Britain's Randolph Turpin won the world middleweight title from Sugar Ray Robinson. This was Robinson's last fight on a whistlestop tour of Europe in which he'd won six non-title bouts. One of the boxing gods, unbeaten in 91 fights since 1943 (5 February), it's likely that he took Turpin too lightly. Turpin didn't have a knockout punch but his strength was, well, his strength. Tonight he never left himself open and was stronger in the clinches. Afterwards Robinson complained about his opponent's "ruffian style": Turpin was warned for an early kidney punch, and a clash of heads in the sixth round left Robinson with a cut eye. But for all the champion's speed of punch, and his rally towards the end, he didn't last as well as Turpin, who won the last two rounds to clinch the fight by a narrow but clear points margin. He was the first British boxer in 60 years to win the world middleweight title (14 January) - but he didn't have long to celebrate: the rematch was scheduled for 12 September.
Armand Vaquerin shot himself dead playing Russian Roulette in a bar he co-owned. One of the best prop forwards of his day, he was capped 26 times by France from 1971 to 1980 and won a record ten French club championships with Béziers.
On the same day back in 1916, another international rugby forward died a violent and unusual death. Denys Dobson played ten times for England and the Lions from 1902 to 1904. Today he died in what is now Malawi - killed by a charging rhino.
Two iconic Wimbledon tennis champions were born on this day. Virginia Wade in Bournemouth in 1945, Arthur Ashe in Virginia in 1943.
Both came to the net to volley behind a fast serve. Both won Wimbledon for the first and only time when they were 31, both won the US Open in 1968 and the Australian Open after that.
Wade was singles champion at all three grass-court Grand Slam tournaments. In 1968 she overpowered Billie Jean King 6-4 6-2 in the US final. In 1972 she beat home favourite Evonne Goolagong in straight sets to win the Australian. She led Britain to four Fed Cup finals, including 1981, when she was 36, and the brink of victory in 1972 (25 March), and reached the Final of the British National Championships when she was 40. But of course it was Wimbledon she was really after - and good things come to those who wait and wait. She lifted the platter at the 16th attempt in 1977 (1 July).
Ashe was the first black man to win a Grand Slam singles title. He won the US Open and US Nationals in 1968 and lost the US Open Final to Ilie Năstase in 1972 after leading by two sets to one. Ashe reached four Australian singles Finals, losing the first two in consecutive years to Roy Emerson, and to Ken Rosewall in 1971, but winning the year before that. His Wimbledon title was a masterpiece of tactical thinking and execution (5 July 1975). As a player, he helped the USA win the Davis Cup three years in a row. As captain, he led them to victory in 1981 and 1982 despite problems with John McEnroe. Ashe died in 1993 from the AIDS virus he picked up from a blood transfusion during his latest heart surgery. The main stadium used for the US Open in New York was named after him.
Damon Hill finished first in the British Grand Prix, which his dad Graham never won. After starting from pole, Damon received the bonus of Michael Schumacher's five-second penalty for breaking formation during the parade lap. There was even better news for Hill after the race, when Schumacher was banned for two races and docked six points for not observing a black-flag penalty. All of which left Hill just a point behind Schumacher before the high-octane finale on 13 November.
A dark day for English cricket. Taking on relative international minnows Bangladesh, Andrew Strauss' men suffered defeat to the spirited Asians for the first time in any format of the game. In an extraordinary finale at Bristol, Ian Bell limped out at No. 11 with a broken foot to accompany Jonathan Trott, but Trott edged a cut off the third ball of the final over bowled by Shafiul Islam after making 94 to send Bangladesh into scenes of wild celebration. England fell five runs short with three balls remaining.
Ben Hogan's greatest year ended with victory in his only British Open. He'd already won the Masters (12 April) and the US Open and now became only the second golfer to win all four Majors, after Gene Sarazen in 1935 (8 April). At Carnoustie, Hogan adapted round by round to the smaller British ball, shooting a lower score each time to culminate in a 68 which gave him the Jug by four shots. He might well have won all four Majors that year if the US PGA hadn't finished the day before the British Open started.
On the same day in 1976, golfing golden wonder Johnny Miller won the British Open by six strokes. His last round of 66 was a reward for the percentage golf he played, using a one-iron off the tee 21 times in the last two days. But the story of the tournament belonged to Seve Ballesteros. He began with a pair of 69s and led Miller by two shots going into the last round - then mixed bad errors with brilliance, and his final 74 left him in second place. Still, his time was obviously going to come (21 July 1979): Seve was only 19 at the time.
