The Baltimore Ravens football team! It is the only team in the history of the National Football League to be named after the title of a poem: “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. While Poe was not from Baltimore, he lived there for short periods. And in 1849 he died there while visiting the city. (The last place he was seen alive, a bar, is still open today!)
Willye White was the first American track and field athlete to compete in five Olympic games, starting as a 16 year old in 1952, where she won a silver medal in the longjump. As a child, White picked cotton to earn money for her family while still competing in sports. She would attend Tennessee State University and win a second silver medal at the 1964 Olympics.
On this day in 532 AD one of the deadliest riots in history, the Nika riots, began in Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire). The chaos emerged from long-standing sporting rivalries between opposing chariot racing teams - the Blues and the Greens - each of whom attracted fanatical support that often spilled over into violence. The divisions may have gone further than sport, as it has often been suggested that the Blues and the Greens essentially represented opposing political parties in the Byzantine Empire. The riots occurred during the reign of the unpopular Emperor Justinian, whose military endeavors were having a heavy burden on increasingly disgruntled taxpayers. Justinian’s wife, the Empress Theodora, was a controversial figure because of her humble working class origins and her political influence over her husband. The tensions came to a head when Justinian sent in troops to quell fighting between Greens and Blues, and condemned the ringleaders to death, thus ending his support for the Blues. When both a Green and a Blue escaped their execution, the factions were united in the cause to have the men pardoned. On January 13th, during a race at Constantinople’s Hippodrome stadium, both factions vented their anger at the emperor with chants of “Nika!” (‘Conquer/Win’). Five days of rioting ensued, which saw the mob burn down large portions of the imperial capital and call for the emperor to be deposed. Justinian wanted to flee the city, but Theodora rebuked him for his cowardice, and he therefore stayed and approved a plan to isolate the rioting factions in the Hippodrome. The imperial forces descended on the stadium, killing 30,000 of the rioters, which was around 10% of the city’s population at the time. With the violence of the Nika riots in the past, change came to Byzantium in the form of a decline in both the power of the factions and the prominence of chariot-racing.
“Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss. Never will I see the day when I am not saluted as empress” - Theodora dissuading Justinian from fleeing the city
Today marks the 35th anniversary of the greatest underdog and upset in sports history. The 1980 Winter Olympics, Team USA, consisting of college kids and amateurs, defeats the well trained and powerhouse Soviet Union hockey team in the semi final game famously dubbed, the Miracle on Ice.
The Beatles, along with Murry the K, some press, and their entourage, travel by train from New York to Washington DC instead of plane, as originally planned, due to an East Coast snowstorm. The band arrived at Washington’s Union Station and were greeted by 2,000 fans who braved the eight inches of snow on the ground.
The group and their entourage stayed at the Shoreham Hotel, where they took the entire seventh floor to avoid fans. In fact, one family refused to be relocated so the hotel staff cut off the hot water, electricity and central heating, telling them there was a power failure and they had to move.
The Beatles’ first US concert, at the Washington Sports Arena, was watched by a crowd of 8,092 fans, most of whom were girls. The band took to the stage at 8.31pm, and performed 12 songs.
While the concert was going on, George Harrison’s microphone wasn’t working during the opening song, and he was given a faulty replacement. It didn’t dampen the audience’s appreciation, however; they responded with typical screams of Beatlemania, causing one of the 362 police officers present to block his ears with bullets. Many of the fans pelted The Beatles with jelly beans, after a New York newspaper had reported The Beatles discussing their liking for them.
The Falkland Palace “real tennis” court in Scotland, the oldest tennis court in the world. Built for James V of Scotland, it has been used since the 1540s. Real tennis is a predecessor of the modern sport of tennis, but involved banking shots off of walls and other features around the court. There are a few dozen real tennis courts still active today.
So the day before Christmas Eve i decided to go out and buy an SKS, i looked everywhere but couldn’t find any that were in good shape or any that were decently priced (i cant believe some people have the nerve to sell some of these for upwards of $800). I finally called someone at Eagle Arms that had two that had just arrived, went down and checked them out. They were covered entirely in about 5mm of cosmoline but seemed to be in great shape. He had no clue what they were but told me they were labeled at “Chinese Type 56 SKS”, i figured i’d take the gamble on what the internals looked like and if there was any rust. Finally its entirely cleaned up and in working order and its actually mislabeled. It is labeled as a I.O. Inc. M.56 Chinese. But after further inspection its a 1956 Russian Tula Arsenal Unmarked “Letter Model”! A much more valuable SKS rifle. It was missing the sling and the buttstock cleaning kit, so i ordered these and a 20 pack of stripper clips off Amazon today.
