On This Day

  • March 26 down the years

Foreman hammers Norton

Roger Chapman beat Padraig Harrington in a sudden-death play-off at the 2000 Rio de Janeiro Open © Getty Images
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1974
The previous year, Ken Norton had given Muhammad Ali two of the hardest fights of his life. Breaking his jaw on the way to beating him on March 31, then losing a controversial split decision. Next step: a shot at the world title. But different styles matter in boxing. Norton was fit and toned and gave you a hard time if you didn't have a knockout punch. Ali didn't, by then. But the world champion was George Foreman. Enough said, really. Norton didn't last two rounds. He threw left leads. but it was like jabbing a rhino. Big George knocked him into the ropes twice; the third time he floored him and the referee was right to stop it immediately. It was Foreman's last fight before facing Ali on October 30.

2010
Lewis Hamilton's build up to the first grand prix of the season in Australia suffered a setback as he was charged by police after being caught 'fish-tailing' in a Mercedes road car near the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

2000
Roger Chapman won an event on the European Tour for the first time. It was the Rio de Janeiro Open, but that counts as Europe for golf purposes. He was 40 at the time and this was his 472nd Tour event spread over 19 years. He'd finished runner-up twelve times and thought it was about to happen again when he faced Padraig Harrington in a sudden-death play-off: Chapman hit his tee shot into a lake! Here we go again. But although he took a penalty drop, Harrington three-putted to let him halve the hole. Then it was Harrington's turn to find the water, and Chapman had two putts for the winner's cheque. He'd won only one other tournament: the Zimbabwe Open twelve years earlier - at the Chapman Golf Club!

1988
American pocket rocket Janet Evans became the first woman to swim 1500 metres in under 16 minutes. She broke her own world record and set one that lasted 19 years.

1995
Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard finished first and second in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Both were initially disqualified for 'fuel irregularities' but later reinstated. Schumacher retained the drivers' title at the end of the season.

1937
Pearl Jones was born Barbara Pearl Jones in Chicago. When she won gold in the sprint relay in 1952, she was only 15, the youngest track and field athlete medallist at any Olympic Games. This was the first all-back quartet to win a relay at the Games. They had to break the world record to finish only 0.04 ahead of West Germany - and they were lucky that the Australian favourites dropped the baton on the last changeover when they were well ahead. Jones won gold in the 100 metres and relay at the 1955 Pan-American Games but missed the Olympics the following year. She won another relay gold at the 1959 Pan-Americans, then made her Olympic comeback in 1960. She didn't qualify from the semi-finals of the 100 metres after running a very poor 11.84, but won another relay gold.

Katarina Witt won Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988 © Getty Images
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1988
Ice skating heart-throb Katarina Witt retained the world title, winning it for the fourth and last time, then retired from amateur competition.

1955
The first player to win 50 caps at rugby. Against Wales in Paris, the great Jean Prat played his last Five Nations match. For once, he didn't kick a goal, and although his brother Maurice dropped a goal, France lost 16-11.

1936
Éder Jofre was born in São Paulo and grew into one of the very best bantamweight boxers of all time. Quick and slick, a damaging puncher and determined vegetarian, he won the NBA version of the world title in 1960, then unified the whole thing by beating Northern Ireland's Johnny Caldwell then Katsuotoshi Aoki. Jofre kept the title another three years before dropping a split decision to Masahiko 'Fighting' Harada, who also won the rematch and was the only man to beat him in 78 pro fights. The vast majority of them took place in Brazil, mostly in his home town; Harada beat him twice in Japan. Jofre retired after their second fight but made a comeback three years later. He won the WBC featherweight title in 1973, retained it by stopping the once-formidable Vicente Saldivar, then retired after another seven non-title fights.

1967
The first player to kick nine conversions in an international rugby match. France racked up 11 tries against Italy in Toulon, including three by Michel Arnaudet and another by fellow wing Christian Darrouy, who scored his 23rd and last for France, one short of the world record. As well as all the conversions, tiny fly-half Guy Camberabero kicked two penalties and a drop goal for a total of 27 points, another world record at the time. His brother Lilian fed him from scrum-half. Nine conversions is still a record for France, equalled by Guy's son Didier against Zimbabwe in the 1987 World Cup.

1917
At the 27th attempt, an American team won ice hockey's Stanley Cup for the first time. The Seattle Metropolitans beat the Montreal Canadiens by three games to one. The Cup was first played for in 1893. No other US team won it until 1928.

1922
The Afrikaans word windhond describes it better than 'greyhound' (most of them aren't). A perfect description of Hennie Müller, who was born today. He of the miserable-git face and tremendous stamina, a corner-flagging No.8, slim and rangy and a ferocious tackler. With the windhound, less was more. Mirthless, ruthless, fearless. He terrorised the All Blacks in the 1949 series, which they lost 4-0, and captained South Africa in the international matches on their 1951-52 tour of Europe, when he scored tries against Scotland and France. One of the greatest and most influential rugby players of all time, he was on the losing side in only one of his 12 internationals, against Australia in a series the Springboks won 3-1.

1908
Hilde Sperling was born Hildegard Krahwinkel in Germany. A long-limbed baseliner, she reached the Wimbledon singles final in 1931 and July 4, 1936, losing to another German, Cilly Aussem, and Britain's Dorothy Round. She won the Wimbledon mixed doubles in 1933. But she was infinitely better on clay, where her patience made her an exhausting opponent. She lost only once on the surface from 1935 to 1939, a run that included three consecutive French singles finals: she beat local favourite Simone Mathieu every time without losing a set.

1933
Left wing René Finat scored three tries in his last match for France. In his only other international the previous year, also against Germany, he scored two.

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