The History of Sport 1915 – 1918: Sport shuts down in many countries during World War I but Huddersfield’s outstanding rugby team sweeps all before them. Ted “Kid” Lewis and Jack Britton’s epic series of boxing title fights. The NHL is founded.

For most years of the Twentieth Century I will post about the events of a single year. However, during the two World Wars most sports had few competitions and so I have combined the main war years into one post.

This one deals with the notable sporting events of the First World War years.

Because of World War I, there is no first-class cricket in South Africa in the 1914–15 season, nor in England in 1915. Australia goes ahead with the 1914–15 Sheffield Shield competition but then suspends first-class cricket until 1919

the World Welterweight Championship changes hands three times in less than three months between June and August. Finally, it comes to Ted “Kid” Lewis, who defeats Jack Britton twice to win and then retain the title, which will interchange between these two over the next four years.

Packey McFarland has his 97th unbeaten fight since 1905 (five were draws).

Jess Willard, the latest “Great White Hope”, defeats Jack Johnson with a 26th-round knockout to win the world Heavyweight title.

Pommern wins the English colts Triple Crown in 1915 to be followed by Gay Crusader in 1917 and by Gainsborough in 1918.

Gordon Lowe of Britain wins the Australian Open singles tennis title.

In English rugby league over 1914-15 Huddersfield becomes the second team to win all four cups in a season. Huddersfield at this time is known as the “Team of all the Talents”.  In the Challenge Cup final they defeat St.Helens 37-3, a record score margin for the final.  The league title is their fourth in a row.
The continuance of World War I after the 1914–15 season causes the suspension of top-class rugby league until 1919.

1916

The inaugural USPGA Championship is held as a matchplay tournament.  England’s Jim Barnes wins.

G Covey regains the world Real Tennis title.

Britain ‘s Lucy Morton sets World Records at swimming at breaststroke and backstroke.

The first snooker championships are held.

Georgia Tech Engineers defeats the Cumberland College Bulldogs by a score of 222–0, the most one-sided game in college American football history.

Jimmy Wilde wins the world flyweight title and holds it for two years.

1917

The NHL is inaugurated and its first season starts.

The first open women’s athletics meeting is held.  It is organised by Femina Sport at the Stade de la Porte Brancion, Paris.

The Federation Sportive Feminine de France is founded (the world’s first women’s national athletics governing body)

1918

Orienteering is invented as a sport by Major Ernst Killander in Sweden.  It is based on military exercises.

Vincent Richards wins the US Open tennis doubles titles aged 15 years and 139 days.

The first women’s national athletics championships are held in Vienna, Austria.

The first women’s athletics in Britain occurs when a WRAF relay team compete in the RAF sports at Stamford Bridge.

The first British judo club, the Westminster Budokwai, is founded by Gunji Zoizumu.

Ted “Kid” Lewis draws with Jack Britton over twenty rounds in another of their world welterweight title fights.  They fought twenty times against each other in their boxing careers.

604 people are killed when stands at the Hong Kong Jockey Club racecourse collapse and catch fire.  This is the worst disaster at a sporting event of modern times.

Joe Malone scores 44 goals in 20 games in the NHL ice-hockey season. This goals average of 2.2 per game remains the highest ever in one season.

 

 

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World Sports Hall of Fame 1939: Ivar Ballangrud, Jose Capablanca, Rudolf Caracciola and Jimmy McClarnin

My choices for the World Sports Hall of Fame for 1939 are:

Ivar Ballangrud (Norway – Speed Skating) – winner of four Olympic gold medals and a total of seven medals in total at the Games between 1928 and 1936. He took gold at 5000m in 1928 but peaked in 1936 when winning three golds at distances ranging from the sprint of 500m to the long distances of 5000m and 10000m. He competed at the world championships between 1924 and 1939 and took the overall title four times between 1926 and 1938. He won the world 5000m title seven times and the 1500m and 10000m four times each. He set four world records at 5000m and others at 3000m and 10000m.

Jose Capablanca (Cuba – Chess) – one of the greatest chess players of all-time. He was world champion from 1921 to 1927. In a thirty year career as an adult from 1909 to 1939 he only lost 34 games, the fewest by any world chess champion. After losing the world title in 1927 he wasn’t allowed a rematch to regain the title. He was hugely influential on the development of the game, especially in the tactics of openings.

