Athletics in History

Events in Sport

  • 1653-12-01 An athlete from Croydon is reported to have run 20 miles from St Albans to London in less than 90 minutes
  • 1880-04-24 Amateur Athletic Association, governing body for men's athletics in England & Wales, is founded in Oxford, England
  • 1912-04-01 Greek athlete Konstantinos Tsiklitiras breaks the world record -in standing long jump jumping 3.47 metres.
  • 1922-08-20 1st world championship athletics for women, held in Paris
  • 1930-05-20 University of California dedicates $1,500 to research on prevention & cure of athlete's foot
  • 1931-04-28 Program for woman athletes approved for 1932 Olympics track & field
  • 1932-02-15 US bobsled team member Eddie Eagan becomes only athlete to win gold in both Summer & Winter Olympics (1920 boxing gold)

Sports record brokenWorld Record

1935-05-25 Track and field athlete Jesse Owens equals or breaks 4 world records in 45 minutes at a Big Ten meet at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Remembered as "the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport".

Track and Field Athlete Jesse Owens
Track and Field Athlete
Jesse Owens
  • 1951-01-03 Fred Wilt wins AAU Sullivan Memorial Trophy (US athlete of 1950)
  • 1961-12-18 For 2nd consecutive year, AP names Wilma Rudolph female athlete of year

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1971-10-03 Billie Jean King became 1st female athlete to win $100,000

Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
Tennis Legend
Billie Jean King
  • 1972-06-24 Danie Malan, South African athlete, sets a new world record in the 1000m event in Munich
  • 1972-09-04 US swimmer Mark Spitz becomes 1st athlete to win 7 olympic gold medals
  • 1972-09-05 11 Israeli athletes taken hostage and later killed by Palestinian Black September group at the Munich Olympics
  • 1973-07-04 In audience with Italian cyclists, Pope Paul VI praises athletes who "offer the magnificent show of a healthy, strong, generous youth"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1973-10-20 President Nixon proclaims Jim Thorpe greatest athlete of 1st ½ century

Versatile Athlete Jim Thorpe
Versatile Athlete
Jim Thorpe
  • 1975-07-18 Jury can't decide on trial of Dave Forbes of Boston Bruins (1st athlete indicted for excessive violence during play)
  • 1977-01-11 France releases Abu Daoud, a Palestinian suspected of involvement in massacre of Israeli athletes at 1972 Munich Olympics
  • 1977-01-12 Anti-French demonstrations takes place in Israel after Paris released Abu Daoud, responsible 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes
  • 1987-08-29 Portuguese athlete Rosa Mota wins Women's Marathon at World Chapionships in Rome in 2hr 25:17mins

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1989-12-29 Wayne Gretzky & Martina Navratilova, named athletes of decade by AP

Tennis Player Martina Navratilova
Tennis Player
Martina Navratilova
  • 1995-04-08 148th Grand National: Jason Titley aboard Royal Athlete wins
  • 2012-06-24 Female athletes will be allowed to compete for Saudi Arabia at the Olympics for the first time
  • 2013-08-18 14th World Athletics Championships close in Moscow, Russia
  • 2014-09-11 South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is found not guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp (and is later found guilty of culpable homicide)
  • 2015-11-09 World Anti-Doping Agency commission report recommends Russian Federation be banned from athletics competitions for running a "state-supported" doping programme

Birthdays in Sport

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 196

  • 1843-02-12 John Graham Chambers, English athlete who wrote the Queensberry rules for boxing (d. 1883)
  • 1870-09-07 Thomas Curtis, American athlete (d. 1944)
  • 1871-09-24 Lottie Dod, English athlete (d. 1960)
  • 1872-10-24 Peter O'Connor, Irish athlete (d. 1957)
  • 1873-01-10 George Orton, Canadian athlete (d. 1958)
  • 1873-02-04 Étienne Desmarteau, Canadian athlete (d. 1905)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1873-11-05 Teddy Flack [Edwin], Australian athlete, double Olympic gold medallist in 1896, born in London, England (d. 1935)

