World Sports Hall of Fame 1937: Frank Burge, Johan Grottumsbraten, Sonja Henie and Fred Perry

My choices for the World Sports Hall of Fame for 1937 are:


Frank Burge (Australia – Rugby League) – one of the greatest forwards in the history of rugby league, who was noted for his scoring ability. On the Australia tour of Britain in 1920/1 he scored 33 tries in 23 matches. This is the record for any forward on a tour. He could play anywhere in the forwards and could also kick goals. His career started at the age of 14 in rugby union where he is the youngest player at grade level in history. He switched to League and made his club debut for Glebe aged 16. He first played for New South Wales at 18 and for his country two years later. He played thirteen times for Australia from 1914 to 1922 scoring seven tries. In his club career from 1911 to 1927 he scored 146 tries in 167 games, a total not beaten by a forward for nearly eighty years. and was top scorer in the league three times, an amazing feat for a forward. In 1920 he scored eight tries in one match, a record.

Johan Grøttumsbraaten (Norway – Nordic Skiing) – the dominant figure in Nordic skiing and Nordic combined in the 1920s and early 1930s. He won three medals at the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924 and in 1928 he won golds in cross-country and Nordic combined to become the most successful athlete at the Games. He retained the combined title in 1932. He won three world championship titles, including a double in 1931. He is one of only four men to win the Holmenkollen Nordic Combined event five times, which he did begtween 1923 and 1931.

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Sonja Henie (Norway – Figure Skating) – the most successful figure skater in the history of the sport. She was unbeaten from 1927 to 1936, winning a record ten consecutive world titles in those years, the European title each year from 1931 to 1936 and the Olympic golds of 1928,1932 and 1936.  Those three Olympic titles also remain a record total unmatched by any female solo figure skater.  She had made her Olympic debut 11 in 1924 and was second in the 1926 world championships, her last defeat.  She revolutionised the sport with her flair and style to become the most popular skater the world has seen.  Following her retirement from the sport she went into films.  She was one of the greatest movie stars of the 1930s.

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Fred Perry (Great Britain – Tennis) – arguably the greatest British tennis player ever. He won the Wimbledon men’s singles title each year from 1934 to 1936, the US Open three times (in 1933,1934 and 1936) the French Open in 1935 and the Australian Open in 1934.  These eight titles made him the first man to win all of the major singles.  He also won two men’s doubles and four mixed doubles titles in Grand Slams.  In Davis Cup he won nine out of ten singles matches and 45 out of 52 matches overall.  This helped Britian win the Cup every year from 1933 to 1936. He continued to play tennis for some years after turning professional at the end of the 1936 season.

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