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  • January 4 down the years

Campbell dies at Coniston Water

The sporting events of January 4 down the years
Donald Campbell died in his quest to set a world speed record. © Getty Images
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1967
Donald Campbell died on Coniston Water. If death can ever be fitting, even iconic, this was it. It was even shown on TV, sad but spectacular. The man who set speed records on water dying as he lived. He set one on land too, in 1964, in the last wheel-driven car to achieve the feat. His father Malcolm set records on land and water in the 1920s and 30s, but Donald was unique in doing both in the same year.

2008
Martina Hingis was banned for two years after testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon in 2007. Hingis had already announced her second retirement from tennis when the news became public the previous year.

1935
Floyd Patterson was born in Waco, scene of a famous shoot-out in 1993. Not regarded as one of the great heavyweights, he was handicapped by size. They were smaller in the 1950s (Patterson never weighed much more than 13½ stone) - so when the bigger men began to appear, it was no surprise that he lost twice to Sonny Liston (died December 30, 1970) in the first round. That was Floyd's world title gone, and he had no chance of regaining it against Muhammad Ali on November 22, 1965. He'd won the vacant championship in 1956, when he was only 21 - but his opponent was a truly ancient Archie Moore. And he defended it against stiffs like Pete Rademacher (a unique fight on August 22, 1957) and Britain's Brian London. Then he was knocked down seven times in one round by Ingemar Johansson (born September 22, 1932). But then came Patterson's one touch of greatness. Instead of being traumatised by the defeat, he knocked out Johansson in the fifth round. The first boxer to regain the heavyweight title, he stopped Johansson again the following year. A big heart, our Floyd. And two of the fastest hands in the business (ask Henry Cooper). One of the better cruiserweights.

1966
Inga Artamonova was stabbed to death by her husband Gennady Voronin. The previous year, she'd become the first woman to win the all-round speedskating world title four times. Champion for the first time in 1957, she was only 29 when she died. Voronin, a speed skater himself, had competed at the 1960 Winter Olympics without winning a medal.

2000
Phil Taylor became the first world champion of the new millennium in any sport. His 7-3 win was his fourth over Dennis Priestley in the last five finals. It was Taylor's sixth world title in a row and eighth in all. Nine years later, Taylor won his umpteenth world title. Alright, his 14th. His 7-1 win over Raymond van Barneveld 7-1 in the final was revenge for January 1, 2007.

1964
Sue Devoy was born in New Zealand. Far and away the top woman squash player of her generation, she was World Open champion four times from 1985 to 1992 and lost the 1989 Final to Guernsey's Martine Le Moignan (born October 28, 1962). Devoy had her revenge over Le Moignan the following year and won the British Open seven years in a row.

1991
When Fu Minxia won the highboard diving title in Perth, Australia, she was only 12, the youngest winner at any World Swimming Championships. The rules were changed after that to keep the kids out. You have to be all of 14 now. Fu retained the title in 1994 and won four Olympic golds, the last when she was a positively pensionable 22.

1976
In the Australian Open final, veteran defending champion John Newcombe took the first set but lost the next three to complete outsider Mark Edmondson, who was ranked 212 in the world, the only male player outside the top 70 to win any Grand Slam singles event. It was the last time an Australian won the title, let alone the last time two of them met in the final.

1958
Carwyn James, coach of the victorious Lions team of 1971, won the first of his two caps for Wales. Understudying the magician Cliff Morgan (born April 7, 1930) at fly-half, he dropped a goal in a 9-3 win over the touring Australians.

1977
David Millar was born in Malta. One of Britain's rare world champions in road cycling, he wasn't one for long. After winning the time trial in 2003, he failed a drugs test and the title passed to Australia's Michael Rogers, who won it for the next two years as well. Millar was one of the few cyclists to admit anything. EPO, he said, had gained him 25 seconds in the time trial. He kept the syringes to remind him. Returning from suspension, he won a few stages in the Tour of Spain.

1771
François Mingaud was born. And no, no misspelling: 1771 it was. While serving time in jail, he perfected the leather tip used on billiard and later snooker cues. So they owe all that dosh to a Frenchman. Sacre blue. And pink and black.

1883
The formidable Pat Ryan was born in County Limerick but competed in the hammer for the USA at the Antwerp Olympics. He missed the 1912 Games because he wasn't an American citizen and 1916 because of the War, and by 1920 he was 37 years old - but he still won the gold medal by more than four metres. He might have achieved something special in 1916: his world record 57.77 metres, set three years earlier, was the first approved by the IAAF. It lasted 25 years.

1913
England lost at Twickenham for the first time. In a tremendous match, their famous centre Ronnie Poulton (died May 4, 1915) gave them the lead by swerving through the Springbok defence. Then he set off on an even better run, but spoiled it by not passing to winger Cyril Lowe ('once fairly on the run, combination was not Poulton's strong point'). South Africa's big forwards began to dominate, and England were undone by the Morkels. There were four members of that famous family among the opposition. Jack scored an equalising try, and two good penalty kicks by Duggie won the match 9-3 in the second half. South Africa were the first country to complete a Grand Slam by beating all four countries on a tour of Britain.

1981
The final of the Australian Open tennis was a battle of the B-listers. America's Brian Teacher had finished runner-up in each of his previous four tournaments but had a better chance here. Sydney's Kim Warwick had finished a five-set semi-final against holder Guillermo Vilas earlier in the day, which left him with a sore shoulder and no pain-killing injection in between. Two hard sets went against him and Teacher won the third more easily. It was the only Grand Slam singles Final either of them ever played in.

1896
At Blackheath, England's rugby team beat 25-0 (worth 39-0 today) despite kicking only two conversions out of seven in the mud. RHB Cattell, Ernest Fookes, and Sam Morfitt scored two each.

1925
Veikko Hakulinen was born in Finland. One of the top Nordic skiers of his day, he won seven Olympic medals, including golds in 1952, 1956, and 1960, as well as three world titles. Trying his hand at biathlon, he won team silver in the 1963 World Championships.

1967
David Toms was born in Louisiana. USPGA golf champion in 2001 and a Ryder Cup regular.

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