World Sports Hall of Fame 1931: Albert Rosenfeld, Bill Tilden, Kinue Hitomi and Ville Ritola

My choices for the Hall of Fame for 1931 are:

Albert Rosenfeld (Australia – Rugby League) – after touring England as a member of the Australian team in 1908/9 he signed for Huddersfield and set many scoring records, some of which still stand today.  In the 1911/2 season he scored a record 78 tries and two years later set a record of 80 tries in 42 matches for the season which has remained unbeaten.  He played in diferent positions in the backs from Stand-off/Five-eighth to winger.  He played for Huddersfield from 1909 to 1921, winning five Yorkshire Cups.  He contnued playing for other clubs in 1924 and finished with a total of 391 tries and remains one of the most prolific try scorers of all-time.

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Bill Tilden (USA – Tennis) – winner of the US Open title seven times including a run of six consecutive titles from 1920 to 1925. In 1920 he was the first American to win the Wimbledon singles and he retained the title the next year. He didn’t return until 1927 but he won his third title in 1930 at the age of 37. He was virtually unbeatable on hard courts in his pomp and was world number one from 1920 to 1925. He had great success in doubles as well winning five US Open and a Wimbledon title at men’s doubles. At mixed doubles he won four US titles between 1913 and 1923 and a French Open in 1930. He turned professional at the end of 1930 after a dispute with the US tennis authorities and continued to play in the pro ranks for many years.

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Kinue Hitomi (Japan – Athletics) – the first great all-round female athletics competitor.  She set world records at 100m, 200m, 400m and long jump int the late 1920s.  She won the Women’s World Games titles in 1926 at long jump and standing long jump, retaining the long jump title in 1930 when she won three other medals. At the 1926 Games she won silver at discus and bronze in the 100m.  At the 1928 Olympics she won silver at 800m but was denied the chance of adding to that when dying of pneumonia aged only 24 in 1931.  She set Asian records at ten different events.

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Ville Ritola (Finland – Athletics) – another of the great “Flying Finns” who dominated distance running in the 1920s. He won five Olympic gold medals including four in 1924. Two of those were in team races but he also won the steeplechase in his first ever race at the event and the 10000m where he broke the world record he had set only six weeks earlier. He finished second in the 5000m to Paavo Nurmi but reversed the placings four years later, although Nurmi beat in in the 10000m in 1928. Indoors he set several world records at distances from 2 miles to 5000m including the first ever sub-14 minute 3 mile run indoors or out.

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