On This Day

  • January 1 down the years

The Power is turned off

The sporting events of January 1 down the years
Raymond van Barneveld jumps for joy after beating Phil Taylor © Getty Images
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2007
Not just one of the great darts matches, one of the white-hot TV events. The previous year, Ray van Barneveld had lost in the final of the BDO World Championships to a 21-year-old qualifier by the name of Jelle Klaasen. Now he put himself back on the line. After winning his second BDO world title in 1999, he'd lost a challenge match to the 'real' champion, the PDC's Phil Taylor - and he lost it easily: 21 legs to 10. Now, having switched to the PDC to face bigger challenges, he came up against the biggest again. In the final, he trailed Taylor 3-0 and damage limitation seemed to be all he could hope for. But a change in darts and style (to copy Taylor's 'stacking') made the Dutchman's technique less likely to splinter under pressure. He scored a record 51 maximum 180s in the tournament, and came through to win the final 7-6 on a sudden-death leg. The Power was switched back on by January 4, 2009, but big Barney never had to prove himself again.

1863
Pierre de Fredi was born in Paris. Much better known as the Baron de Coubertin, he formed the IOC and was therefore a founding father of the modern Olympics, which began in 1896. The second Games were predictably held in his home town four years later - but they were no more than a sideshow to the World's Fair, and he had to wait until 1924 to see them there again. He died the year after the Berlin Games of 1936, when he must have wondered what was happening to his original Olympic ideals.

1939
Phil Read was born in Luton. Unlucky to be a contemporary of two of the greats, Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini, he was nevertheless one of the best himself, the first rider to win world titles at 125, 250, and 500cc. The only other one to match that was a certain Valentino Rossi. Read won both the 125 and 250 championships in 1968, his fourth 250 title in 1971 - then, when Agostini left MV Agusta, his two 500 titles in 1973 and 1974. He won 52 Grands Prix in all classes.

1978
Mrs Cawley beat Mrs Cawley in a Grand Slam final. There's a quiz question there somewhere. The former Evonne Goolagong won the Australian Open for the fourth time by beating the former Helen Gourlay 6-3 6-0.

1975
Goolagong had retained the title by winning the final 6-3 6-2 against a stocky 18-year-old Czechoslovakian called Martina Navrátilová.

In the men's final that year, Aussie veteran John Newcombe won in four hard sets against Jimmy Connors.

There's more. By the same day in 1973, Newcombe was acknowledged as the best fast-court player of his generation, winner of three singles titles at Wimbledon and two at the US. But this was the first time he'd reached the final of his own country's Open. Against a moderate New Zealander, the gangling Onny Parun, he dropped the second set on a tie-break but won the other three, including the fourth 6-1.

The women's decider in 1973 was more important, statistically at least. No, not Goolagong losing in the final for the third year in a row. This was Margaret Court's 11th Australian singles title, easily the record for any Grand Slam tournament. She'd won the 10th by beating Goolagong two years earlier. After 1975, Evonne won the title three years in a row.

1899
Jack Beresford was born. Before Redgrave and Pinsent, this was the most successful British oarsman of all time. He's still one of the greatest produced by any country, for versatility and longevity among other things. In the single sculls at the 1920 Olympics, he finished a close second to the great Jack Kelly, Princess Grace's dad. Four years later, Beresford won gold in the same event, then switched to the eights and won silver in 1928. He won gold again in 1932 (coxless fours) and 1936 (double sculls), when he carried the flag at the opening ceremony.

1908
The first rugby league international between union rivals Wales and New Zealand. At Aberdare Athletic's ground, tries by Arthur Kelly and Billy Wynyard gave New Zealand an 8-3 half-time lead, but Dai Jones (there's a name) scored the winning try for Wales in the last few minutes. At the death, Wynyard's brother Dick dropped a try-scoring pass right on the Wales line, leaving his team mate Tom Cross to live up to his nickname 'Angry'.

1969
Paul Lawrie was born in Aberdeen. He began the last round of the 1999 British Open ten shots behind leader Jean van de Velde, but the Frenchman's pantomime last hole led to a play-off on July 18. This was the first Major Lawrie had ever played in. The following year, and in several after that, he failed to make the cut. Since pre-qualifying was introduced from 1963, he was the only qualifier to win the tournament. He was also the first player born in Scotland to win it since Tommy Armour, also at Carnoustie, in 1931. His aggregate of 290 was the highest winning score since 1947.

1921
Rocky Graziano was born Rocco Barbella in New York. Not on June 7, 1922, the date he gave when he was deserting from the army! One of the great box office draws in boxing, he had virtually no defence but most opponents couldn't cope with his all-out attack: 52 of his 67 professional wins were by knockout, and he punched as hard as any middleweight in history. He's especially famous for three brief and explosive world title fights with the ironclad Tony Zale. In the first, in 1946, Zale was being battered round the ring when he knocked Graziano out in the sixth. The rematch went exactly the opposite way, and Zale won the decider in the third. Graziano's life story was made into the well-known film Somebody Up There Likes Me, starring Paul Newman.

1945
Jacky Ickx was born in Belgium. In an era of top racing drivers, he was one of the great all-rounders. Runner-up in successive Formula One championships, to Jackie Stewart in 1969 and Jochen Rindt the following year, he won eight Grands Prix as well as six Le Mans 24-hour races and the 1983 Paris-Dakar Rally.

1967
The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-27 in the NFL Championship Game, which gave them a place in the first ever Super Bowl on January 15.

1921
The marvellous Alel Mimoun was born in Algeria but competed for France as Alain Mimoun. He didn't have the sprint finish to beat the supreme Emil Zátopek, settling for three Olympic silver medals at 5,000 and 10,000 metres. He was also second to the great man in both events at the 1950 European Championships. But there ware different ways to win distance races. Like upping the distance. At the 1956 Olympics, Mimoun won the Marathon by a minute and a half, with Zátopek fifth. In the same year, Mimoun took his fourth International (now World) Cross-Country title, something the great Emil never won. Ten years later, Mimoun won his sixth and last French Marathon title at the age of 45. In a sprint finish, too.

1968
Brilliant rugby centre Guy Boniface died in a car crash. He won 35 caps for France, the last in 1966 alongside his equally talented brother André, who won 48.

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