Rudolf Caracciola (Germany – Motor Racing) – one of the great names in the early years of Grand Prix motor racing.  He won the German Grand Prix a record six times between 1928 and 1939 with five of those wins at the Nurburgring circuit.   He won the European drivers championship, the precursor to the World Championship, three times, in 1935,1937 and 1938. He also set seventeen world speed records and won twenty three other top international races.

Jimmy McClarnin  (Canada – Boxing) – a great boxer who moved up through the weights from flyweight to welterweight over a long career with fifty-four winning fights out of sixty-eight.  He fought for the world lightweight title in 1928 unsuccessfully but won the world welterweight crown in 1933.  He lost that title a year later to Barney Ross but regained it in a rematch before losing the third fight between the two.  By some experts he is regarded as one of the finest welterweights ever.

 

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The Sports History Chronicle World Sportsman of the Year 2017 is Brent Lakatos – @BrentLak

Some of the most notable performers in 2017 who I considered to be the Sportsman of the Year.

Adam Peaty won two world titles and set two world records at the world swimming championships where Caeleb Dressel the American swimmer won seven golds, three in individual events.

In Para-athletics Britain’s Aled Jones won two golds at the world championships and set an amazing world record in the shot put, adding a metre to the old mark.  Two male athletes won four golds at those championships Walid Ktila of Tunisia and Brent Lakatos of Canada.

 

Naohisa Takato of Japan had an undefeated year in Judo including the world championships and three other top level events.  Teddy Riner won his tenth world judo title when winning the heavyweight gold at the world champs.

Iran’s Sohrab Moradi who set world records at clean and jerk and overall in winning gold at the world weightlifting championships is also considered.

I have decided to choose a top four of:

Nino Schurter won all nine races he competed in at mountain biking cross-country. This included all six world cup races and the world championships. I believe that the Swiss rider is the first man to achieve this unbeaten record in a year at the top level.

Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan won three of the four world cup shooting competitions in the 10m air pistol. He set world records at two of those events.

Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia won the world and European weightlifting titles in snatch, clean and jerk, and overall. In both competitions he set world records at snatch and at the worlds set a new total record by 4kg, a large margin.

All three had exceptional years but are runners-up.

My choice as the Sportsman of the Year for 2017 is Brent Lakatos of Canada who had a fantastic season in Para athletics.  Lakatos not only won four gold medals at the world Para Athletics championships but also set world records at 100m, 200m, 800m and 1500m earlier in the year.   This included five records in ten days in Switzerland  in one golden spell of competition.  These records swing it for me and make him my Sportsman of the Year.

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Previous Winners

2016 Martin Fourcade (France – Biathlon) Runners-Up: Ihar Boki (Belarus -Para Swimming), Michael Jung, (Germany – Three Day Event), Wayde Van Niekerk (South Africa -Athletics), Peter Prevc (Slovenia – Ski-Jumping)
2015 Novak Djokovic (Serbia – Tennis): Runners-up Ma Long (China – Table Tennis) , Ihar Boki (Belarus – Para Swimming)
2014 Renaud Lavillenie (France – Athletics): Runners-up Sebastian Brendel (Germany – Canoeing), Giles Scott (England – Sailing)
2013 – Teddy Riner (France-Judo) won a 6th world title and unbeaten since 2010:Runners-Up: Peyton Manning (USA – American Football), Sun Yang (China – Swimming)
2012 – Lionel Messi (Argentina -Football) – 91 goals in the year: Runners up: David Rudisha (Kenya – Athletics), Ilya Ilyin (Kazakhstan – Weightlifting) , Sun Yang (China – Swimming), Sergei Martynov (Belarus – Shooting)

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Sports History Chronicle World Team of the Year 2017 is Zenit Kazan Volleyball Club

My shortlist for the World Team of the Year includes these notable performances.

Rachel Homan skipped her Canadian team to victory in the world curling championships and became the first team to win the title without losing a match in the tournament.  They also won the World Cup.

Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, losing just one match out of seventeen in the play-offs and fifteen out of 82 in the regular season.

Aidan O’Brien and his stable at Ballydoyle in Ireland set a new world record for the most winners in one season in Group One flat races.

Twin sisters Dina and Arina Averina were the winners of each of the five individual gold medals at the world rhythmic gymnastics championships.  Their Russian team won seven out of the eight golds on offer.

The USA women’s 4×100 m medley relay swimming team took half a second off the world record at the world championships.

