• October 1 down the years

'Where oh where were the Germans?'

Sean Kerly scored eight goals in the tournament © Getty Images

'Where oh where were the Germans? And frankly, who cares?' Barry Davies saying what his TV audience were thinking as Imran Sherwani scored Britain's third goal. This was the final of the men's hockey tournament at the Olympic Games. To get there, Britain had taken a 2-0 lead over world champions Australia in the semi-final, been dragged back to 2-2, then won the match when Sean Kerly completed a hat-trick. In the final, Britain faced West German, who'd beaten them in the group stages and hadn't lost to them for thirty years. But Sherwani cut in from the left for the opening goal, and the Germans couldn't cope with Kerly any better than Australia had done. The sharpest goalscorer in world hockey, he made it 2-0 with his 15th goal in 14 Olympic matches, smacking in Britain's only penalty corner of the game. When Steve Batchelor crossed from the right after 52 minutes, Sherwani was there and the Germans weren't. Heiner Dopp's goal was just a late sop, and he wasn't in the squad when Germany won gold four years later.

At the same '88 Olympics, tennis was back on the schedule for the first time since 1924, and Steffi Graf completed her 'Golden Slam' by winning the gold medal. She'd won the singles title at all four Grand Slam tournaments that year, and she had no trouble in today's final. Gabriela Sabatini's weak serve prevented her winning any easy points, so she was forced to chase Graf's whiplash forehand in crushing heat. It was all over in eighty minutes: 6-3 6-3. The only other tennis player to win the singles title at every Grand Slam event plus the Olympics was Graf's future husband - and even Andre Agassi didn't win them all in the same year.

Two gold medals for Britain at the Olympics in Sydney.

Stephanie Cook won the first women's modern pentathlon ever held at the Games. Her main rival was a team mate at Oxford University: Emily DeRiel, who outscored Cook in the first four events but knew she was going to lose. Cook was such a good runner that she'd competed in cross-country races for Britain - so even though she started the 3000 metres 49 seconds behind DeRiel, the American knew what was coming: 'Quite honestly, I was waiting for Steph to overtake me.' Cook obliged with 300 metres to go, while British team mate Kate Allenby took the bronze.

Across town, big Audley Harrison became the first British boxer to win Olympic gold since Chris Finnegan in 1968. After stopping the European champion in his opening bout, Harrison had to fight today's fnal with a swollen knuckle. Even with painkillers, he didn't throw many point-scoring punches for more than half the fight, and although he still led 9-4 after two rounds, Kazakhstan's Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov closed within a point. So Harrison raised the tempo. His fast hands began landing on targets, and he eventually won 30-16. Harrison was already nearly 29 and his lack of power was obvious. So his professional career was a let-down. So show us your Olympic gold medals.

The same day in 1975 produced one of boxing's epic fights. The Thrilla in Manila was the decider between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Smokin' Joe had ended Ali's comeback by retaining his world heavyweight title in 1971 (March 8). Ali won a non-title rematch in 1974. In his next fight, he'd taken the world title from George Foreman (October 30). This was his fourth defence and, Frazier being Frazier, the hardest yet, so tough that Ali called it the nearest thing to dying. The fight followed the same pattern as their two other encounters, Ali popping away from long range, Frazier bobbing and weaving and throwing left hooks. Days later, Ali was still feeling the pain in his side where one of those lefts had landed - but Joe was in even worse shape. They were both exhausted by the heat and dripping humidity, but it was Frazier whose eyes were shut towards the end. When he started taking too many punches he couldn't see, trainer Eddie Futch wouldn't let him come out for the 15th round. But the spirit was willing to the end. Joe lost to Foreman the following year, retired, came back for one more fight in 1981, then went away for good. Ali made another six defences before taking a Mickey Mouse fight with Goofy (February 15 1978).

John Conteh was too fast for Jorge Ahumada © Getty Images

The year before, the same date didn't provide such a memorable fight but it did give Britain a new world champion. When the great Bob Foster retired as undisputed light-heavyweight boss, his title was divided up - and tonight John Conteh drew the long straw, the easier Argentinian. Víctor Galíndez won the vacant WBA belt, while Conteh met Jorge Ahumada for the WBC version at Wembley's Empire Pool. Galíndez has a real hard man, someone who could knock you out early on but was more likely to batter you for fifteen rounds. He made ten successful defences of the WBA title before losing it, then won it back. Ahumada was just as durable, but didn't have Galíndez's cutting edge. Foster at his peak would have stopped him. When they fought a draw in Foster's home town, the old champion knew it was time to go. Ahumada went all the way tonight too, but Conteh's punching was faster and cleaner. He piled up the points in the fifth and sixth rounds, survived the odd big punch and a wobbly ninth, then took over for good in the twelfth, when Ahumada looked like a bull who'd had enough. Conteh was the first British boxer to win a world light-heavyweight title since Freddie Mills in 1948 (July 26). Good looking, charismatic, and ruthless, he looked set for a long reign. But a broken hand held him back and he lost world title fights in 1978 (June 17) and 1979 (August 18). Still, tonight British fans found a new hero...

...in complete contrast to Joe Bugner, whom they never took to their hearts. Here's why. On the same bill, Bugner beat Venezuela's José Luis García in the second round. It was only Bugner's second knockout win in five years.

Michael Schumacher won a Formula One race for the last time to date. At the Chinese Grand Prix, defending world champion Fernando Alonso started on pole and set the fastest lap, but he chose the wrong tyres in wet conditions; when he pitted to change them, Schumacher took a big lead. Alonso whittled it down to only three seconds by the end, but Schumacher's win kept the title race humming. However, his engine blew up in the next race, giving Alonso a big advantage before the season's finale (October 22). Schumacher had won a Grand Prix for the first time in 1992 (August 30). No-one else has won World Championship races 14 years apart - or quite so many: his 91 victories are followed by Alan Prost's 51.

Steve Cram's last chance of an Olympic gold medal. In the end, the best Britain could manage was silver - and even that eluded our Steve. But not our Peter. Cram had dominated the event since 1982, winning titles at two European Championships, two Commonwealth Games, and a World Championships. He broke Steve Ovett's world record (July 16 1985), set another in the mile (July 27), and finishing second at the 1984 Olympics after injury (August 11). But when Cram finished out of the medals at the 1987 World Championships, the aura disappeared overnight. He was favourite for today's Olympic final, but only because world champion Abdi Bile and world record holder Said Aouita were injured. With 200 metres to go, the lead was held by the unsung little Kenyan Peter Rono, with Cram and British team mate Peter Elliott close behind. Rono kept looking back, as if expecting to be overtaken any second. He never was. Behind his shock gold, Elliott took silver, while East Germany's Jean-Peter Herold outkicked Cram for bronze.

Masaru Furukawa's amazing lungs achieved their greatest success. And their last. They were so strong that they had to be banned. When breaststroke swimmers realised they were more streamlined underwater, they began staying under as long as possible, no-one longer than Furukawa. Today in Tokyo, he swam two races and broke four world records. In a 25-metre pool, he finished the 200 metres and 220 yards in 2 minutes 31.0 seconds. He didn't take a breath until the first turn, then came up again after 100 metres and only three times in each of the remaining six lengths. It was his fourth world record at the distance and he was the reigning Olympic champion. Later in the day, he swam the 100 metres and 110 yards in 1 minute 08.2 while taking only five breaths in the whole race. Then the powers-that-be intervened. Underwater swimming was banned, and world records had to be set in 50-metre pools.