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Scoring at the World Cup for two different countries

Steven Lynch November 26, 2012
Robert Prosinecki has scored for both Yugoslavia and Croatia © PA Photos
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I noticed that Mark Todd won a medal in the London Olympics. He also won gold in LA in 1984 - is this the biggest gap for any medallist? asked Simon Batchelor

Mark Todd did win a bronze in London, as part of New Zealand's three-day event team. He had also won the individual three-day event in Los Angeles in 1984, and took the gold again in Seoul in 1988. Overall Todd, who's now 56, has won five Olympic medals, thanks to further team bronzes in 1988 and 2000. And, although I don't recall this being mentioned at the time, the 28-year gap between his first and last medals equalled the record held by the Hungarian fencer Aladar Gerevich, who won gold in the team sabre at every Olympic Games between 1932 and 1960 (he also won an individual gold in London in 1948, plus a silver and two bronzes, to finish with ten medals in all).

What is yachtsman Esko Rechardt's unusual claim to Olympic fame? asked Douglas Johnson via Facebook

This one set me thinking for a while. But eventually I realised that Esko the sailor from Helsinki is the only Finn to win the Finn - the yachting class monopolised recently by Ben Ainslie. Rechardt won it in 1980, when the sailing events took place not very far from Finland - in Tallinn, in what is now Estonia. This particular claim to fame is shared, as far as I am aware, only by Tadeusz Slusarski and Wladislaw Kozakiewicz - who, in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics respectively, became the only Poles to win the pole vault.

Has anyone scored goals in the World Cup finals for two different countries? asked Mike Robertson

The only man to manage this (assuming you exclude own goals!) is Robert Prosinecki, who came to prominence with Red Star Belgrade, and later played for Real Madrid and Barcelona, among others. Prosinecki, a midfielder who was actually born in West Germany, made his international debut for Yugoslavia in 1989, and his four goals for them included one in the 1990 World Cup, against the United Arab Emirates at Bologna. After the break-up of Yugoslavia into its constituent republics, Prosinecki made 49 appearances for Croatia, and scored twice for them in the 1998 World Cup, in the group game against Jamaica and victory over the Netherlands in the third-place playoff.

Will Claye won medals in two different field events at London 2012. Has anyone ever done better than that? asked Tanya Rice

There are only four instances of athletes winning medals in three different field events, all of them from 60 years ago and more. Ralph Rose won gold (shot), silver (discus) and bronze (hammer) in St Louis in 1904, while four years later in London another Irish-American, Martin Sheridan, won the discus and the Greek discus (where competitors threw from a raised platform, using a specific technique) and also took bronze in the standing long jump. Moving a little more up to date, two women also managed to win medals in three different field events at the same Games. In London in 1948 the Frenchwoman Micheline Ostermeyer won gold in the shot and the discus, and silver in the high jump. She celebrated one of her victories in rather unusual fashion - by performing a Beethoven concert at the team hotel: she was helped by being an acclaimed concert pianist! In Helsinki four years later, Russia's Aleksandra Chudina won silver medals in the long jump and javelin, and bronze in the high jump. She'd have been a shoo-in for the pentathlon - she was the European champion in 1954 - except there wasn't one, as the event wasn't added to the Olympic programme until 1964. David Wallechinsky's superb Complete Book of the Olympics observes that Chudina "was also the object of much suspicion because she spoke with a deep voice, possessed 'masculine' musculature, and refused to shower with her team-mates".

I see that all four golf majors in 2010 were won by golfers from different countries. How often has this happened before ? asked Bob Roller

That's a good spot, because actually 2010 is the only year when all four majors were won by golfers from different countries: Phil Mickelson (USA) won the Masters, Graeme McDowell (Great Britain) the US Open, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) the British Open, and Martin Kaymer (Germany) the PGA Championship. The last year all four were won by golfers from the same country was in 1982, when Americans won the lot: Craig Stadler the Masters, Ray Floyd the PGA, and Tom Watson the US and British Opens. An American clean sweep had happened several times before. The only year since 1934 (when the Masters started) that an American has failed to win one of the four is 1994, when Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain won the Masters, South Africa's Ernie Els won the US Open, and Nick Price of Zimbabwe won the British Open and the PGA.

I know a few boxers have won three Olympic gold medals. Has anyone ever won four? asked George Castell

The short answer is that no-one has ever won four boxing medals at the Olympics. Indeed only one boxer - Gyorgy Gedo from Hungary - has ever taken part in four Olympic Games. Gedo won the light-flyweight gold at Munich in 1972, the second of his four Olympic appearances. Three men have won three gold medals: another Hungarian, Laszlo Papp - he won the middleweight division in London in 1948, and took light-middleweight gold in 1952 and 1956 - and two great Cuban heavyweights, Teofilo Stevenson (who won the gold in 1972, 1976 and 1980) and Felix Savon (1992, 1996 and 2000).

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