Olympic Runner Teddy Flack
Olympic Runner
Teddy Flack
  • 1874-11-15 Dimitrios Golemis, Greek athlete (d. 1941)
  • 1876-03-21 John Tewksbury, American athlete (d. 1968)
  • 1878-03-22 Michel Théato, Luxembourgian athlete (d. 1919)
  • 1878-08-31 Frank Jarvis, American athlete (d. 1933)
  • 1878-10-16 Maxey Long, American athlete (d. 1959)
  • 1880-07-24 Kristian Hellström, Swedish athlete (d. 1946)
  • 1880-09-14 Archie Hahn, American athlete (d. 1955)
  • 1881-09-08 Harry Hillman, American athlete (d. 1945)
  • 1881-10-28 Bruno Söderström, Swedish athlete (d. 1969)
  • 1883-10-26 Paul Pilgrim, American athlete (d. 1958)
  • 1884-02-08 Reginald Baker, Australian athlete and actor (d. 1953)
  • 1884-02-13 Alfred Carlton Gilbert, American athlete, inventor, and businessman (d. 1961)
  • 1884-06-22 James Rector, American athlete (d. 1949)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1888-05-28 Jim Thorpe, versatile American athlete (Olympic gold-1912), born in Prague, Oklahoma (d. 1953)

