On This Day

  • February 4 down the years

A Golden Boy is born

Oscar de la Hoya was classy at his best © Getty Images
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1973
Oscar de la Hoya, known as the Golden Boy, was born in California. One of the smoothest and most successful boxers of all time, he won gold at lightweight in the 1992 Olympics and everything going as a professional, accumulating world titles at six different weights, ranging from super-featherweight to light-middleweight, a span of 24 pounds. He didn't fight that often - 45 times in 16 years - but this was quality above quantity. Style over substance, some said - but he didn't lose any of his first 32 pro bouts spread over seven years, and beat other giants like Julio Cesar Chávez, Pernell Whitaker and Hector Camacho. He was in his early thirties by the time he started losing to Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather and (in his last fight) Manny Pacquiao.

1961
One of the most famous tackles of all time. The Springboks had won all four internationals on their British tour, using a typically giant pack to grind out narrow victories. Here at Cardiff, they were probably stale after a long trip - and met a pack that wanted it more. In the Barbarians' 6-0 win, both their tries were scored by the Morgans in the back row, Derek and Haydn. But the big moment came from full-back Haydn Mainwaring. He missed the conversions of both tries, but hit Avril Malan with such a shuddering tackle that South Africa's giant young captain was knocked out for two minutes. Not just symbolic, either, it won Mainwaring his only cap for Wales the following month.

2007
Adam Vinatieri kicked last-gasp field goals to win the Super Bowl on February 3, 2002 and February 1, 2004. Today he kicked another three, for Indianapolis Colts this time, in a 29-17 win over Chicago Bears. His total of seven field goals is a Super Bowl record.

1987
Dennis Connor regained the America's Cup from the Australians. Good as far as it goes, but he'll always be remembered as the man who lost it on September 26, 1983.

1948
John Heaton won his second Olympic silver medal 20 years after the first. The skeleton event was staged only twice before 2002. In 1928, Heaton finished second to his brother Jennison. Today in 1948 he was unlucky that the event was held on the Cresta Run at St Moritz, where the famous Nino Bibbia won well over 200 races. This was one of them. He beat the 39-year-old Heaton by just over a second.

1912
Byron Nelson was born in Texas. His 1945 was statistically the biggest year any golfer ever had. He won 18 tournaments, including 11 in a row, both records that still stand. Some of the other big names were still away at the War, and courses were easier because there was a shortage of manpower to make them difficult. But the likes of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were around for most of the year - and soft courses or not, no-one else won all those tournaments on them. Besides, Nelson won his share of Majors, which is always proof enough. Five in all: the Masters and USPGA twice each, and the US Open in 1939. He played in the British Open only twice. Air travel wasn't that common at the time, he could earn better money where he was, and the Atlantic was home to U-boats for a while.

1978
In filthy weather at Twickenham, Gareth Edwards became the first player to win 50 caps for Wales, who won 9-6. He won 53 in all, without missing a game from his debut in 1967.

Adam Vinatieri kicked some of the most high profile field goals in Super Bowl history © Getty Images
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1924
Norwegian ski-jumper Jacob Tullin Thams won gold at the inaugural Winter Olympics. In 1936, he won silver in sailing to become one of the very few competitors to pick up gongs at the Summer and Winter Games. His great rival Thorleif Haug was awarded the bronze in 1924 - but many years later it came out that a mistake had been made in adding up the scores. Haug, who'd been dead for decades, was dropped to fourth place. Anders Haugen, an American born in Norway, was 36 in 1924. He was 83 when he received his bronze medal in a ceremony in Oslo.

1864
Willie Park junior was born in Scotland. He won golf's British Open in 1887 and 1889, the second time after a play-off. His father Willie senior won the Open three times, including the very first in 1860. Willie junior's uncle Mungo Park won it in 1875.

1961
Bob Weir was born in Birmingham. He won medals in four Commonwealth Games over 20 years, including golds in the hammer in 1982 and the discus in 1998.

1888
Wales beat Scotland at rugby for the first time. At the sixth attempt, they won 3-0 in Newport thanks to a try by new cap Tom Jenkins, who was also known as Pryce-Jenkins. He was a touch lucky to be awarded it, given that he ran outside the touchline for some of the way! The Scots weren't too disgruntled by that, or their five tries that were disallowed at the other end!

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