• December 10 down the years

Brits run into a man called McEnroe

The sporting events of December 10 down the years
John McEnroe was a legend of the game © Getty Images

After winning his fifth Olympic gold medal, Steve Redgrave was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Britain's last Davis Cup final, and the first since 1937. At Rancho Mirage in California, Buster Mottram played the match of his life to come from two sets and match point down and beat beating Brian Gottfried to level the tie. But he and John Lloyd ran into a 19-year-old called John McEnroe, who dropped only ten games in his two singles matches.

Mo Farah of Britain won the European Cross-Country Championships, a blip in the reign of the Ukraine's Serhiy Lebid, who took the title in each of the five years before Farah and the next two afterwards.

Against England at Twickenham, the pace of left wing Dave Lougheed brought him two good tries. But Canada were outgunned 60-19 - eventually. England led only 15-0 at the break (five penalties) and scored six tries after it, including three by the Underwood brothers. Rob Andrew's 30 points were an England record at the time. He was successful with all 12 of his kicks at goal, a remarkable feat in a typically tricky Twickenham wind, especially when one of his contact lenses fell out.

The wheels on the Audley Harrison bandwagon began to come off. In his 20th pro fight, he suffered his first defeat, a 12th-round stoppage by Danny Williams for the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title.

Jonathan Davies played his last match for Wales before turning to rugby league. Bet he wasn't sorry to go: he captained them to a 15-9 home defeat by Romania. He didn't play international rugby union again until December 1 1996.

In 1980, Mike Weaver won the WBA heavyweight title by knocking out big John Tate with only seconds left. Now he defended it against Michael Dokes - in a fight that ended rather more quickly. Both men came in with Afros like extras in a Shaft film; both lived up to the image by throwing hooks from the start. One of these connected with Weaver's chin, a follow-up put him down, and the referee stopped the fight in the first round. The following year, Weaver lasted a lot longer, but Dokes kept his title with a 15-round a draw. Dokes himself was knocked out in the first round of a title challenge against Riddick Bowe in 1993.

At the European Short-Course Championships, Britain's Mark Foster had now won the first three 50 metres freestyle titles. In 2005 he repeated the hat-trick in the same event.

In rugby league, France beat Australia 11-10 in Toulouse to win the two-match series, the last one the Kangaroos lost until November 26, 2005.

At the inaugural European Cross-Country Championships, the race winners were Portugal's Paulo Guerra and Catherina McKiernan from Republic of Ireland. The event was set up because theo Africans were winning everything at the World Championships. McKiernan suffered more than most: she finished second at the Worlds four years in a row.

One of the earliest world heavyweight championship fights. Postponed from the 8th, it was finally fought in Wadsworth (not Wadhurst) in East Sussex, where 'the young English giant' Tom King met the famous but overrated John C Heenan of the USA. King was 6' 2¼, taller by an inch, but Heenan outweighed him by a stone. With throwing allowed as well as hitting, Heena,n literally at times, hung on for 35 minutes spread over 24 rounds and even knocked King down in the 15th. But the younger man was the better boxer; he cut and bruised Heenan so badly his seconds threw in the towel before the start of the 25th.

The same old story in a Davis Cup final. The home team stages it on a surface that favours them and disadvantages the opposition. So Spain played Australia on indoor clay to take the sting out of Pat Rafter's serves and volleys. And it worked - but only after Rafter retired with cramp against Juan Carlos Ferrero. Lleyton Hewitt had come from 2-1 down to win the opener against Albert Costa, but when he lost in four sets to Ferrero, Spain had won the Cup for the first time, after playing every tie at home.

One of the greatest slugfests of all time featured an incredible recovery by a middle-aged man. Archie Moore went to Quebec as the reigning world light-heavyweight champion - but he was very nearly 42 years old. Yvon Durelle was a rather obscure French Canadian - but he was very nearly hard as stone. Certainly his hands seemed to made of that material. The fight looked all over when he floored Ageless Archie three times in the first round and once in the fourth. But Moore had the greatest knockout record of any boxer in history. Throwing a storm of punches, he knocked Durelle down four times before stopping him in the eleventh. When they met again in the same ring the following year, Durelle's heart wasn't in it and he lost in three rounds, but that first fight made him a national hero to this day.

Czechoslovakia were always happy to put one over on the Soviet Union, and here in Melbourne they made sure the Fed Cup final was decided on the first day, Helena Suková winning the second singles against Natasha Zvereva in straight sets.

The 60th Varsity rugby match between Oxford and Cambridge was also the last to finish scoreless.

In the first boxing world championship fight to be televised in colour, Emile Griffith of the Virgin Islands kept his welterweight title by taking revenge on Manuel González of the USA, who'd beaten him earlier in the year.

Barbara Jordan was the Australian Open singles champion in 1979. Now her sister Kathy reached the final - but had to play Martina Navrátilová when she got there. Jordan lost in straight sets, the second on a tie-break. It was her only Grand Slam singles final, but she won several doubles titles, including two at Wimbledon.

Ragnhild Hveger was born. The Second World War deprived her of two Olympic Games, so she never won a gold, but this is a leading candidate for the title of greatest swimmer of all time. She was only 15 when she won silver in the 400 freestyle at the 1936 Olympics, and her world record in the event lasted from 1940 to 1956. Her 200 freestyle best lasted two years longer, and it took more than a decade for her 800 and 1500 metres records to be broken. She set 42 world records. For medals, she made to make do with the 1938 European Championships, where she won three events, finishing nearly 19 seconds clear in the 400 free. By the time the 1948 Olympics were dominated by other Danish women swimmers, the greatest of them all was married and retired. Four years later, at the age of 31, she finished fifth in the 400 just to show what would definitely have been.

Chris Eubank kept his WBO super-middleweight title on points against fellow British boxer Henry Wharton. It was one of Eubank's better performances, possibly dredged out of him by the pre-fight press conference given by Wharton's manager Mickey Duff, who'd referred to Eubank as 'scum' among other things.

Mexico's Ricardo López kept his WBA straw-weight title by knocking out Yamil Carballo of Colombia after just 70 seconds of the first round.

The Green Bay Packers won the NFL title by beating the New York Giants 27-0 in the Championship Game.