Throughout the history of sports, we’ve always seen certain sects of sportsmen (& women) who always seem to dig deeper than their peers, and try to carve a niche for themselves. These men and women, who go the extra mile, create history in their own right. They do something that’s never been done before, hence their names are etched into the annals of sports forever. They become iconic, something that transcends life, making them ‘larger than life’ in their own right, irrespective of any physical infirmities.
These records are usually achieved after great work, and perseverance, with a never-say-die attitude. Records are meant to be broken, but some records (unique ones too) are records that will probably be too much to ever break. They become immortal.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my personal list of the the most insane sporting of records of all time.
In no particular order:
1) The incomparable Sir Donald Bradman
‘The Don’ as he is more fondly known, was a distinguished, peerless, and exemplary batsman and the greatest cricketer of all time. Followed by a legion of idolizing fans all over the world, Bradman struck fear into the hearts of bowlers everywhere, toying with them and blasting them all over the field, reducing them to glorified spectators witnessing poetry in motion. Bradman was the game’s first true immortal, and one of the greatest Australians to have ever lived, if not the greatest.
Probably the most iconic sporting statistic of all time, Bradman’s Test average of 99.94 is the greatest statistic in cricket history. No other batsman has even come close, with Graeme Pollock a distant second with a measly 60. 97. Excellent record, but paltry by the standards of the Don.
His famous last innings against England (fittingly) required him to score just four runs to finish his career with an average of 100, but was bowled out by spinner Eric Hollies for a duck. Legend says that Hollies was so disappointed with it, that he personally apologized to Bradman for destroying his moment.
An Ode to the Don.
2) 75 and 77-year old Body-builders!
Putting people one-third her age to shame, 75-year old American grandmother Ernestine Shepherd from Baltimore is one of the world’s oldest active body-builders! Yep, that’s right. She’s toned and can kick your butt, all the while singing nursery rhymes to her grand-kids She started lifting weights at the age of 56, because she felt a little ‘pudgy’.
Shepherd was inspired to start working out because she felt she had a terrible bikini body, and had terrible health habits in her earlier years. She dedicates her career to her sister, who died of brain aneurysm many years back.
Perhaps drawing inspiration from Shepherd, Edith Wilma Connor has now replaced her as the world’s oldest female body-builder. Connor, a 77-year old American, started only in her 60s, and has called body-building her ‘salvation’.
Living breathing proof that getting your lazy behind off the couch can do wonders for you, no matter how old you may be.
If this isn’t going to make you feel ashamed about your fitness, nothing ever will!
3) Usain Bolt’s biggest rival!
It is widely accepted that Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive today. Scorching through every 100m and 200m record ever set (including his own), Bolt seemingly possesses no equal, repeatedly putting the likes of Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay to shame.
Not quite accurate…
I present to you: Japan’s Kenichi Ito!
The self-professed ‘Monkey Man’, in 2008, Kenichi Ito ran the 100m race in 18.58 seconds on all fours! Yes that’s right, all fours. Ito has spent years perfecting this unique style of running, and would certainly embarrass the fastest man on two legs, Usain Bolt, in this type of situation!
Ito set the record in 2008, and it was the culmination of a long unique journey, one that is now a part of the Guinness Book of World Records.
4) 10 hours of blood, sweat and toil
Perhaps the most famous and recognizable record on this list, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut engaged in an all-out war in the 1stround of Wimbledon 2010, the match ending with Isner besting the French qualifier 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 – a total of 183 games, after 11 hours, 5 minutes, spread over three hellacious and phenomenal days.
The legendary John McEnroe said, “This is the greatest advertisement for our sport. It makes me proud to be a part of it. We often don’t get the respect we deserve in tennis for the athletic demands it places on players, but this should push that respect way up.”
