On This Day

  • July 21 down the years

Daley makes a splash

Tom Daley was only 15 when he won his first world title © Getty Images
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2009
British prodigy Tom Daley became the youngest diver to win a men's event at a World Championships. Only a couple of months after his 15th birthday, he was lying third in the highboard final with one round to go, already a tremendous feat for a diver with lower tariffs than his main opponents. When defending champion Zhou Luxin of China scored 100.70 with his final dive, that seemed to be that. But Daley came through with 100.30 to take the lead, then watched as Australia's Olympic champion Matt Mitcham made a total mess of his last dive and favourite Qiu Bo, who'd beaten Daley at the last World Juniors, got his entry wrong and scored only 79.80. Anything like a normal score would have won him the gold, but instead he finished less than eight points behind Daley.

1989
The last time Mike Tyson was invincible. If you give yourself the boxing nickname "The Truth", you leave yourself open every time you lose, especially if you don't survive the first round. Carl Williams learned the facts about Tyson's punching power tonight. Tall and trim, Williams started confidently enough, jabbing, throwing bombs, tying Tyson up - but then he had his guard down when a big left hook came in. Williams protested when the referee stopped the fight, but there was still half a round to go and only more knockdowns to come. It was Tyson's last fight before meeting Buster Douglas (11 February 1990).

1985
The first British golfer to win the British Open since 1969 (12 July). Ireland's Christy O'Connor junior shot 64 in the first round but only 76 in the second. Bernhard Langer and Australia's David Graham led by three strokes after the third round but both shot 75 in the last. Sandy Lyle was joint leader with Graham after two rounds and outright winner at the end. With his main rivals collapsing, he went round in par to win by a stroke from Payne Stewart, who shot 68. Lyle sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the 14th, joined Graham in the lead with another birdie at 15, then nearly messed up the last. When his second shot drifted off the green, he hit a weak pitch that rolled back towards him. Lyle fell to his knees and slammed his club into the ground. But then he putted up to within two feet. Behind him, Graham and Langer dropped shots at the 16th, and Langer's pitch at the 18th hit the flag and stayed out.

On the same day in 1979, Severiano Ballesteros won the British Open for the first time. Three years earlier (10 July), he'd finished runner-up when he was only 19. Now at Lytham he became the first Continental European to win the Open since 1907 (21 June) and the youngest winner since 1893 (1 September). Ballesteros set up victory with a second round of 65, though he wouldn't have been Seve if he hadn't taken ten shots more in the third. Alternately brilliant and barking, he bashed his way from bunkers to rough to car parks but still finished three shots clear of Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus. Ballesteros won the Open at Lytham again nine years later (18 July).

In 2002, Ernie Els won the British Open for the only time by coming through a play-off with three other golfers. After shooting 66 in the second round, Els finished with 72 and 70, which allowed the other three to make up ground in the last. Steve Elkington and Thomas Levet shot 66, Stuart Appleby 65. The play-off was as tight as the tournament itself. Els and Levet went round the four holes in 16, Appleby and Elkington in 17 after bogeying the fourth. Els had won a Major for the first time by coming through a play-off against Colin Montgomerie (20 June 1994). Now he did it again, parring the first sudden-death hole while Levet made bogey. In the second round, Montgomerie had shot a course record 64, his best score in any British Open. In the next round, played in wind and rain, he shot his worst: 20 shots higher.

1978
Angelo Jacopucci of Italy died after a fight with Britain's Alan Minter. Both boxers were former European middleweight champions, and their fight was for the vacant title in Bellaria. Jacopucci was tall and elusive and made a mess of Minter's face with his right hand, but a left hook caught up with him in the 12th round. He didn't get up for several minutes, fainted at a post-fight party, and died of a brain haemorrhage two days later despite two operations. Five years afterwards, the ringside doctor was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter. He was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay Jacopucci's widow $14,000.

2002
In a rugby union World Cup qualifier in Taiwan, Japan's left wing Toru Kurihara collected 60 cheap points against the hosts, a world record that still stands. He scored six tries and kicked 15 conversions. Kurihara had scored eight conversions and a try against the same country on 7 July. Daisuke Ohata scored eight tries in that match but only two today, when Taiwan used home advantage to lose only 120-3 compared with 155-3 two weeks earlier.

1968
The oldest man to win a golf Major. Julius Boros was 48 when he put together ever decreasing rounds of 71-71-70-69 to finish one over par and beat Arnold Palmer and Bob Charles by one shot. Boros had won the US Open in 1952 and 1963, a record gap between Major wins.

1952
The British runner who would have won Olympic gold if he'd leaned forward a tad. And the 400 metre runner who nearly won the 100. Mac Bailey was born in Trinidad but competed for Britain at the 1948 Olympics, finishing a disappointing last in the final of the 100 metres. He won the AAA sprint double seven times and went to the 1952 Games as joint world record holder - but he was so used to winning easily in domestic competition that he'd never learned to dip at the line. In the Olympic final, he was almost bolt upright as two others threw themselves at the tape, and he won bronze, just 0.04 seconds away from gold. There was an unlikely silver for another Caribbean runner, Herb McKenley of Jamaica (born 10 July 1922). One of the top 400 metre runners of his time, he was edged out by the USA's Lindy Remigino in a photo-finish. The winning time of 10.79 was the worst since 1928. Later in these Games, McKenley won his second consecutive silver in the 400 before gold at last in the relay.

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