World Sports Hall of Fame 1934 – Red Grange, Jack Hobbs, Martha Norelius and Gar Wood

My choices for the Hall of Fame for 1934 are:

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Red Grange (USA – American Football) – one of the greatest running backs in the early days of American Football. He helped to take the game to new heights of popularity. He made his name in College Football with the University of Illinois where he was the outstanding running back in the college game.  He became a star following one match where he scored four touchdowns in the first twelve minutes, all with long runs.  He added a fifth and also threw for one in a total of 402 running yards.  He turned pro with the Chicago Bears in 1925 and such was his fame that from that point the NFL, where he played until 1934, started to become hugely popular.  He won two NFL championships with the Bears.

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Jack Hobbs (Great Britain – Cricket) – one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the game. He set records for batting in first class cricket that have never been approached and will probably never be broken. He scored a record 61,237 runs and 197 centuries, making over 1000 runs in 24 English seasons and over 2000 runs in 17 seasons. In 1925 he scored 3024 runs with a record 16 centuries in the season. 98 of his centuries came after he was forty. He played for England from 1907 to 1930 and still holds the record as the oldest Test centurion with 142 in 1929. He was the first batsman to reach 4000 and 5000 Test runs and had an average of nearly 57 per innings in Tests.  In a poll he was voted one of the five greatest cricketers of the 20th century.

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Martha Norelius (USA – Swimming) – the first woman to retain an Olympic swimming title which she did by winning the 400m freestyle in 1924 and 1928, where she broke the world record and won the gold by fifteen seconds.  In those 1928 Games she also won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay.  Between 1926 and 1928 she set seventeen world bests or records at distances ranging from 220 yards to 1500m freestyle.  She was seen to be the first woman to swim in a style similar to men.  In 1929 she was suspended for swimming at an exhibition meeting with professionals and so she turned pro herself, winning $10000 in a 10 mile race.

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Gar Wood (USA – Powerboating) – the first great figure in the sport of powerboat racing.  He won the international Harmsworth Trophy event eight times consecutively between 1920 and 1933.  He took the APBA Gold Cup five times in a row from 1917 to 1921, a record that stood until 1987.  In his series of boats all named “Miss America” he also set world water speed records.  He was the first man to exceed 100 mph and in his final record was the first over 200 km/hour.  He became a millionaire by designing and building boats.

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