Probably the greatest tennis match ever played, Isner and Mahut showcased everything positive about the game, enhancing the legend, aura and mystique of Wimbledon in the process, establishing it, without a shadow of a doubt, as the most prestigious event in tennis history. Isner’s and Mahut’s careers have estimated to have been shortened by at least 6-18 months due to the intensive, grueling encounter, but they would feel it was worth it.
Every set, every game, every point, every second, and every ounce of sweat.
5) AS Adema 149-0 Stade Olympique de L’Emyrne (SOE)
Yes, you read that right! 149-0!
In 2002, arch-rivals SOE and AS Adema were competing for the THB Champions League, the premier football championship in Madagascar. SOE faced AS Adema on 31st October 13, 2002, having already been knocked out of the play-offs. Prior to the match SOE had complained of several refereeing decisions having gone against them throughout the tournament, and felt that a conspiracy was hatched against them, in order to ensure that they wouldn’t be crowned champions.
To say that they went a little over-the-top in their protest would be a monumental understatement, as SOE scored a whopping 149 own-goals during the match to showcase their contempt for the officiating! Legend says that SOE just kept banging the ball into the net after every kick-off, leaving the opposition bemused and drawing the ire of the spectators. Needless to say, punishment was dished out, and their coach was suspended for 3 years, and four of their players were suspended until the end of the season.
Jaw-dropping I know, as the next score line that even comes close is Arbroath 36-0 defeat of Bon Accord way back in 1885.
This was not a case of creating legends as I mentioned in my introduction, but the most baffling protest in football history.
The few mind-boggling records that came close are:
1) Baseball’s ‘Isner-Mahut’ moment
Baseball is a game that is extremely popular in the USA, while many Indians cannot understand head or tail of it, including the author. What I did understand while scouring through Wikipedia is that, baseball has NO time limit. Just likes tennis, it can go on for as long as it needs to, in order to determine a victor. Games usually last an average of three hours.
“No, none of the players fell asleep,” said Bruce Hurst, the Pawtucket and Boston Red Sox legend. “We were just trying to stay warm. It was the coldest I’ve ever been in uniform.”
The game started on 8:25 PM, April 18th, with 1,740 fans in attendance, and by 4:09 AM on the morning of April 19th, play was stopped with the score at 2-2 and 19 fans in attendance. Players were exhausted, fans were exasperated, but nevertheless the players soldiered on, until the astounded league president Harold Cooper ordered play to be stopped.
The game was resumed on June 23rd, the next time the Red Wings came to town. It ended after just 18 minutes, with Pawtucket winning 3-2.
A herculean effort no doubt, but in my opinion, it pales compared to other outrageous records.
2) The immortalization of Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest Basketball players of all time. No arguments. His rivalry with Bill Russell was the stuff of legends, and is widely considered to be THE NBA rivalry of all-time.
Chamberlain permanently wrote himself into the history books on March 2nd 1962 when he scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks, with the Warriors winning 169-147 due to Chamberlain’s otherworldly heroics. Only Kobe Bryant has even come with a whisker of breaking the record, scoring 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. The record of the ‘Goliath’ (Wilt was 7ft 1 inch tall) may be able to stand the test of time, and rest assured, his name will forever be etched at the top.
Chamberlain’s heroics were spectacular, but came at a time when taller players had unfair advantages simply because of their height, and he ran rampant with his dunking. His style of play encouraged several new rules to come in the NBA, therefore giving more security to the shorter players.
3) A new style of Archery!
Archery is a sport that calls for precision control, excellent handling, and most of all dead-set aim. Archery has existed since times immemorial, mainly used for hunting and warfare in the ancient world, and as a recreational and Olympic sport in the modern scenario.
Archers have always been renowned for their excellent hand-to-eye coordination, but Argentinian Claudia Gomez has gone against the traditional norms of archery.
Gomez holds the world record for the farthest arrow shot using her feet, 18 ft 0.53 inches. Insane, I know; she possesses excellent leg-to-eye coordination and one can only imagine the baffled looks on the face of Olympic champions if asked to perform such an outrageous task.