On This Day

  • May 27 down the years

The 9,000-point barrier is broken

Two Olympic gold medals established Daley Thompson as one of the finest British athletes of his generation but Roman Sebrle broke his decathlon points record in 1980 © Getty Images
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2001
The only 9,000-point decathlon. Two years earlier, Tomáš Dvořák had fallen only six points short. Today another Czech athlete beat him to it. In the small Austrian town of Götzis, where Daley Thompson set two world records, the first on May 18, 1980, Roman Sebrle needed to complete the last event, the 1500 metres, in a personal best 4 minutes 26.68. He ran 4:21.98 to finish with 9,026 points.

2001
The oldest tennis player in any Davis Cup match. Yaka-Garonfin Koptigan of Togo was 59 when he lost the doubles against Mauritius. His partner Kwami Gakpo was 17.

1961
A rather better tennis player won a Grand Slam singles title for the first time. Ann Jones was still Ann Haydon when she won the French. In the final, she recovered from losing the first two games to win the next six. Playing an aggressive all-court game, she imposed the same pattern on the second set: losing the first game, winning the last six. A shell-shocked Yola Ramírez lost in the final for the second year in a row and never won a Grand Slam singles title.

The men's final was much harder and rather better to watch. Nicola Pietrangeli was trying to win the event for the third year in a row. A great stylist on clay, he met a kindred spirit in young Manuel Santana, and they put together a ballet full of disguise, spin, lobs, drop shots, and all-round subtlety with rapiers. They both gained ground in chunks. Pietrangeli won five games in a row from 4-2 down in the first set; Santana five in a row from 1-0 down in the second; Pietrangeli the first five of the third; Santana won the fourth 6-0 and took five in a row from 2-1 down in the fifth. A feast in big mouthfuls. Santana beat Pietrangeli again in the 1964 final.

In rugby union, the 1995 World Cup produced a number of landmarks, including two for a pair of icons.

Gareth Thomas scored three tries on his debut for Wales. Most of his 41 international tries were scored against minnows, including this particular shoal. Wales beat Japan 57-10, Lopeti Oto scoring two tries for the losing side. Thomas scored his last try for Wales on September 29, 2007.

Giant wing Jonah Lomu scored his first two tries for New Zealand. Exploding onto the world scene, he trampled Ireland under his outsize boots. The Irish did well to keep their chins up and score three tries, but New Zealand scored five, including one from Frank Bunce, who became the first to play (and score) for two countries in the World Cup finals. He'd won his first cap for Western Samoa in their famous win over Wales on October 6, 1991, then scored a try against Argentina. Today Andrew Mehrtens kicked 18 points in a 43-19 win, and every other team began wondering how to stop rhinoceroses in black shirts.

England began the World Cup with an unconvincing win over Argentina, who scored the only two tries in the game. England were grateful for Rob Andrew's boot, responsible for all their points in a narrow 24-18 win. They played even worse against Italy four days later and hadn't reached top form before their quarter-final on June 11.

1965
Pat Cash was born in Melbourne. Strong serve, athletic volleys, nothing else to report. He played only nine matches at the French Open, losing five - and back injuries wrecked his career soon after he won Wimbledon in 1987. He reached consecutive finals of his home Grand Slam event but lost them to two Swedes.

The Monaco Grand Prix was staged a number of times on this day.

In 2001, Michael Schumacher won the race for the fifth time. David Coulthard won it the year before and the year after, and he started on pole this time - but his launch control system failed and he stalled on the starting line, so he had to restart from the back of the grid. He set the fastest lap but spent interminable circuits behind the Arrows of Enrique Bernoldi, who was within his rights not to let him pass. Schumacher retained the world title at the end of the season.

Ayrton Senna won his second consecutive Monaco Grand Prix in 1990 © Getty Images
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In 2007, reigning champion Fernando Alonso won in Monaco for the second year in a row. Alonso's McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton tucked in behind him to stave off any Ferrari threats (an investigation into team orders came to nothing) and finished right behind him in second place.

In 1990, Ayrton Senna won the race for the second consecutive year on the way to a record five in a row which ended on May 23, 1993. Today he started from pole and held off Jean Alesi by just over a second. Only seven cars finished, including those driven by also-rans Caffi, Bernard, and Foitek. Alain Prost started second on the grid but his battery let him down. Senna regained the drivers' title from him that year.

1987
In rugby union's first World Cup, hosts New Zealand made a rousing start on May 22. Now they broke their own record by winning their second match 74-13 against Fiji. They scored twelve tries again, including four each by Craig Green and John Gallagher. It could have been worse for Fiji: they were 40-3 down at half-time. All Black fly-half Grant Fox had scored 22 points against Italy. Now he added another 26, which was regarded as the 'official' world record at the time. It was broken on June 2.

1998
In breaking his own British record in the pole vault, Nick Buckfield set the one that still stands: 5.80 metres. He jumped 5.81 indoors in 2002.

1912
Sam Snead was born in Virginia and grew into a golfing great on the back of a classically beautiful swing that didn't break down under pressure. From 1942 to 1954, he won the Masters and the US PGA three times each and the first Open after the Second World War. His total of 82 wins in PGA Tour tournaments is still one of the iconic records, and he was the first player to win six singles in Ryder Cup matches. His only stumbling block was the US Open, in which he was second four times but never first. He came achingly close three times, especially in 1939 (12 June), when he needed only a five at the last and took an eight. Always competing with a smile on his face, Swingin' Sam was the oldest golfer to win a PGA event: the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open when he was nearly 53. He tied for third at the US PGA in 1974.

1951
In Formula One, the second World Championship season opened today. The great Juan Manuel Fangio had missed becoming the inaugural champion thanks to gearbox trouble on September 2. Here his Alfa Romeo stayed intact for the two hours and more it took to win the Swiss Grand Prix. He started from pole, finished almost a minute clear of the field, and went on to win the Championship for the first time.

1929
Great Britain lost the first official Ryder Cup on June 4, 1927. Today they played the second one at home - and won it 7-5. On the Moortown course in Leeds, they were a point behind after the foursomes on the first day but lost only two of the singles. There were surprise wins for Charles Whitcombe (over the 1928 US Open champion Johnny Farrell) and Aubrey Boomer (over Joe Turnesa, runner-up in two Majors), while the British captain thumped the American captain, George Duncan beating the great Walter Hagen 10 and 8, still the biggest win in any Ryder Cup singles. Henry Cotton, only 22 at the time, sealed the win by beating Al Watrous.

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