On This Day

  • August 2 down the years

Tim Henman, Olympic medallist

Tim Henman and Neil Broad had never won a match before the Olympics © Getty Images
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1996
Tim Henman, Olympic medallist. He and Neil Broad came from a set down in the semi-final to beat the unexceptional Germans Marc-Kevin Göllner and David Prinosil 10-8 in the decider - but the final was too big a step up. Australia's Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge were the best pair in the world; they'd just won the fourth of their six Wimbledon titles. After surviving match points in their semi-final against the top Dutchmen Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, the Woodies had far less trouble in the final. Henman and Broad had been cobbled together for the Games. Their first-round match was the first they'd ever won together, and they lost this final in straight sets. Broad dropped his serve in each of the first two, which they lost 6-4, then Henman joined in and the third disappeared 6-2.

2009
After bronze at the last two World Championships, British swimmer Liam Tancock won gold in a third - and set his second world record in two days. His time of 24.04 seconds trimmed his own 24.08 and won him the 50 metres backstroke by 0.20 from Japan's Junya Koga.

Those too-good bodysuits set dozens of world records at these Championships, including two others today. Britta Steffen of Germany won the 50 metres freestyle in 23.73 seconds, and the USA took the men's medley relay, with Michael Phelps swimming the butterfly leg. Phelps won five golds in that year's Championship to bring his total to 22, twice as many as anyone else.

1992
The day the Searle brothers won Olympic gold. They weren't meant to. They were supposed to finish in the wake of two other brothers, who were destined to win their event for the third Games in a row. They nearly did, too. Carmine and Giuseppe Abbagnale are legends of rowing. World champions seven times in the coxed pairs, they were good enough to beat Steve Redgrave and Andy Holmes to retain the Olympic title (September 24, 1988). By 1992, they and cox Giuseppe Di Capua had been unbeaten in six years. They were veterans by now, but had enough puff to set off at their usual killer pace and hold on for almost the whole race. But Greg and Jonny Searle were ten years younger. They caught the Italians with 100 yards to go, won by just over a second, and smiled their way through the British national anthem while cox Garry Herbert had a famous televised cry. It was the last time the coxed pairs was held at the Olympics. The Searles replaced the Abbagnales as world champions the following year, then won bronze in a different event at the 1996 Games. In 2010, Greg resumed training at the age of 38 with the London Olympics in mind. The Abbagnales' younger brother Agostino won three Olympic golds.

On the same day at those 1992 Games, the Oarsome Foursome won the coxless fours for Australia. Andrew Cooper, Mike McKay, Nick Green, and the great James Tomkins used the Abbagnale tactic of building a big lead and holding on. At the Olympics four years later, with Drew Ginn in place of Cooper, they won the event again.

The Searle brothers won by just over a second © Getty Images
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1932
A controversial figure won the women's 100 metres Olympic title. Stella Walsh chose to run for her native Poland rather than the USA, where she'd lived since she was a child. She ran under her baptismal name, too: Stefania Walasiewiczówna. Ran fast enough to equal the world record of 11.9 seconds in the Olympic Final, just ahead of Canada's Hilda Strike, who shared the same time. Walasiewiczówna won silver in the event at the 1936 Games - but she was always under a cloud. Dark and rugged, when she was shot dead in 1980 (December 4), she was found to have male and female chromosomes and no female sex organs. No wonder her world record for 200 metres lasted nearly 17 years.

1933
The last amateur golfer to win a Major. A record-equalling second round of 66 put Johnny Goodman in charge of the US Open, and he could afford a 76 in the last and still win by a stroke. Other Major winners occupied the next four places. Goodman won the Open before the US Amateur, which he won in 1937.

1936 If any black athlete was snubbed by Hitler at these Berlin Olympics, it wasn't Jesse Owens but Cornelius Johnson today. Johnson won the high jump without a single miss and didn't even take his tracksuit off until the bar reached two metres. He jumped a Games record 2.03 and won easily from fellow world record holder David Albritton, who was also black. But Hitler, who'd congratulated the winners of the two previous events, a German and a Finn, left the stadium before the medal ceremony. After that, the IOC politely asked him to congratulate every winner or none at all. With Owens to come (August 3), he chose the none.

1980
Teófilo Stevenson became only the second boxer to win three Olympic gold medals. After his breakthrough in 1972 (10 September), he retained the heavyweight title in 1976 and did it again today despite his least impressive performances yet. The semi-final and final were the first Olympic bouts he didn't win by a stoppage. Today he bored his way to victory over Pyotr Zayev of the USSR.

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