My choices to enter the World Sports Hall of Fame in 1950 are:
Viktor Barna (Hungary/Great Britain – Table Tennis) – one of the finest players ever. He won a record fifteen world titles including five singles titles. The first came in 1930 and the other four consecutively from 1932 to 1935. In 1931 he lost in the final. He won the men’s doubles title eight times between 1929 and 1939, also taking the mixed doubles twice. He won twenty titles (five singles) at the English Open, at the time one of the biggest events. He was part of seven Swaythling Cup (world team cup) winning teams.
Don Bradman (Australia – Cricket) – almost universally regarded as the greatest batsman in the history of cricket. His test match average of 99.94 is more than thirty runs higher than any other player with a reasonable number of innings. His international career lasted from 1928 to 1948 and he captained Australia from 1936 onwards. He set virtually every batting record, some of which still stand, including the highest individual first-class innings of 452, the most runs in a test series (974 at an average of 139), consecutive centuries (6), most innings over 200 (37) and 300 (6). His highest Test innings of 334 was scored in a remarkable 383 minutes.
Leonidas (Brazil – Football) – one of the first great Brazilian players who is regarded as one of their best strikers ever. He scored twenty two goals in 23 matches for Brazil, including two on his debut in 1932. This led to him being signed by Nacional of Uruguay who then won the league. He played in the 1934 World Cup but it was in the 1938 Cup that he became globally famous. In the first match he scored four goals and added four more in the other three games he played to become the leading scorer in the tournament. However, he was rested in the semi-final and Brazil lost. Known as the “Black Diamond” he had great success in club football with Flamengo and Sao Paulo where he won five league titles in the 1940s.
Birger Ruud (Norway – Ski Jumping) – the only skier in Olympic history to win races in Alpine and Nordic events. His speciality was in ski jumping where he was Olympic Champion in 1932 and 1936 but in the 1936 Games he also entered the Alpine Combined event. He won the downhill race in the event but just missed a medal in the overall event. The outstanding ski jumper of the 1930s, he won world titles in 1931, 1935 and 1937 also winning silver in 1939. In 1948 he was at the Winter Olympics as coach to the Norwegian team but decided to take part as conditions were tricky. He won the silver medal aged 36, the oldest medallist in the sport.