roscoe Tanner, who beat him 6-3 6-3 6-3 in just 83 minutes to win his only Grand Slam singles title. Vilas came back for easier pickings on January 3, 1979. Kerry Reid (formerly Kerry Melville) beat Dianne Fromholz in the last Australian Open final, men's or women's, between two Australians.

Joe Louis took revenge on Buddy Baer. Baer's brother Max had been world heavyweight champion. Big Buddy wasn't in that class, but he did knock Louis down in their previous title fight before losing in seven rounds. Now Joe settled their differences quickly, flattening the taller man three times before stopping him in the first round. Baer never fought again.

John Flanagan was born in Ireland but threw the hammer for the USA. Threw it better than anyone else up until then. He won the first three Olympic titles in the event (1900 to 1908) and set 18 world records from 1895 to 1909.

In darts, John Lowe won the last unified World Championship before the big split. In the final, he came through 6-3 against Alan Warriner, who was appearing in his only final. Lowe had won the first of his three world titles in 1978.

Wales introduced the first four-man back line to international rugby, but the plan was abandoned during the match and temporarily shelved after Scotland won by three tries to nil.

At the World Championships in Perth, Australia, some top swimmers won gold. Matt Biondi (born October 8, 1965) retained the 100 metres freestyle; Janet Evans took the 400 free and the incredible Krisztina Egerszegi won the 100 backstroke. Among the other winners was the first from Spain: Martín López Zubero in the 200 backstroke.

JT Hartley was born. The Reverend John Thorneycroft Hartley was Wimbledon singles champion in 1879 and 1880. It's said that he had to pop home to give a sermon one year. The game he played was a delicate thing, making strokes rather than hitting shots. When he faced the dynamic young Willie Renshaw (born January 3, 1861) in 1881, the game was up. The Rev lost his title 6-0 6-1 6-1 in only 37 minutes. No need to hurry the sermons after that.

Bart Starr was born. And with a name like that, he was born to be one. Quarterback in the first two Super Bowls, 1967 and 1968, he was voted MVP both times as Green Bay Packers won 35-10 and 33-14. He threw two touchdown passes in the first and one from 62 yards in the second.

In the Super Bowl, Oakland Raiders won 32-14 against the Minnesota Vikings, who lost in the big event for the fourth time in eight years, each time under coach Bud Grant. Oakland's Pete Banaszak scored two touchdowns by rushing from a combined distance of three yards.

Ágnes Keleti was born in Budapest and became one of the top gymnasts of her day, winning ten Olympic medals, including five golds, from 1952 and 1956. She was world champion on the asymmetrical bars in 1954.

Daphne Akhurst, Daphne Cozens by now, died during an ectopic pregnancy, aged 29. She was runner-up in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1928 and Australian singles champion five times, including three in a row.