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Compton confounds Hollywood

Steven Lynch January 9, 2012
Denis Compton was a hero of Tim Rice's © The Cricketer International
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How did Denis Compton confuse Hollywood? asked Jim Morgan

This came about after the cricket-loving lyricist Tim Rice, in his acceptance speech on winning the Oscar for the music in the 1994 animated film The Lion King, thanked Denis Compton - "a boyhood hero of mine" - among the usual suspects. A flustered Walt Disney employee had to admit that "We don't know who Denis Compton is. He doesn't appear to be at Disney Studios or have anything to do with them." Compton actually played 79 Tests for England as a dashing batsman, and was also a prominent footballer (in his last big match he helped Arsenal beat Liverpool in the 1950 FA Cup final): perhaps they should make a film about him.

Kenyan athletes have won the 3000-metre steeplechase at the Olympics every time that I can remember. Who was the last non-Kenyan to win it, and has any other country had such a stranglehold in a particular event? asked Darrell Roberts

A Kenyan has won the men's 3000-metre steeplechase at every Olympics since 1980, when it was won by Bronislaw Malinowski from Poland. But that's not the whole story: Kenya didn't take part in those Olympics in Moscow, being one of the nations which boycotted the Games in protest at a recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And they hadn't taken part in 1976, either, in protest at New Zealand being allowed to compete despite maintaining sporting links with South Africa (Anders Garderud of Sweden, the world record holder, won the steeplechase that year). The Kenyans Kip Keino (1972) and Amos Biwott (1968) had won the previous two Olympic steeplechases, so the last man to win the gold medal while Kenya were competing was the Belgian Gaston Roelants - with Britain's Maurice Herriot second - back in 1964. Kenya's sole representative, Benjamin Kogo, didn't make it past his heat in Tokyo, but he did better next time, taking the silver medal behind his compatriot Biwott in Mexico in 1968. The longest domination of an individual athletics event by one country is in the men's pole vault, which was won by athletes from the USA at all 16 Olympic Games from the first one in 1896 to Mexico in 1968, before the East German Wolfgang Nordwig broke the sequence by winning in Munich in 1972.

Which famous sportsman has a daughter called Queen Elizabeth? asked Graham Browne

I've been saving this one up, as I recognised it from a pre-Christmas quiz in one of the newspapers! The closing date has passed now, so I'm not ruining it for anyone, I hope. The answer is the Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao - who has uniquely held world titles at no fewer than eight different weights - who said: "My daughter was baptised Queen Elizabeth as a tribute to your Queen. She is very popular in the Philippines and I like her very much. I would like to meet Queen Elizabeth II one day to show my people how far I have come." He has another daughter, called simply Princess, and two sons named, rather disappointingly, Emmanuel (that's Pacquiao's full first name) and Michael.

Which three England captains have played for Scunthorpe United? asked Tim Allbright

This is another quiz special - the ones most people know (or can discover) are the later Liverpool team-mates Kevin Keegan, who skippered England in 30 of his 63 football internationals, and Ray Clemence, who captained against Brazil at Wembley in May 1981 (Brazil won 1-0 when Clemence - the first goalkeeper to captain England since Frank Swift in 1948 - couldn't prevent Zico scoring the winner). And the third England captain to play for Scunthorpe was ... Ian Botham: rather better known as a cricketer, he did play 11 times for "The Iron" as a centre-half.

I know Phil Taylor has won the PDC world championship most often, but who has won the "other" world title - the BDO one - the most? asked Martin Kirk

The PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) world title started in 1994, since when Phil "The Power" Taylor has won it 13 times. Before the split with the BDO (British Darts Organisation), Taylor had also won that crown twice, giving him a total of 15 world titles. Next come Eric Bristow, the "Crafty Cockney", who won the BDO title (which began in 1978) five times between 1980 and 1986, and the Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld, who lifted the BDO title on four occasions between 1998 and 2005 before joining the PDC ranks and winning their world championship in 2007. The only others to have won both titles are Dennis Priestley (BDO in 1991, and the first PDC championship in 1994) and the Canadian John Part (BDO in 1994, PDC in 2003 and 2008).

Which golfer took part in the British Open most often without ever winning it? asked Sam Thomas

I believe the holder of this rather unenviable record is the Welshman Dai Rees, who played in The Open 30 times without ever quite winning it. He finished second three times, in 1953 (behind Ben Hogan), 1954 (a shot behind Peter Thomson) and 1961 (one behind Arnold Palmer). Rees played in nine Ryder Cups, most famously as the (playing) captain at Lindrick in 1957, when the United States were beaten for the only time between 1933 and 1985.

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