Versatile Athlete Jim Thorpe
Versatile Athlete
Jim Thorpe
  • 1889-03-16 Reggie Walker, South African athlete (d. 1951)
  • 1889-03-24 Albert Hill, British athlete (d. 1969)
  • 1889-06-21 Ralph Craig, American athlete (d. 1972)
  • 1889-09-20 Charles Reidpath, American athlete (d. 1975)
  • 1893-01-20 Georg Åberg, Swedish athlete (d. 1946)
  • 1893-04-18 Violette Morris, French athlete (d. 1944)
  • 1894-10-05 Bevil Rudd, South African athlete (d. 1948)
  • 1895-02-15 Earl Thomson, Canadian athlete (d. 1971)
  • 1898-10-15 Boughera El Ouafi, Algerian athlete (d. 1951)
  • 1900-05-24 Lionel Conacher, Canadian athlete and politician (d. 1954)
  • 1900-08-11 Charles William Paddock, Texas, American athlete and 100m record breaker (Olympic-2 gold-1920) (d. 1943)
  • 1903-04-17 Morgan Taylor, American athlete (d. 1975)
  • 1904-05-27 Chuhei Nambu, Japanese athlete (d. 1997)
  • 1905-06-12 Ray Barbuti, American athlete (d. 1988)
  • 1905-12-01 Alexander Wilson, Canadian and Notre Dame athlete (d. 1994)
  • 1906-05-19 Bruce Bennett, American athlete and actor (Before I Hang, Sahara), born in Tacoma, Washington
  • 1907-05-09 Fred Warngård, Swedish athlete (d. 1950)
  • 1908-05-19 Percy Williams, Canadian athlete (d. 1982)
  • 1908-09-29 Eddie Tolan, American athlete (d. 1967)
  • 1909-10-24 Bill Carr, American athlete (d. 1966)
  • 1910-05-30 Ralph Metcalfe, American athlete (d. 1978)
  • 1911-06-26 Babe Didrikson Zaharias [Mildred Ella], Port Arthur, Texas, American athlete (U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame)
  • 1915-03-08 Tapio Rautavaara, Finnish athlete, actor, and singer (d. 1979)
  • 1915-05-01 Archie Williams, American athlete (d. 1993)
  • 1915-07-05 John Woodruff, American athlete (d. 2007)
  • 1916-05-20 Trebisonda Valla, Italian athlete (d. 2006)
  • 1917-07-17 Lou Bourdeau, baseball player/manager (1948 AP Athlete of Year)
  • 1918-02-25 Barney Ewell, American athlete (d. 1996)
  • 1919-06-10 Kevin O'Flanagan, Irish athlete and physician (d. 2006)
  • 1920-06-22 Gladys Marea Hartman, athletics Administrator
  • 1921-02-24 Gaston Reiff, Belgian athlete (b. 1992)
  • 1921-06-03 Forbes Carlile, Australian athlete and influential swimming coach, born in Melbourne (d. 2016)
  • 1924-10-11 Mal Whitfield, American Olympic athlete, born in Bay City, Texas (d. 2015)
  • 1924-12-26 Frank Broyles, American athlete, long time athletic director of the University of Arkansas.
  • 1925-06-28 Anne Mackenzie, South African long distance athlete
  • 1926-12-13 George Rhoden, Jamaican athlete
  • 1927-12-29 Andy Stanfield, American athlete (d. 1985)
  • 1928-11-20 John Disley, Welsh athlete (co-founded London Marathon), born in Corris, Gwynedd (d. 2016)
  • 1929-04-25 Yvette Corlett, athlete
  • 1930-03-10 Sandor Iharos, athlete
  • 1931-01-31 Christopher Chataway, British MP/athlete (world record 5k)
  • 1931-06-03 Lindy Remigino, American athlete
  • 1932-07-04 Aurèle Vandendriessche, Belgian athlete
  • 1933-12-02 Michael Larrabee, American athlete (d. 2003)
  • 1933-12-19 Kevan Gosper, Australian athlete
  • 1934-02-16 Marlene Bauer Hagge, Eureka SD, LPGA golfer (1950 Woman Athlete)
  • 1934-09-12 Glenn Davis, American athlete
  • 1937-03-22 Armin Hary, German athlete
  • 1939-05-13 Hildrun Claus, German athlete
  • 1939-05-15 Dorothy Shirley, British athlete
  • 1939-05-19 Livio Berruti, Italian athlete
  • 1941-05-22 Martha Langbein, German athlete
  • 1942-05-14 Valeriy Brumel, Soviet athlete (d. 2003)
  • 1942-11-27 Henry Carr, American athlete (200m/4x400m Olympic golds 1964), born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • 1943-05-10 Andrzej Badeński, Polish athlete (400 metres) (d. 2008)
  • 1944-06-03 Eddy Ottoz, Italian athlete
  • 1944-06-21 Frans Luitjes, Dutch athlete
  • 1944-08-13 Divina Galica, British athlete and racing driver
  • 1944-10-11 Rodney Marsh, British football player, coach and broadcaster, born in Hatfield
  • 1945-06-05 John Carlos, American athlete
  • 1946-09-10 Jim Hines, American athlete
  • 1947-10-08 Emiel Puttemans, Flemish athlete
  • 1947-12-27 Willy Polleunis, Belgian athlete
  • 1949-03-18 Hannu Siitonen, Finnish athlete
  • 1953-04-10 David Moorcroft, British athlete
  • 1953-10-01 Grete Waitz, Norwegian athlete
  • 1954-02-15 Armand Parmentier, Belgian athlete
  • 1955-02-14 Ronald Desruelles, Belgian athlete
  • 1957-02-27 Viktor Markin, Russian athlete

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1957-08-26 Rick Hansen, Canadian paraplegic athlete (3 gold medals), born in Port Alberni, British Columbia

Paralympian and Philanthropist Rick Hansen
Paralympian and Philanthropist
Rick Hansen

Weddings in Sport


HeartWedding of Interest

1913-10-14 Athlete Jim Thorpe (25) weds Margaret Iva Miller at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Versatile Athlete Jim Thorpe
Versatile Athlete
Jim Thorpe
  • 1945-06-02 Athlete Jim Thorpe (57) weds Patricia Askew
  • 2006-03-31 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jana Pittman (23) weds track and field athlete Chris Rawlinson (33) at Morning Star Estate on Mornington Peninsula in Australia

HeartWedding of Interest

2007-02-24 Former world champion track and field athlete Marion Jones (31) weds Olympic bronze medalist Obadele Thompson (30) at the Union Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilson's Mills, North Carolina

