• October 27 down the years

Boardman goes out with a bang

Chris Boardman bowed out with a world record © Getty Images
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2000
The last thing Britain's Chris Boardman did before retiring was break a world record. He already held the official best for distance cycled in an hour (September 6), which still stands. On the same Manchester track today, Boardman went after Eddy Merckx's old record for mileage covered on an old-fashioned bike, before the introduction of aerodynamic helmets, wheels, and frames. Merckx reached 49,431m in 1972 (October 25). Boardman managed only ten metres more. He did it at sea level, whereas Merckx had the helpful thin air of Mexico City - but those extra ten metres had taken 28 years. Boardman immediately retired, suffering from a brittle-bone disease similar to osteoporosis.

1962
The first woman to swim 100 metres in under a minute. Australian legend Dawn Fraser set 11 world bests in the 100m freestyle, the first in 1956, when she broke a 19-year-old record (February 21). Today in Melbourne, she clocked 59.9 seconds for 110 yards to break the time of exactly one minute she'd set in the same pool four days earlier. And she would have swum faster but for a hip injury: at halfway, she had to touch the wall with her hand rather than using the faster tumble turn. She covered the first length in a superfast 28 seconds and the second in 31.9. It was one of nine world records set at these Commonwealth Games trials, and Fraser was involved in another one later that evening, when she swam the opening leg in the 4x110 yards freestyle relay. She set her last world record in the 100m free in 1964 (58.9 seconds), the year she won her third Olympic gold medal in the event (October 13). No-one else held the record from December 1956 to January 1972.

1994
The biggest win in international rugby union featured the only player to score ten tries in a match for his country. In a World Cup qualifier in Kuala Lumpur, a Hong Kong team made up of ex-pats showed no mercy to Singapore. They scored 83 points in the first half and a mere 81 in the second. Their 164-13 win beat the previous highest score set by Fiji against the Solomon Islands in 1969 (their 113 points would have been worth 163 by 1994). Hong Kong scored 26 tries, which also bettered Fiji's total by one. Jon Dingley scored three; so did Vaughan Going, nephew of famous All Black scrum-half Sid; and full-back Ashley Billington reached double figures. Twelve players got on the try sheet in all, including fly-half Jamie McKee, who also kicked 17 conversions. Nine were missed, which may be another world record. Two days later, Billington scored a mere three in an 80-26 win over against Taiwan. His 50 points against Singapore were a world record until 2002 (July 21).

Another shark devouring a minnow in Far East rugby. On the same date in 1999, Japan also won a World Cup qualifier, beating Taiwan 134-6 in Singapore. Japan ran in 20 tries. Three players scored three each and Terunori Masuho became the first to score five in a one game for them. Keiji Hirose kicked ten conversions, his half-time substitute Keisuke Sawaki seven.

2004
The Boston Red Sox were obviously waiting for the 100th World Series, which ended today. Then they won baseball's big event for the first time in 86 years. The fourth game in their 4-0 win over the St Louis Cardinals was played in St Louis, but 3,000 Boston fans travelled down. The Sox were champions again three years later.

Better from the Cardinals two years later. They beat hot favourites the Detroit Tigers 4-1 to win the World Series for the first time since 1982. The Cardinals lost ten of their last 14 regular-season games and won fewer than any WS champions before them.

David Campese helped steer Australia to World Cup glory © Getty Images
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1991
David Campese left his mark on yet another major rugby match. In a thrilling World Cup quarter-final, he'd scored two tries and made another against Ireland in Dublin (October 20). In today's semi-final on the same ground, he scored one and made one against the defending champions and tournament favourites. The match was played on a Sunday, so New Zealand's brilliant flanker Michael Jones dropped out for religious reasons. He'd also missed the quarter-final with Canada, but of course his absence was far more important against Australia. Campese got in on the act even before the match started. The All Black haka used to be just a bit of fun. But by now someone had decided it was a genuine war cry, something which opponents had to face up to. France, for instance, had thrust their chins out before the 1987 final (June 20). It was already getting a tad tedious - and Campese agreed. While his team mates squared up to the New Zealand posturing, Campo took a ball behind one of the goal lines and tossed it back and forth over the crossbar! If this was calculated to get up All Black noses, he rubbed them in it by scoring the opening try. After only six minutes, his diagonal run from right to left opened up avenues he threatened to dart into. Several confused defenders let him run on until he dived over near the corner. Later he gathered Michael Lynagh's punt, cut inside, and threw a pass over his right shoulder, confident that Tim Horan would be there. Australia led 13-0 at half-time, and their midfield defence kept the All Blacks tryless in the second half. The 16-6 win put them in the final against their hosts (November 2). New Zealand haven't won the World Cup since 1987.

