On This Week: March 4-10 - Seles overtakes Graf

Eurosport - Tue, 02 Mar 13:52:00 2010

We look at memorable sporting moments that happened on this week in history including a changing of the guard in women's tennis.

Monica Seles and Steffi Graf - 0

1993 - Ben Johnson banned for life - March 5

Ben Johnson's comeback from his initial drugs ban never went to plan. Four years after being shamefully kicked out of the Seoul Olympics after 'winning' the 100m, he failed to even make the 100m final in Barcelona. He then faced up to the utter ignominy of a life ban on this week back in 1993 after failing yet another drugs test.

Johnson has subsequently confessed to all his crimes but also said that he was made a scapegoat in a sport that was drug ridden.

After his ban, Johnson went on to become a coach and even acted as a personal trainer to the son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi a few years ago. Meanwhile, the three medallists from the infamous 100m in Seoul - Carl Lewis, Linford Christie and Dennis Mitchell - all went on to test positive for banned substances during their careers.

1991 - Seles overtakes record-breaking Graf - March 11

Steffi Graf still holds the record for the longest consecutive spell at world number one by a female tennis player - 186 weeks - with the record coming to an end on this week back in 1991, when Monica Seles took over top spot.

Graf would get the record back momentarily, but it was Seles who would dominate - on all surfaces but grass - for the next two years as she won the Australian, French and US Opens in successive years. In 1993 Seles won the Australian Open yet again before her infamous stabbing in Hamburg. Graf went on to the win the remaining Grand Slams that year and become the tour's dominant player again, but it was all bittersweet in the absence Seles.

1964, 1967, 1971 - An Interesting week for Muhammad Ali - March 6-8

When we research what happened on this week in history nobody seems to pop up as many times as the ultimate headline grabber Muhammad Ali. He was involved in no fewer than three interesting moments during this week in history.

On March 6, 1964 he had his name changed from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali by the leader of Black Muslims in America, Elijah Muhammad - the same day that he was given a tour of the United Nations building by Malcolm X.

Again on March 6, this time in 1967, he was ordered by selective service to be inducted in the army.

Finally, on March 8, 1971 he fought Joe Frazier for the first time in Madison Square Garden in what was dubbed 'Fight of the Century'. Such was the clamour for tickets that Frank Sinatra had to take photos for Life magazine after failing to acquire a ringside seat.

Frazier won the fight in a unanimous 15-round decision.

1985 - Hector Mercedes beaten by some guy called Mike Tyson - March 6

Hector Mercedes? Does the name mean anything to you? It shouldn't really. He was a heavyweight boxer who finished his career with a record of five fights and five defeats.

However, he will forever have a place in boxing history as being the first man to take a professional beating from Mike Tyson.

The fight is floating around the internet and it might be worth a download. If you take a minute out of your day to watch it you'll then have a whole second to spare once the fight is over.

1949 - Quick-fire England beat South Africa - March 9

With time ticking away on the fourth and final day of the fifth and final Test between South Africa and England in Port Elizabeth, the hosts made one last effort to win the match. At 187-3 and evening approaching, they decided to declare and put pressure on England who, given time constraints, had an unlikely total of 172 to make.

However, the English got motoring and the great Len Hutton smacked 32 runs in 27 minutes.

Solid and, more importantly, quick innings from Cyril Washbrook and Denis Compton then put England in a position to win. They reached their total with the loss of seven wickets in just 94 minutes (23.7 overs) to wrap up a memorable victory and clinch the series 2-0.

1902 - The birth of Real Madrid - March 6

In a previous 'On This Week' we covered the creation of Barcelona, so it's only fair that we also mention that Real Madrid were founded on this week back in 1902.

Sociedad Madrid FC, as they were originally called, came out of the ashes of Club Espanol de Madrid, who in turn were once part of a club called Football Sky.

Like so many football clubs around the world there is an English connection, as Sky were founded by the professors and students (who had Oxbridge links) of the Institucion Libre de Ensenanza back in 1895.

Madrid made a quick impact on the Spanish football scene, winning the first of four consecutive Copa del Rey titles in 1905 - the only nationwide competition at the time.

However, it was not until 1920 that they started to call themselves Real Madrid, after the King granted the title of Real (Royal) to the club. Success has never been far away from Real, and their nine European Cups is a record.

In 2000, FIFA awarded the Spanish team the title of 'Best Club' of the 20th Century.


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