Track and Field Athlete/Drug Cheat Marion Jones
Track and Field Athlete/Drug Cheat
Marion Jones
  • 2016-05-01 Paralympic athlete Aimee Mullins (39) weds "Homeland" star Rupert Friend (34) in a magical hobbit-y compost shed

Divorces in Sport

  • 2015-03-23 TV personality Kris Jenner and athlete Bruce Jenner divorce after 13 years of marriage

Deaths in Sport

  • 1905-10-29 Etienne Desmarteau, Canadian athlete (b. 1873)
  • 1915-03-31 Wyndham Halswelle, Scottish athlete (b. 1882)
  • 1933-06-02 Frank Jarvis, American athlete (b. 1878)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1935-01-10 Teddy Flack [Edwin], Australian athlete, double Olympic gold medallist in 1896, dies at 61

Olympic Runner Teddy Flack
Olympic Runner
Teddy Flack
  • 1944-04-26 Violette Morris, French athlete (b. 1893)
  • 1945-08-09 Harry Hillman, American athlete (b. 1881)
  • 1946-01-09 Dimitrios Golemis, Greek athlete (b. 1874)
  • 1948-02-02 Bevil Rudd, South African athlete (b. 1894)
  • 1949-03-10 James Rector, American athlete (b. 1884)
  • 1949-12-28 Jack Lovelock, NZ/US surgeon/athlete (Olympic-gold-1936), dies at 39

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1953-03-28 Jim Thorpe, versatile American athlete (Olympic gold-1912), dies at 64

