Javier Gomez (ESP) won the overall World Triathlon title this year today, after finishing third in the final race in Edmonton, securing enough points for the overall season win. He's the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and was originally born in Switzerland. This is his 4th overall title, and 8th time on the overall podium.
Finland's Lasse Viren won the 1972 Olympic 10,000 meters in a world record time of 27:38.35, despite falling down onto the track in the 12th lap after a collision. He later won the 5,000 meters, and again won both 4 years later in Montreal. Viren was one of the last 'Flying Finns', who defined long-distance running for decades since Paavo Nurmi. Post-racing, he served in Finland's parliament for 9 years.
Great Britain came out on top of the medal table at the Rowing Worlds ending today, and capped it off with a last-race victory in the men's eights, which was a successful defense of their championship last year. GBR finished 10 total medals, 4 gold - just ahead of NZL with 9 overall, and AUS and GER both with 8. A remarkable even practically even spread at the top, which closely resembled the table last year where four countries finished atop with 8. GBR continues a strong tradition in the sport - they led the table at 2012, too, but it is nice to see some continued diversity in the sport, with countries including Turkey, Greece, South Africa, and Israel all won at least one place on the podiums across the 27 events contested. With the back-to-back wins in the finale, the GBR men's eights certainly set themselves up as the Olympic favorites for '16, and probably carries some confidence for them after failing to win on home turf in '12. It will be interesting to see how teams deal with GBR in next year's final major tune-up before the Games.
Today, in Rome at the World Championships in Athletics, Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova set a new standard in the women's high jump, with a world record of 2.09 meters. Amazingly, the record stands today (it's the 2nd oldest field world record in the books still, after Natalia Lisovskaya's shot put mark). She retired in 1999, after 2 Olympic medals, 2 World Championships, and 5 Indoor World Championships (in which she also once had the world record). She eventually served as president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee.
On this date in 1904, the St. Louis Summer Olympics officially started. Unthinkable in today's context, the Games were actually a sideshow to the World's Fair, which had started in July. And, they weren't a bastion of diversity, as only 125 of the 651 athletes were not from the USA. They actually did not resemble the bureaucracy, process and popularity of hosting a Games at all, and might have spelt a decline for the movement had it not been for the Intercalated Games of 1906, which introduced a system and organization for hosting and registering that London for 1908 then emulated.
Above: Athens' Kallimarmaro, the site of the 1896 Summer Olympics
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