My top three teams are:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – the Canadian couple won their third world ice dance championships title, set a world record score and were unbeaten during the 2016-17 season.

The Netherlands women’s hockey team came back from the disappointment of defeat in the Olympic final to have a great 2017.  The took gold at the European Championship winning every game.  In the World League semi-finals they won all seven matches, with one going to a shoot-out, conceding only one goal and at the Final won all six of their games scoring eighteen goals and not conceding one.

Zenit Kazan, the Russian volleyball team, had an almost perfect season in 2016-17.  In the Russian Super League they won all 30 matches they played.  In the European Champions League they won twelve matches out of twelve, dropping just two sets, to win their third successive title.  They then went on to win the World Club Championship by winning five matches without losing a set.  The only match they lost was in the group stage of the Russian Cup but they still went on to win the trophy.  This near perfect season makes them my team of the year.

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Zenit Kazan

 

Previous Winners

2016 The USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Runners-Up: China table tennis team, Mercedes F1 team, Olympique Lyonnais Women’s Football Team
2015 Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (New Zealand – 49er Sailing), Runners-up: Mercedes (Formula One), Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Russia – Synchronised Swimming)
2014 Italy’s Women Foil Fencing Team: Runners Up Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (NZ – Rowing), Jennifer Jones’s Canadian Curling Team
2013 Vakıfbank İstanbul Women’s Volleyball Team (Turkey)
Runners-Up: Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (Australia – Sailing), Bayern Munich (Germany- Football)
2012 Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (New Zealand – Rowing) – unbeaten for four years and set world best by six seconds
Runners-Up: USA Women’s 4x100m relay team (athletics), THW Kiel (Germany -Handball)

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The Sports History Chronicle World Sportswoman of the Year 2017 is Evgenia Medvedeva

The outstanding sportswomen of 2017 who I considered for my choice of world sportswoman of the year:

Svetlana Kolesnichenko the Russian who won four golds in synchronized swimming at the world championships.

Laura Dahlmeier the German who won five gold medals at the world biathlon championships, including three of the four individual events.

Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson won three golds at the world championships orienteering and two more at ski orienteering.

Marit Bjørgen, the Norwegian all-time great won four more golds at the cross-country skiing world championships.

America’s Tatyana McFadden won another four golds at the world para athletics championships.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström won three golds at the World swimming championships and set two world records.  She came close to making my top four but my shortlist for 2017 is:

Cecilia Brækhus, Norway’s world professional welterweight boxing champion, the first woman in any weight class to hold the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titles simultaneously. She defended those titles three times to extend her professional record to 32 wins from 32 fights.  It is hard for a boxer who only has a few fights a year to do enough in any one year to win my award so I am taking career achievement into account.  It is time to recognise Cecilia Brækhus who has dominated her weight division for years.

Kim Rhode of the USA was already a great name in shooting.  She is the first woman to medal in six consecutive Olympics at any sport, but in 2017 won a gold medal in the team skeet at the world championships and in the World Cup won three out of four events setting a world record in the first one which she equalled in the fourth round of the Cup.

In taekwondo Britain’s Bianca Walkden had an amazing year. She won her second world title and won each of the four Grand Prix titles, the most important events of the year outside the championships. This was the first time anyone had ever done this in the Grand Prix since it started in 2013.

Bianca came very close to winning but my choice as World Sportswoman of the Year for 2017 is Evgenia Medvedeva.  In 2017 this Russian figure skater set new standards in her sport.  She took part in seven competitions and won them all including the European and World Championships.  This is good in itself but her scores in doing so were fantastic.  She set eight world record marks over the three separate scores of short programme, free dance and total score.  She first broke the total score record which had stood since 2010 at the Europeans and then again at the Worlds with the first score over 230.  At the world team trophy she went on to add another ten points to that mark setting records for the other two parts of the event as well.  This brilliance makes her my choice.

