On This Day

  • February 17 down the years

England go points crazy

Jonny Wilkinson is stopped in full flight © Getty Images
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2001
A day of records at Twickenham. Italy were only 33-23 down at half-time, but England went on to win 80-23 - the highest total and biggest winning margin in any Six Nations match. Jonny Wilkinson's 35 points and nine conversions are also tournament records. He missed only one of his 14 kicks at goal, a difficult last-minute conversion that would have broken what was then the England record. Their ten tries were shared by eight different players, including the last one by Lawrence Dallaglio, whose dad is Italian.

A day of iconic hat-tricks at the Winter Olympics.

In 1968 Jean-Claude Killy won his third gold of the Games. Skiing on home snow in Grenoble must have helped, as did some murky goings-on in the fog. Killy had completed his second run in the slalom when his main rival set off. Austria's Karl Schranz stopped on the way down after a mysterious figure stepped out in front of him. Schranz and three witnesses demanded a re-run, and he beat Killy's overall time. He even gave a press conference while Killy contemplated failing to emulate Toni Sailer. Then it was announced that Schranz had been disqualified for missing two gates before the mysterious intruder appeared. The whole thing has never been properly explained, but it's likely that Killy had a bit of local help. Schranz never won an Olympic gold medal.

In 1980, Irina Rodnina won her third consecutive gold in pairs ice skating. After success with Aleksei Ulanov in 1972, she won for the second time with her husband Aleksandr Zaitsev. Two years earlier, she'd won her tenth title in a row at the Word Championships.

In 1928, the great and graceful Swedish ice skater Gillis Grafström won his third consecutive gold despite a swollen knee. Wearing plus-fours and a tie, he pushed Austria's Willi Böckl into second place again. Grafström went for a fourth gold on Day February 9, 1932.

1984
In rugby league, Great Britain really struggled against a typically weak France team. They won 10-0 only because David Hobbs kicked five goals. An 18-year-old Gary Schofield won the first of his record-equalling 48 caps.

1924
Johnny Weissmuller set his second world record in the 100 metres freestyle. His 57.4 seconds broke his own best by more than a second and lasted ten years.

Johnny Weissmuller went on to star as Tarzan © Getty Images
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1979
In the union game, folkloric prop Tony 'Charlie' Faulkner was ten days short of his 38th birthday when he won his last cap for Wales. He was 33 when he played his first. Part of the famous Pontypool front row with Graham Price and Bobby Windsor, he played in 19 internationals. Windsor also won his last cap today, his 28th, in a 14-13 defeat in Paris.

1980
Two big names won Olympic gold at last. Eight years earlier, 18-year-old Annemarie Moser-Pröll had been hot favourite for two golds at the Winter Games. She won two silvers behind a skier who was even younger. Between then and now, she won the downhill at two World Championships but didn't enter the 1976 Winter Olympics. Here in 1980, she was the sixth skier to go, and her time survived all attacks by more than half a second.

In ski-jumping, another young Austrian favourite had also won silver in 1976. Toni Innauer was only 17 when he finished a disappointed second on the large hill. Now his aerodynamic style dominated the normal hill, winning the gold medal by a whopping 17 points.

1955
In ice dancing, Britain's Lawrence Demmy and Jean Westwood won their fifth world title in a row, a record that hasn't been broken - even by Torvill and Dean.

1920
France set a world record that still stands by losing their 18th rugby match in a row. The game against Wales in Paris became so bad-tempered that the referee put the ball into one of the scrums. France's captain Philippe Struxiano claimed he'd scored in the corner but the Welsh touch judge ruled foot in touch. Wick Powell used his famous speed to put Wales 6-0 ahead before Adolphe Jauréguy's converted try made the final score 6-5. France had to wait until April 3 to put an end to their losing run.

1963
A certain Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York. After initially failing to make the squad for his high school squad, Jordan would go on to be recognised as the greatest basketball player ever after a stellar career with the NBA's Chicago Bulls. He won six titles with the Bulls - in a spell divided by a brief attempt to make it in Major League Baseball - and even made a short, if generally ill-fated, comeback with the Washington Wizards after his coming out of retirement. Now owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, Jordan still spots up with the squad on occasions at practices.

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