Yobes Ondieki became the first to run the 10,000 metres in under 27 minutes. His 26:58.38 knocked more than nine seconds off the previous best set by fellow Kenyan Richard Chelimo only five days earlier. Another Kenyan, William Sigei, finished second behind Ondieki. The following year, Sigei broke the record by six seconds.
Britain's Arnold Jackson won the 1500 metres at the Olympic Games. Very tall and completely unheralded, he outsprinted a whole host of Americans, including the defending champion and the world record holders in the 1500 and mile. His Olympic record of 3 minutes 56.8 was only a second slower than the world best set by Abel Kiviat, who finished second, a yard behind. As Arnold Strode-Jackson, he was wounded three times in the First World War.
On the same day on the same track, Hannes Kolehmainen won his biggest duel. After winning the 10,000 metres by a huge distance (8 July), he was back in the 5,000 to take on the great Frenchman Jean Bouin. They ran the whole race together way out in front, finishing more than 30 seconds ahead of the bronze medallist. Kolehmainen kept trying to overtake, Bouin kept him back until the last 20 metres, when the Flying Finn edged past to win by a couple of feet. They both broke the world record by more than 25 seconds. Bouin must have regretted running his heat so fast the day before (he finished half a lap ahead). He'd done the same in the Olympics four years earlier (15 July). Like British bronze medallist George Hutson, Bouin died in action two years later. A stadium in Paris is named after him. Kolehmainen won the Olympic Marathon in 1920 (22 August).
While these great races were being run on the track, Pat McDonald was depriving Ralph Rose of a hat-trick. The giant Rose had won the Olympic shot putt in 1904 and 1908, and it needed an Olympic record to beat him today. McDonald's 15.34 metres, only eight inches short of Rose's world record, won by just nine centimetres.
Meanwhile in the swimming pool, the 200 metres breaststroke was won by Germany's aptly-named Walter Bathe. As good as Jeff Float in 1984! Bathe also won the 400 metres breaststroke at the same Games.
Two more 1500 and 5,000 metre races at the Olympics. They were run less than two hours apart - and won by the same man! It could only have been Paavo Nurmi, of course. He won a record five gold medals at these Games and fancied his chances of a sixth - but the Finnish selectors were so worried about his workload that they stopped him defending the 10,000 metres title. So a disgruntled Nurmi dropped down to the 1500 instead. Running with a stopwatch in his hand as he often did, he opened up a 40-yard lead, tossed the watch aside, and coasted the last lap to conserve some energy for the 5,000. In that, he took great pleasure in beating Ville Ritola, the new 10,000 champion. He took the lead at halfway and kept Ritola two yards behind him all the way. They both broke the Olympic record in finishing 30 seconds clear of the field.
On the same day, Fred Tootell won the hammer throw and 17-year-old Lee Barnes won the pole vault.
The crash which cost Roger Rivière his cycling career and mobility was caused by drugs. Needing to hang on to Gastone Nencini in the mountains then beat him in a time trial to win the Tour de France, Rivière followed him down from the Col de Perjuret. But Nencini was famously fast on descents, and Rivière struggled to match that speed. He flipped over a low wall and broke his back. Afterwards he tried blaming his brakes, but when they were found to be fine, he admitted taking painkillers during the climb, which numbed him so much he couldn't use the brakes. He also admitted taking amphetamines and camphor in 1958 before setting the world record for distance covered in an hour. The crash left Rivière in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, which ended in 1976. On the track, he was world pursuit champion three years in a row. Nencini won the 1960 Tour by five minutes.
Rugby union full-back Andy Irvine wasn't a great defender but he ran excitingly and kicked a lot of points. Today he kicked his last for Scotland. Excluding a penalty try and including the Lions, he scored 297, a world record at the time. He was captain in his last international today, but his three penalty goals only glossed a 33-9 defeat in Brisbane. His opposite number at full-back, big Roger Gould, scored two of Australia's three tries, and Paul McLean kicked 21 points.
Herb McKenley was born in Jamaica and grew into a top 400 metre runner who didn't get it right in the big events. In 1948 he became the first to go under 46 seconds, but at the Olympic Games the following month he went off too fast and was caught fellow Jamaican big Arthur Wint. Wint then did McKenley out of another gold medal by pulling a muscle during the relay final. Four years later, McKenley started the race more slowly - but this time couldn't catch another Jamaican, George Rhoden. Four days before that, McKenley had come through a weak field to reach the 100 metres final, where he won yet another silver in a photo finish (21 July). McKenley had one last chance for gold - and this time Wint stayed upright as Jamaica set a world record in winning the relay (27 July). McKenley spent the next two decades as a coach, teaching triumph and disaster as well as technique.