Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke won the first of Britain's 19 gold medals at these Olympic Games. One of five riders who pulled away towards the end of the road race, she timed her sprint to beat Sweden's Emma Johansson and future world champion Tatiana Guderzo of Italy. It was Britain's 200th gold medal at the Summer Olympics. The following month, Cooke won the road race at the World Championships.
The first European golfer to win back-to-back majors. After retaining the British Open on July 20, Ireland's Padraig Harrington became US PGA champion after a tense duel over the last few holes. Three strokes behind Ben Curtis at the start of the final round, Harrington joined Sergio García at the top of the leaderboard after the 13th hole. The Spaniard led by one after 15 but dropped a shot at the next to rejoin Curtis and Harrington in a share of the lead. Harrington birdied the 17th to take a one-shot lead, but then found a fairway bunker on the last. A pressure putt from 18 feet saved par and won the title as García bogeyed the last and missed out on a major yet again.
Antonio Pettigrew, the former 400m world champion, was found dead in his car. Pettigrew cost the American 4x400m relay team their gold medals at the 2000 Olympics after he was found guilty of doping. The controversy came nine years after he won the world title in Tokyo.
Pity poor Greg Norman that year. Say that again? Have sympathy for someone who won a golf Major? Who led after three rounds of all four and blew three of them? Er, yes. Because today he didn't blow it. Someone else had a stroke of luck. After losing the Masters (13 April) and US Open (June 15) when Jack Nicklaus and Ray Floyd rolled back the years, big Greg made amends by winning the British Open in style (July 20). Now in the US PGA, he began with 65 and 68 and still led Bob Tway by six shots despite Tway's 64 in the third round. And even though Norman threw away shots in the back nine to finish with 76 in the last round, he didn't lose because he collapsed but because Tway chipped in for a birdie on the last green - from a bunker. Someone up there never really liked Greg Norman. In the next Major, he had to suffer Larry Mize's equally freakish winner (April 12).
The day Zola Budd brought Mary Decker's hopes crashing to earth. Not the thing to do to America's sweetheart in an American Olympics. Back in 1973 Decker had beaten the Olympic silver medallist over 800 metres - when she was only 14. But too much running on growing legs caused her no end of injuries in the next eight years, and it wasn't until 1983 that she emerged in a major competition. Then two brilliant runs against Soviet runners brought her the 1500 and 3000 metre double at the World Championships. So she was a natural favourite for the 3000 at the LA Games. Meanwhile an English newspaper was making a scoop. When a 17-year-old South African called Zola Budd broke the world record at 5000 metres, the Daily Mail paid for her to come to Britain. Within two weeks she was a British citizen. Unable to run in the Olympics because South Africa were excluded for their Apartheid regime, Budd got her passport of convenience while others were waiting months or more for theirs. Even before she arrived at the Games, it was obvious to anyone who knew their athletics that Budd had no chance of beating Decker at the 3000. But the Mail got their story anyway. If your protégée can't win gold for Britain, what's the next best thing? Bring down the favourite in a storm of controversy. Just after halfway in the final, Budd took the lead, then cut back in before she was clear of the field. Some blamed Decker for charging along in the inside lane - but she had every right to be there. Budd simply didn't look where she was going. Decker fell over, pulled a muscle so she couldn't finish the race, and was helped away in tears. Budd finished a distant seventh behind Romania's Maricica Puică, with Wendy Sly, a real British runner, taking the silver. That was Mary Decker's last real chance of Olympic gold. Four years later, she led at halfway in the final before fading. During her time in Britain, Budd made no effort to denounce Apartheid. She returned to live under it in 1988. When the system finally collapsed and South Africa were re-admitted to the Olympics, she was eliminated in a heat of the 3000 in 1992. Only white South Africa and a British rag gained anything from the whole shoddy episode.
Lawrence Bruno Nero Dallaglio was born in west London. Iconic jutting-jawed he-man at the back of the scrum for Wasps and England, he was mobile enough to play on the winning side in the World Cup Final in sevens (April 18 1993), when he scored a try in the semi-final and final. And of course he was a powerhouse in the 15-a-side Final (22 November 2003), when his run set up England's try. In that World Cup, his partnership with flankers Neil Back (January 16 1969) and Richard Hill (May 23 1973) was past its prime but good enough. Big Lol played in 89 international matches, including four for the Lions, and his 17 tries are a record for an England forward. He captained the national team 14 times before a pitiful sting by the News of the Word (May 23 1999), then in eight matches five years later. He was still good enough at 35 to play in the 2007 World Cup final (20 October). With Wasps, he won the league title five times, three national cup finals, and Europe's Heineken Cup in 2004 and 2007. When he captained Wasps to victory in the 2005 Premiership final, he spoiled Martin Johnson's last big match (May 14). Things to bring up if you meet him: he was once a choirboy who sang at Andrew Lloyd-Webber's wedding and on Tina Turner's We Don't Need Another Hero. And 'Dallaglio' is Italian for 'from the garlic'.
Colin Jackson won the 110 metres hurdles at the European Championship for the fourth time in a row, matching the record set by Steve Backley in the javelin the day before. Jackson was 35 by then but had enough zip left to clock 13.11 seconds, a yard clear of Latvia's Stanislavs Olijars, who won the title four years later. Jackson's Championship record of 13.02, set in 1998, still stands.
American swimmer 'Buster' Crabbe won the 400 metres freestyle at the Olympics. He set a Games record in overtaking world record holder Jean Taris of France. Like Johnny Weissmuller, who won the event in 1924, Crabbe went on to play Tarzan in Hollywood movies, but he was more famous as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. The studios didn't highlight his real first name: Clarence.
James Stillman Rockefeller died at the age of 102. A member of the obscenely rich family and an oarsman good to win Olympic gold in the men's eights in 1924.