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Evgenia Medvedeva

 

Previous Winners

2016 Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming) Runners-Up: Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland – Athletics), Rachel Atherton (Great Britain – Mountain Bike), Simone Biles (USA – Gymnastics), Katinka Hosszu (Hungary – Swimming)
2015 Gwen Jorgensen (USA – Triathlon), Runners Up: Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming), Anita Włodarczyk (Poland – Athletics)
2014 Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming): Runners up Tatiana Kashirina (Russia – Weightlifting), Sandra Perkovic (Croatia – Athletics)
2013 Kaori Icho (Japan – Wrestling) – won her 8th world title and 154th consecutive fight, an all-time record:Runners-Up: Tatyana McFadden (USA – Para athletics), Tora Berger (Norway – Biathlon)
2012 Marianne Vos (Netherlands – Cycling) Olympic and world road race champion, Giro winner and world cyclo-cross champion: Runners-up: Kaori Icho (Japan – Wrestling), Missy Franklin (USA – Swimming), Katie Taylor (Ireland – Boxing), Hannah Kearney (USA – Freestyle Skiing)

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Sports History Chronicle British Sportsman of the Year 2017: Aled Davies @AledDavies2012

As with my other awards this year some of the big names were having a low-key 2017 after peaking for the Olympics in 2016.  Perhaps there aren’t as many names here to consider as sometimes.

Some of the sportsmen I considered were:

Chris Froome who won the Tour de France for the fourth time and never really looked like losing.  He then went on to win the Vuelta a Espana to become the first man to win those two races in the same year since the 1970s.

Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One title for the fourth time.  His Mercedes team was again the dominant force but this year he was given a battle by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.  As always much of the credit has to go to the team around him but Hamilton is one of the best if not the best in the sport.

Jonathan Rea won the world superbike title for the third time by a convincing margin.  A fine achievement by the Ulsterman to win this title but I always wonder with superbikes that the pinnacle of the sport is in Moto GP.

Russell Cheetham won the World Gliding Open Class Championship.

In gymnastics Max Whitlock retained his world title at Pommel Horse.

Harry Kane scored more goals in 2017 than any player in one of the top leagues.  He also broke the record for most goals in a year in the Premier League.  A superb year for the Spurs player but his team didn’t win anything in 2017 which I think counts against him.

Mo Farah bowed out of track running with yet another gold in the world championships at 10000m.  This time he was unable to double up when he won the silver in the 5000m.

Frederick Winter won the world title for slalom in water-skiing

Aled Davies set another world record in the shot put at the Para Athletics world championships and won golds in the shot and discus.  There were world records in Para athletics in 2017 by Richard Whitehead and  Ben Rowlings,

Mark Selby won his third world snooker title and is a clear number one in the rankings although he failed to win the other major titles.

Liam Heath won the world K1 200m sprint canoeing title. At World Cups Heath won gold and silver. At the European Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, he successfully defended his K1 200m title in a World best time of 33.38 seconds and set a world best time.

James Woods – won the gold medal at the Winter X Games in the big air freestyle skiing event and at the world championships won bronze in slopestyle.

British boxers had another successful year with Ryan Burnett, Lee Selby, Anthony Joshua, Kal Yafai. Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves holding titles.  There are so many titles around with so many organisations awarding them that it is hard to evaluate their worth. Worthy of note is that Burnett won two versions of the Bantamweight title in separate fights.

Tom Daley won his second individual world diving title at the 10m highboard.

At the world aquatics championships there were individual golds for Ben Proud in the 50m butterfly and for Adam Peaty who set two world records in the 50m breaststroke on his way to gold and also won the 100m event.

The elephant in the room here is the potential for Chris Froome to lose the Vuelta a Espana title because of a failed drugs test.  It seems very likely that he will at the very least be stripped of that title which still leaves him with the Tour  de France.  If Froome keeps the Vuelta title I would probably make him my Sportsman of the Year as it is such an unusual achievement to do the double.  However, I can’t allow it given the uncertainty.

So my nominations are :

Adam Peaty who has won for the last two years and could easily win it again for 2017 after another brilliant year with two world titles and taking a large chunk off a world record.  He did lose one final in the European Short course championship later in the year but won the 100m gold.

Liam Heath won both major championships he contested in 2017 and set a world best time for the 200m K1 event.  As always with canoeing best times things are very dependent on favourable conditions and as other records were set on the same day they were clearly helpful in Plovdiv.  Nonetheless it was a great performance  He did suffer one world cup defeat.

However, my choice for the British Sportsman of the Year 2017 is Aled Davies.  He has been an outstanding competitor for several years in the throwing events in Para Athletics but this year his winning effort in the shot put at the world championships was extraordinary.  He added well over a metre to his own world record to take the title with a put of 17.52 metres.  He also won the discus at the championships.  For me the shot record is the outstanding performance of the year by a British sportsman.

