You cannot switch on the television in the United Kingdom at the moment without seeing some kind of sporting event. This weekend, we not only have the World Cup football and Wimbledon tennis matches but also the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. All steeped in history, records are regularly discussed by the various sporting commentators around the world.
Thirty-nine years ago (in 1975), Arthur Ashe – US tennis player – defeated defending champion Jimmy Connors to become the first black man to win a Wimbledon men’s singles title. The next five years were dominated by the Swede, Bjorn Borg, who won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in 1980. The following year, he was beaten in the final by John McEnroe 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Last weekend was the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Championships with the country’s best athletes gathering at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, battling it out for the prestigious honour of being crowned British champion. The competition was doubly fierce as athletes also fought for places on the GB & NI team for the European Championships in Zurich later this summer.
Although she did not compete in Birmingham, three years ago today Marilyn Okoro wrote her name in athletics history at the Meeting de la Province de Liège, Belgium, when she set the British record (1:24.36) for the unusual distance of 600m.
History is not just about the wars we have fought, where our ancestors lived in 1851 and what they did to earn a living in 1901. Who has a sporting great in their ancestry?