Versatile Athlete Jim Thorpe
Versatile Athlete
Jim Thorpe
  • 1953-12-02 Reginald Baker, Australian athlete and actor (b. 1884)
  • 1954-05-26 Lionel Conacher, Canadian athlete (b. 1900)
  • 1955-01-21 Archie Hahn, American athlete (b. 1880)
  • 1956-09-07 Charles Burgess Fry, English athlete/cricketer/journalist, dies at 84
  • 1956-09-27 Babe Didrikson-Zaharias, American Hall of Fame athlete, dies of colon cancer at 45
  • 1957-11-09 Peter O'Connor, Irish athlete (b. 1872)
  • 1958-01-08 Paul Pilgrim, American athlete (b. 1883)
  • 1958-06-26 George Orton, Canadian athlete (b. 1873)
  • 1959-03-04 Maxey Long, American athlete (b. 1878)
  • 1959-10-18 Boughera El Ouafi, Algerian athlete (b. 1898)
  • 1960-06-27 Lottie Dod, English athlete (b. 1871)
  • 1965-10-27 French Luitjes, Dutch athlete, dies at 21
  • 1966-01-14 Bill Carr, American athlete (b. 1909)
  • 1966-09-05 Dezső Lauber, Hungarian athlete (b. 1879)
  • 1967-01-31 Eddie Tolan, American athlete (b. 1908)
  • 1968-04-25 John Tewksbury, American athlete (b. 1876)
  • 1969-01-01 Bruno Söderström, Swedish athlete (b. 1888)
  • 1969-01-08 Albert Hill, British athlete (b. 1889)
  • 1969-06-23 Volmari Iso-Hollo, Finnish athlete (b. 1907)
  • 1970-12-26 Lillian Board, British athlete (b. 1948)
  • 1972-07-21 Ralph Craig, American athlete (b. 1889)
  • 1975-02-16 Morgan Taylor, American athlete (b. 1903)
  • 1975-10-21 Charles Reidpath, American athlete (b. 1887)
  • 1978-01-14 Harold Abrahams, British athlete (b. 1899)
  • 1979-01-22 Ali Hassan Salameh, [Abu Hassan], killed by car bomb; believed to have helped mastermind massacre of 1972 Munich Olympics athletes
  • 1979-09-25 Tapio Rautavaara, Finnish athlete and actor (b. 1915)
  • 1982-11-29 Percy Williams, Canadian athlete (b. 1908)
  • 1983-02-14 Lina Radke, German athlete (b. 1903)
  • 1985-06-15 Andy Stanfield, American athlete (b. 1927)
  • 1988-07-08 Ray Barbuti, American athlete (b. 1905)
  • 1989-01-29 Halina Konopacka, Polish athlete (b. 1900)
  • 1992-05-06 Gaston Reiff, Belgian athlete (b. 1921)
  • 1993-01-16 Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Icelandic strength athlete (b. 1960)
  • 1994-08-29 Gladys Marea Hartman, athletics Administrator, dies at 74
  • 1994-12-10 Alexander Wilson, Canadian athlete (b. 1905)
  • 1995-09-18 Oleg Tverdokhleb, Ukrainian athlete (b. 1969)
  • 1996-01-24 Sandor Iharos, athlete, dies at 65
  • 1996-04-04 Barney Ewell, American athlete (b. 1918)
  • 1997-07-23 Chuhei Nambu, Japanese athlete (b. 1904)
  • 1997-11-11 Rodney Milburn, American athlete (b. 1950)
  • 1998-06-13 Birger Ruud, Norwegian athlete (b. 1911)
  • 1998-08-17 Wladyslaw Komar, Polish track and field athlete (b. 1940)
  • 1998-08-17 Tadeusz Slusarski, Polish track and field athlete (b. 1950)
  • 1998-09-21 Florence Griffith Joyner, American athlete (b. 1959)
  • 2000-11-22 Emil Zátopek, Czech athlete (b. 1922)
  • 2001-10-18 Micheline Ostermeyer, French athlete and musician (b. 1922)
  • 2002-06-17 Willie Davenport, American athlete (b. 1943)
  • 2002-09-18 Bob Hayes, American athlete (b. 1942)
  • 2003-01-26 Valeriy Brumel, Soviet Olympic athlete (b. 1942)
  • 2003-02-28 Chris Brasher, English athlete (b. 1928)
  • 2003-04-22 Michael Larrabee, American athlete (b. 1933)
  • 2003-06-28 Wim Slijkhuis, Dutch athlete (b. 1923)
  • 2003-11-15 Ray Lewis, Canadian athlete (b. 1910)
  • 2004-01-06 Charles Dumas, American athlete (b. 1937)
  • 2004-01-20 Guinn Smith, American athlete (b. 1920)
  • 2004-02-11 Shirley Strickland, Australian athlete (b. 1925)
  • 2005-01-25 Nettie Witziers-Timmer, Dutch athlete (b. 1923)
  • 2005-02-12 Rafael Vidal, Venezuelan athlete (b. 1964)
  • 2005-03-30 Milton Green, American athlete (b. 1913)
  • 2006-05-03 Earl Woods, Athlete and father of Tiger Woods (b. 1932)
  • 2006-05-26 Kevin O'Flanagan, Irish athlete and physician (b. 1919)
  • 2006-10-06 Puck Brouwer, Dutch athlete (b. 1930)
  • 2007-01-21 Maria Cioncan, Romanian athlete (b. 1977)
  • 2007-01-27 Yang Chuan-kwang, Taiwanese athlete (b. 1933)
  • 2007-01-28 Yelena Romanova, Russian athlete (b. 1963)
  • 2007-02-06 Willye White, American athlete (b. 1939)
  • 2007-10-30 John Woodruff, American athlete (b. 1915)
  • 2008-06-16 Tom Compernolle, Belgian athlete (b. 1975)
  • 2008-09-28 Andrzej Badeński, Polish athlete (400 metres)
  • 2008-12-08 Kerryn McCann, Australian athlete (b. 1967)
  • 2010-08-18 Hal Connolly, American Athlete and hammer thrower (b.1931)
  • 2015-05-29 Henry Carr, American athlete (2 Olympic golds 200m and 4x400m relay 1964), dies at 72
  • 2015-11-18 Mal Whitfield, American Olympic athlete, dies at 91
  • 2016-02-08 John Disley, Welsh athlete (co-founded London Marathon), dies at 87
  • 2016-08-02 Forbes Carlile, Australian athlete and influential swimming coach, dies at 95