On This Day

  • April 3 down the years

Adlington shows her quality

Rebecca Adlington went on to become a double Olympic champion © Getty Images
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2008
Rebecca Adlington swam the 800 metres in 8 minutes 19.22 seconds, setting a Commonwealth record and breaking the British record of 8:24.77 set by Sarah Hardcastle at the Commonwealth Games in 1986. Adlington set a world record in winning a rather important competition on August 16.

1962
Benny Paret died. After losing his world welterweight title to Emile Griffith on April 1 the previous year, he won the return fight on a split decision, and the two met in a decider on March 24. At the weigh-in, Paret decided this would be a good time to call his opponent a faggot (Griffith was known to be bisexual) - and was lucky not to start the fight right then. People restrained Griffith in time - but there was no-one to help poor Paret in the fight itself. He nearly won it in the sixth, when Griffith was saved by the bell - but in the 12th he was knocked unconscious but kept upright by the ropes while Griffith went on punching. It took the referee a while to intervene. Paret underwent an operation to remove blood clots from his brain, but never regained consciousness. He may still have been feeling the effects of a hard fight three months earlier, when his attempt at the world middleweight title ended in three knockdowns. Griffith said he fought within himself for the rest of his long career, winning on points rather than going for knockouts.

1999
Britain won their second and third gold medals at these World Short-Course Swimming Championships. James Hickman retained the 200 metres butterfly title, and four of the women won the 4x100 freestyle relay. It was the slowest winning time ever recorded for the event in the Championships, and they won it because Sweden were disqualified, but take nothing away from Alison Sheppard, Claire Huddart, Karen Pickering, and Sue Rolph. Mark Foster won his second gold of the Championships the following day.

1936
The shortest boxing match with gloves. Featherweight Al Carr knocked out Lew Massey with the first punch. No need for a count, so the whole thing lasted only seven seconds. And it wasn't too much of a shock: Massey lost more than 40 fights in his professional career.

1982
The scoreboard says Hugo Porta beat South Africa on his own. One of the greatest fly-halves of all time, he'd suffered with the rest of his team a week earlier. Argentina were touring South Africa as the South American Jaguars. By claiming to represent a whole continent, they hoped to dilute anti-Apartheid feelings back home. Anyway, here they were - and not doing too well: they lost 50-18 in Pretoria. Porta, the captain, kicked 14 points, but his team had no answer to some tremendous Springbok backs. That strong and dynamic centre Danie Gerber scored three tries, the chunky and brilliant Carel du Plessis scored another, while Ray Mordt got his usual couple on the other wing. Eight tries in all, and another hammering on the cards in Bloemfontein today. But Porta had seen the signs, and now he turned South Africa's tactics against them. One of the best kickers from hand, he punted ball after long ball behind their backs, forcing them to turn and setting up attacking positions. Meanwhile his forwards ran the giant Springbok pack ragged, flanker Ernesto Ure looking particularly impressive in the loose. Porta scored in all four ways, converting his own try, kicking four penalties, and dropping a trademark goal. Gerber scored a try for South Africa, but their 21-12 defeat meant the series was shared. Cue headlines about South American big cats devouring Southern African antelope.

2007
Libby Lenton became the first woman to swim the 100 metres in under 53 seconds - but it wasn't ratified as a world record because she did it in a mixed race. She was swimming against Michael Phelps! She regained the record the following year.

1988
Amy Alcott won the Colgate Dinah Shore (now the Kraft Nabisco Championship) Major for the second time. She won it three times in all, a record that's been equalled but never broken. Her total of 274 was the lowest for the event until 1999.

Picabo Street retired after the 2002 Winter Olympics in 2002 © Getty Images
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1971
This is what happens if you let your kids pick their own names - and why almost nobody does it. Today Picabo Street was born in Triumph. Triumph in Idaho, and Picabo pronounced peek-a-boo. Her parents didn't name her when she was born, and she decided on her own moniker when she was three. In the 1993 World Skiing Championships, she finished second in the combined. At the Winter Olympics the following year, it was silver again, this time in the downhill. She moved up to gold at the 1996 Worlds, when she also won bronze in the super giant slalom. But at the end of that year, she broke her thigh in a race and was in rehab until just before the 1998 Olympics. She recovered just in time to finish the super G one hundredth of a second ahead of the silver medallist.

1988
The first race of the Formula One season. Alan Prost won the Brazilian Grand Prix while local hero Ayrton Senna finished out of the points. But Senna finished as champion despite scoring fewer points than Prost: drivers could discount the worst three of their 14 races.

1977
Mario Andretti became the only American to win the short-lived United States Grand Prix West, finishing just ahead of Niki Lauda, who went on to win the drivers' title. Andretti won it the year after.

1912
The 19-year-old German Otto Fahr became the first man to swim the 200 metres backstroke in under 2 minutes 50 seconds. His time wasn't improved for another 14 years, making it longest-lasting world record in any men's swimming event. Later that year, Fahr shattered the 100 metres record, setting one that lasted eight years, and won silver at that distance in the Olympics. There was no 200 in the Games at the time.

1964
Bjarne Riis was born in Denmark. In 2007 he admitted using drugs to win the Tour de France in 1996.

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