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Previous winners:

2016 Adam Peaty (Swimming) Runners Up: Jason Kenny, Mo Farah, Max Whitlock, Ollie Hynd, Adam Peaty and Andy Murray
2015 Adam Peaty (Swimming), Runners-up: Giles Scott (Sailing), Aled Davies (Para Athletics)
2014 Giles Scott (Sailing): Runners-up Rory McIlroy (Golf), Adam Peaty (Swimming)
2013 Mo Farah (Athletics) – winner of the 5000m and 10,000m world titles: Runners-Up: Andy Murray (Tennis), Chris Froome (Cycling)
2012 Bradley Wiggins (Cycling) – winner of the Tour de France and Olympic time trial gold: Runners-up: Ben Ainslie (Sailing),Andy Murray (Tennis), Rory McIlroy (Golf), David Weir (Para Athletics), Mo Farah (Athletics)

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Sports History Chronicle British Team of the Year 2017: GB men’s 4x100m relay athletics team (C.J.Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake)

 

The choice of the best British team of the year was a little narrower than in most of the previous years.  Some of the usual suspects that have been successful for the last decade such as rowing and cycling weren’t as prominent having seen athletes retiring or taking a break in a post-Olympic year.  This left the way open for others and here are some of the best.

The England women won the cricket World Cup on home soil with a thrilling comeback when it seemed they were on the verge of defeat to India in the final.  However, they were unable to regain the Ashes later in the year when tying the series in Australia.

Ben Saxton & Katie Dabson won the Nacra 17 sailing world title after a very close final.  Also in sailing in the 49er class Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell won the world and European championships with some other good results elsewhere.

At the world swimming championships the 4x200m freestyle relay team of Stephen Milne, Nicholas Grainger, Duncan Scott and James Guy upset the USA and Australia to win the title.

In shooting the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Team won the European championships  with Jennifer and Seonaid McIntosh also winning individual events.

Kristina Cook, Nicola Wilson, Rosalind Canter and Oliver Townend made up the British team that won the European Three-Day event team gold.

Individual world champion Mallory Franklin teamed up with Kimberley Woods and Eilidh Gibson to win the C1 team title at the canoe slalom world championship.

After years of dominating world rowing Britain only won one gold medal at the world championships.  That came in the Para rowing mixed fours race where Grace Clough, Giedre Rakauskaite, Oliver Stanhope, James Fox and Anna Corderoy (cox) won.

Greg Townley, Elliott Browne and Kristof Willerton combined to win the gymnastics  Tumbling team world title.

At the World Athletics Championships the Great Britain men won the gold medal in the men’s 4x100m relay against strong opposition from USA and Jamaica with Usain Bolt running his final race. Bolt pulled up injured but his team was trailing at the time and the British would have held on anyway.  The team of Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake ran a time of 37.47 to set a European Record and take quarter of a second off the old mark set in 1999.

Saracens Rugby Union team retained the European Cup but unlike last year when they were my team of the year but in 2016-17 they only came third in the English League and lost in the play-off semi-finals.

The England Rugby Union team won the 6 Nations championship but lost to Ireland and didn’t play the All Blacks to test themselves against the best team in the world.

Mention should be made of the England under 17s and under 20s football teams who both won World Cups. However, as they are junior teams I am not considering them as winners of team of the year as opening it up to junior teams adds a whole extra level of research.

My runners-up are the women’s cricket team and the swimmers but my choice as British Team of the Year is the world championship winning athletics relay team.  They won the European Team Championship relay setting a world leading time early in the season and produced a brilliant record-breaking performance to take the world title.

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Previous Winners

2016 Saracens Rugby Union Team Runners-up: the England rugby team, Louis Rolfe, Jon-Allan Butterworth and Jody Cundy (Paralympic cycling Team Sprint).

2015 Great Britain Davis Cup Tennis Team Runners-up: Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (Rowing), the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay swimming team

2014 Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (Rowing): Runners-up England women’s rugby union team, GB women 4×100 relay team (athletics)

2013 Great Britain Women’s Cycling Team Pursuit Squad world champions and world record setters again: Runners-Up: Sprinter Sacre (Horse Racing), GB Men’s Squash Team

2012 Frankel (Horse Racing) – winner of all five races to finish his career unbeaten and achieved the highest rating in history. Runners-Up: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins (Rowing), Women’s team pursuit cycling, England women’s rugby union team, Paul Foster and Alex Marshall (Bowls)

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