WWE is deeply saddened that Virgil Runnels, aka “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes — WWE Hall of Famer, three-time NWA Champion and one of the most captivating and charismatic figures in sports entertainment history — passed away today at the age of 69.
Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit. Moreover, Runnels was a dedicated father to WWE Superstars Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and Stardust (Cody Runnels), a caring husband and a creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE long after his in-ring career had ended.
WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.
Late Friday night, the world was hit with the news that Muhammad Ali had passed away at age 74. “The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said in a statement. Ali will be remembered as the greatest boxer who ever lived, as well as one of the most captivating and outspoken superstars in sports history. Today, tributes to The Greatest flooded the Internet from around the world.
this day in 1941, the famous New York Yankees baseball player Lou
Gehrig died aged 37. Nicknamed ‘The Iron Horse’, Gehrig’s 23
Grand Slams remained the most on record until it was broken by fellow
Yankees player Alex Rodriguez in 2013. The remarkable career of this
exceptionally talented baseball player ended in 1939 when, after his
performance had been deteriorating, Gehrig was diagnosed with a terminal
neurodegenerative disease which severely limits physical mobility
(often to the point of paralysis) while not affecting the brain. The
disease is known by different names; in the UK it is called
motor neurone disease (MND), and in the US it is amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS). The diagnosis led Gehrig to retire aged 36, and on a
July 4th 1939 ‘Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day’ at Yankee Stadium, he gave
an emotional farewell speech that has become known as ‘baseball’s
Gettysburg Address’. Lou Gehrig died two years later, just before his 38th
birthday. His legacy continues as one of the greatest players of all
time, and in the fact that many Americans now refer to ALS/MND as 'Lou
Gehrig’s Disease’. Other notable people to have this disease include
Stephen Hawking, whose is an unusual case as he has lived with it for
over 50 years.
“Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth…I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for” - Lou Gehrig in his 1939 farewell speech
On this day in 1904, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association
(FIFA) was founded in Paris. The English Football Association was founded in 1863, which inspired calls for an international federation of the sport. The first official international football match took place in Brussels between Belgium and France in May 1904, and there plans were set for a founding assembly; the British association was initially unwilling to participate. The meeting which established FIFA was
attended by representatives from football clubs from seven European
countries. After the association’s establishment, the terms of the organisation were decided, which included disallowing players from playing simultaneously for different national associations, and an annual free for each participating association. FIFA grew rapidly, with more countries joining every year, and in the 1910s the organisation expanded beyond Europe by including South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and the United States. After football was included in the Olympics for the first time, FIFA began the push for a world championship. In 1930, the first FIFA World Cup was hosted in Uruguay, which won Olympic gold in 1924 and 1928. The association expanded from there, and now includes 209 member associations and earns billions of dollars annually. FIFA is one of the most powerful international sports bodies in the world, and has become increasingly controversial due to corruption allegations.
On this day in 1896 1,500 years after the original games were banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I, the first modern Olympics celebrated its opening ceremony in Athens, the birthplace of the Games. The Games lasted until 15th April and had the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date. After the Greek games many wanted the event to stay in Athens but the 1900 Games were scheduled for Paris and the Olympics continued to go to different cities around the world, not returning to its home until 2004. The Opening Ceremony on April 6th was held at the Panathinaiko Stadium, with thousands of spectators including foreign dignitaries.
“I declare the opening of the first international Olympic Games in Athens. Long live the Nation. Long live the Greek people.” - Crown Prince Constantine opening the Games
Althea Gibson, tennis player and the first African American to compete in the U.S. Nationals, was born on this day, August 25, 1927. Gibson showed an appreciation for sports at a young age, playing basketball and paddle tennis. After joining the American Tennis Association, Gibson began her networking and career as a tennis player. At the age of 29, Gibson became the first black person to win the French championships.She was also the first African American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals in 1957 and then won again in 1958. Gibson faced a lot of racism at first, some of which included not being allowed to compete despite her skill level and being denied rooms at hotels but eventually, she was allowed to take the world by storm. Gibson won 11 Grand Slam events which placed her in the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.