Today in History: First America’s Cup held in 1851

Today in History: First America’s Cup held in 1851

The America’s Cup is awarded to the winner of a race between sailing yachts. Thought to be the oldest international sporting trophy to be still awarded today, the cup’s name was changed from Hundred Guinea Cup to America’s Cup after the name of the yacht that won the first race on this day, led by Commodore John Cox Stevens,

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Today in History: First World Cup in 1930

Today in History: First World Cup in 1930

87 years ago today, the first-ever World Cup football matches were played simultaneously in host city Montevideo, Uruguay. France defeated Mexico 4-1 while the United States defeated Belgium 3-0. 13 teams participated “by invitation” in this first World Cup. For the Europeans, the trip to Uruguay was especially costly. In the end, only 4 European teams were persuaded to make the trip. They joined 7 South and 2 North American teams. Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 in the final and became the first nation to win the World Cup. Total attendance was 590,000. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event.

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Today in History: First Wimbledon Tennis Tournament

Today in History: First Wimbledon Tennis Tournament

On this day in 1877, the world’s first official lawn tennis tournament was held at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, a district of London. Twenty-two players participated in the Gentlemen’s Singles competition, the only event at the first Wimbledon. In front of a crowd of some 200 people, Spencer Gore became the first champion by defeating William Marshall in three straight sets that lasted only 48 minutes. Gore took home a silver cup (worth 25 guineas) and 12 guineas in prize money.

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Today in History: First UEFA European Nations Cup (now UEFA Euro) hosted by France

Today in History: First UEFA European Nations Cup (now UEFA Euro) hosted by France

57 years ago today, the first European soccer championship opened in France. The event is held every four years in the even-numbered year between the World Cup tournaments. In 1960, 4 teams competed in the finals out of 17 that had initially entered the competition. The Soviet Union won the first competition beating Yugoslavia 2-1 in a tense game in Paris. Over the years, the event has become the second most watched soccer tournament in the world (after the World Cup).

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Today in History: First Automobile Grand Prix in France

Today in History: First Automobile Grand Prix in France

111 years ago today, the Automobile Club of France hosted the first “Grand Prix” motor race. 32 drivers took to the public roads outside of Le Mans, on June 26, 1906. The race winner was awarded the “Great Prize” (Grand Prix) of 45,000 French francs which at the time was the equivalent of 13 kilos of gold.

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Today is National Running Day

Today is National Running Day

Each year on the first Wednesday in June, people across the United States participate in National Running Day. This day was designated as a day for runners to reaffirm their passion for running.

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First Indoor Swimming Pool opens in London in 1742

First Indoor Swimming Pool opens in London in 1742

275 years ago today, the world’s first indoor pool – the Bagnio – opened its doors in London. London in the 18th century had a stench all its own, the Thames and Fleet open sewers, the streets still clogged with filth. The poor still used the open waterways of the capital for the pleasure of swimming, though the degree of pleasure to be had from a dip in the Thames at that time is perhaps debatable. Thus it was that the Bagnio, opened on May 28 1742 in Lemon Street, Goodman’s Fields, was a business idea whose time had come. For the subscription of a guinea gentlemen (and only gentlemen, ladies were not to be countenanced) could use the 43 foot long pool, advertised as being warmed and kept fresh every day. As this was indoors the prying eyes of lesser mortals would be kept from the wealthy users – at the price of a guinea the lower rungs of society were unlikely to be interested in the pool. The facilities of the Bagnio included a cold pool as well as the warmed one, and what were described as waiters were available to teach the art of swimming to those who had not yet mastered it.

Two observations should be made about the Bagnio as an innovation. The first is that the Romans in the first century AD are believed to have had such facilities in Britain – they had already installed a heated pool in Rome in the first half of the century. The second is that Bagno or Bagnio was also a synonym for brothel, so we may speculate on other services available beyond swimming coaching in the Lemon Street establishment. (source: http://www.information-britain.co.uk)

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