- August 12 down the years
Golden Bear makes it 12
Jack Nicklaus won the US PGA. Like a boxer on the way to a points decision, he jabbed out final rounds of 68-68-69 to finish four strokes ahead of poor Bruce Crampton, who was runner-up four times in the Majors, always behind Nicklaus. This was the Golden Bear's 12th Major win, breaking the record set by Walter Hagen at the British Open in 1929 (May 10).
On the same day in 1990, future TV summariser Wayne Grady won the US PGA. A second-round 67 put the Australian in charge, and he played safely over the last two rounds to finish three shots clear of Fred Couples.
Like Roy Jones three years later (March 1), Evander Holyfield became WBA heavyweight champion with a unanimous points decision over John Ruiz, only in this case the fight was for the vacant title. In a rematch, Ruiz took the title with an undisputed points verdict of his own, then kept it by drawing with Holyfield in a third fight at the end of 2001.
On the same night as their first bout, Joe Calzaghe retained his WBO super-middleweight title by stopping Omar Sheika in the fifth round. Omar who? Same goes for most of Calzaghe's opponents.
The last British runner to win a medal in an Olympic Games Marathon. On the finishing lap inside the stadium, Charlie Spedding was outsprinted by Ireland's John Treacy - but the gold medal had already been won, by 37-year-old Carlos Lopes of Portugal, who'd finished second to Lasse Virén in the 10,000 metres eight years earlier (July 26) and now set an Olympic record of 2 hours 9 minutes 21 seconds that wasn't broken until 2008. Treacy and Spedding also broke 2 hours 9.
These Olympic Games in Paris included some oddball events, none more so than in swimming, which took place in the River Seine through the capital. Freddie Lane of Australia won two races today: the 200 metres freestyle in a time 13 seconds faster than his own world record - and an obstacle race over the same distance, which included climbing a pole, stepping over one row of boats and swimming under another one!
Jack Jarvis won the 1000 metres freestyle, finishing more than a minute ahead of the field, and helped Britain win the inaugural Olympic water polo title by beating Belgium 7-2. Local boy Charles de Vendeville won the underwater race. Jarvis won another event a week later.
The first runner to go under 3 minutes 50 seconds for the mile. Twenty-one years after Roger Bannister broke the four-minute barrier (May 6), John Walker of New Zealand ran exactly ten seconds faster: 3:49.4 in Gothenburg, a world record broken by Seb Coe four years later.
The same day in 1960 saw the first 20-metre shot putt and the first 70-metre hammer throw. Bill Nieder threw 20.06 after coming as close as possible with 19.99 in April. He won gold at the Olympics in August. Fellow American Hal Connolly was already the Olympic champion when he reached 70.33 to break his own world record of 68.68.
Laurent Fignon was born in Paris. Blond and bespectacled, with a trademark ponytail and great climbing ability, he won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984 but lost the 1989 race by just eight seconds (July 23), which prevented him doing the Tour and Giro d'Italia double in the same year. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, the same year he admitted having taken drugs during his career.
In Sydney, Australia virtually assured themselves of the inaugural world team title in squash by beating England 3-0. In the opening match, gritty Ken Hiscoe beat British Open champion Jonah Barrington after losing the first two games and trailing 2-0 in the third. Australia clinched the title with another 3-0 win, over South Africa.