What does achieving a Grand Slam mean across different sports?

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
Alex Rodriguez celebrating one of his numerous grand slam hits
Ayush Garg

Every sports fan would have come across the word 'Grand Slam' somewhere or sometime. To achieve a grand slam, a player has to win individual events or win in a unique style and the term is defined differently in different sports.

'Grand Slam' means slamming the door on one's opponent(s). It is defined as the total success or clean sweep. The word was first associated with a card game 'Contract Bridge' where winning a grand slam meant to win all the tricks in a single hand.

Let us take a look at what a sportsperson has to do to win a grand slam in his respective sport.

#1 Baseball

In baseball, a Grand slam means to hit a home run with all the bases loaded. If the home run is hit when the baserunners occupy all the three bases, it is called a grand slam. Four runs are awarded to the team which hit the home run - the most possible on a single hit.

Roger Connor was the first major league player to hit a grand slam for Troy Trojans in 1881. Alex Rodriguez has 25 career grand slams to his name - the highest in the history of Major League Baseball.

#2 Professional Wrestling

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2014 International CES
Shawn Michaels won the first grand slam of professional wrestling.

A wrestler is said to have won the grand slam of Professional Wrestling if he has won four specific championships in his career. The titles include three single and one tag team event. Three individual events should be primary, secondary and tertiary.

Shawn Michaels originally used the word 'Grand Slam' for himself after winning the European Championship. He had also won WWF Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and the Tag Team Championship.

As of now, 17 wrestlers including the likes of Triple H, Kane and Kurt Angle have won the WWE Grand Slam. Roman Reigns is the latest addition to the list having won the coveted title on 20 November 2017.

#3 Table Tennis

Table Tennis - Olympics: Day 6
Zhang Jike completed his grand slam by winning the gold in men's singles in 2012 Olympics

To achieve an accomplishment of the grand slam in Table Tennis, a player has to win the singles event in Olympics, World Championship and the World Cup. The player can achieve this feat in his entire career.

Jan-Ove Waldner was the first and only non-Chinese player to achieve the Grand Slam of Table Tennis in 1992. Zhang Yining is the only player on the list who has achieved this rare feat twice in her career.

Zhang Jike is the quickest to achieve the Grand Slam. He took just 445 days between the win in 2011 World Championship and the triumph in 2012 London Olympics.


The start of the race
A typical start in a NASCAR race

The Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) terms a driver as a grand slam winner if he wins all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series majors in a calendar year. The series includes the Daytona 500, Winston 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500. The achievement would be called the 'Small Slam' if the driver wins any three NASCAR Cup Series majors.

The Grand Slam in NASCAR was formally announced in 1984. No driver could win the title until it was scrapped in 1997. From 1998, Career Grand Slam was introduced in which drivers can win the Series Majors in their entire career.

#5 Formula 1

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary
Lewis Hamilton driving his Mercedes in the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary

A driver in Formula One is said to have accomplished the grand slam in a Grand Prix if he achieved a combination of four milestones. He should have started the race on pole and won the race. Also, he must have led every lap and clocked the fastest lap of the race.

Jim Clark has achieved the grand slam of F1 a record eight times. Sebastian Vettel is the youngest driver to achieve this feat at the age of 24 years, 119 days at the 2011 Indian Grand Prix. Juan Manuel Fangio is the oldest driver at the age of 45 years, 42 days to achieve this feat in the 1956 German Grand Prix.

#6 Golf

Wyndham Championship - Final Round
Tiger Woods came closest to win the grand slam of Golf

The Grand Slam in professional golf is an unofficial term used for a golfer who wins all four major championships in a calendar year. The golfer has to win at the Masters Tournament, the US Open, the British Open (also known as Open Championship) and the PGA Championship.

Only Bobby Jones has achieved this rare feat in Golf by winning the four major events of 1930 namely the Open Championship, the US Open, the US Amateur and the British Amateur.

Tiger Woods won all the major events within a 365-day period but his triumphs were spread over two calendar years.

#7 Lawn Tennis

Roger Federer French Open Photocall
Roger Federer posing for the camera after completing the career grand slam.

The four significant tournaments of lawn tennis -- namely the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open are called the Grand Slam tournaments. Winning all four of them in a calendar year is termed as achieving a grand slam in tennis. A player winning the four majors at different points of his career is termed as winning a career grand slam.

Don Budge was the first player to win all four Majors in a single year in 1938. In tennis history, 17 players have completed the Grand Slam, though only six have done it in the singles titles.

Rod Laver, Margaret and Esther Vergeer have won the Grand Slam multiple times.

#8 Rugby

France v England - RBS Six Nations
England achieved the feat of Grand Slam in 2016.

In Rugby, a grand slam occurs when one team out of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy in the Six Nations Championships beats all its opponents during a one-year period.

England has won the grand slam a record 13 times. Wales is second on the list with 11 grand slam titles to its name.

Alternatively, a Grand Slam tour is achieved by a touring side (namely South Africa, Australia or New Zealand) if it wins all its matches against all the home sides (namely England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

Grand Slams by touring sides have been achieved nine times. South Africa and New Zealand have won the title four times each. Australia has won it once.

#9 Ultra Running

Annual Badwater Ultra Marathon Held In Death Valley's Extreme Heat
Annual Badwater Ultra Marathon Held In Death Valley's Extreme Heat

An Ultra Race is any foot race which is longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195km (26.219 miles).

To win a grand slam of Ultra Running, a person has to complete three out of four of the oldest 100 miles trail runs in the United States in the same year. The races are the Old Dominion 100 Mile Run, the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run.

Tom Green was the first runner to complete the Grand Slam of Ultra Running. In the present time, about a dozen runners complete the Grand Slam each year.

Edited by Shraishth Jain


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