1908
British boxers won all five gold medals at the Olympics. It wasn't as big an achievement as it might sound. The Games were held in London, hardly any overseas boxers took part, and only one won a medal.

In the bantamweight division, ABA champion Harry Thomas beat Scottish champion Frank McGurk, then had a bye in the semi-finals. Meanwhile John Condon beat the only foreign boxer in the division, Pierre Mazior of France, then survived a tough semi-final against Bill Webb. In the final, Thomas was quicker on his feet, threw more left jabs, and won comfortably on points.

The gold medal at featherweight was won by 37-year-old Richard Gunn, the oldest boxer ever to win an Olympic title. Coming out of retirement to compete at the Games, he beat a Frenchman and another British boxer to reach the final. There he completely outboxed Charles Morris in the first round but Morris 'showed cleverness in avoiding' during the second. The rules added a fourth extra minute to the third round, but the older man lasted the pace better and won an easy decision.

Fred Grace wasn't exactly favourite for gold at lightweight. He'd never won a major title and by his own admission was horribly short of training. But he did wonderfully well to win his quarter-final against Matt Wells, who later won the world welterweight title as a professional. In the final against Fred Spiller, the first round was even, both boxers were down in the second, then Grace used his superior skills to dominate the third. Yet again, the points decision wasn't hard to make.

Ah, a foreigner in a final at last. Reg 'Snowy' Baker was Australia's top all-rounder, an international in five different sports. Here in London, he competed in springboard diving and the 4x200m freestyle relay. In 1904, he'd won two caps against the British Isles as a scrum-half (his cauliflower ear came from rugby not boxing). In today's final, he met another double international. Johnny Douglas later captained England at cricket, hitting the ball less hard than his opponents in the ring (he was known as Johnny Won't Hit Today after his initials). Two knockouts took Douglas to the final, where he and Baker produced a classic fight. Douglas used his left hand well, but Baker pressurised him throughout, and it's safe to say Australians didn't agree with the narrow points decision (Douglas received his gold medal from his dad, the president of the ABA...).

The heavyweight final was the only one not to go the distance. ABA champion Syd Evans injured his shoulder in an earlier round and couldn't deal with Albert Oldman's two-handed punching. It was all over after exactly two minutes, and Oldman won his gold medal after fighting for less than three. He was another boxer who received a bye in the semis, and in his only other bout he stopped Ian Myrams in the first minute.

1974
In Neuf Brisach in Alsace, French runner Chantal Langlace set a world record in the marathon. She finished 13 minutes clear of the field, and her time of 2 hours 46 minutes 24 seconds was 12 seconds faster than the time set by Miki Gorman of the USA the year before.

On the same date in 1931, Chuhei Nambu set a world record in the long jump. In a match between Japan and Japanese Students in Tokyo, he touched down at 7.98m, five centimetres more than the record set by a Haitian three years earlier (September 9). At the Olympic Games the following year, Nambu jumped only 7.45 for the bronze medal - but set another world record in winning the triple jump.

1979
In Buenos Aires, fly-half and national hero Hugo Porta landed three drop goals in a game against Australia. He also kicked a penalty goal and converted both of Rafael Madero's tries. Argentina led 12-10 at half-time on their way to a 24-13 win. Porta's total of 28 drop goals was a world record until Jonny Wilkinson came along. And no-one landed more than three in an international match until 1999 (October 24).

On the same day in 1990, Porta scored his last points for Argentina. Give or take. Three penalty goals gave them a 9-7 lead in Dublin, and Porta added another penalty and a conversion - but Ireland scored two tries and squeezed home 20-18. Porta's total of 653 points for Argentina and South America (worth 667 today) was another world record at the time. Later in the tour, he failed to score in internationals at Twickenham and Murrayfield. In 1999, he came on as a 47-year-old sub and kicked a conversion in what may have been an official international (April 17).

1956
All-time great Australian swimmer Murray Rose (born January 6 1939) set his first world record. But the significant thing was that it was slower than the one before! In January 1957, he swam the 400 metres freestyle in 4 minutes 25.9 seconds. But that was in a 25-metre pool, and in May all world records had to be set in a 50-metre pool. So the one in the 400 free reverted to Rose's 4:27.0 set in Melbourne today.

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