|Sports gained popularity
in the 1920's. School teams were formed for students. Several
sports, such as golf, that had previously been unavailable to
the middle-class became open. Record-breaking athletes also attracted
many new people to various physical activities.
|Big Bill Wins
Becomes First American to Win Wimbledon (1920)
|William "Big Bill" Tatem
Tilden II became the first American to win a Wimbledon title in
1920. He would recapture this title in 1921 and 1930 as well.
Further expanding his list of victories, Tilden was crowned U.S.
Champion on seven occasions. In later years, "Big Bill," who was
also known for his "performances" on the court, became an actor,
but was not as successful as he had been in his tennis career.
|The Women's Singles
at Wimbledon (1920)
|In 1920, Suzanne Lenglen
of France captured the women's singles title at Wimbledon. Over
a span of eight years (from 1919 - 1926), she would win a total
of six Wimbledon titles. Lenglen was not only known for her exceptional
athletic ability but also for her style of dress during play.
Setting a fashion statement for the tennis courts, Lenglen was
identified with sleeveless shirts and short skirts.
Wins the Derby (1921)
|No stranger to horse
racing victories, Steve Donoghue (riding Humorist) won the Derby
for the third time in 1921. After his third of six Derby wins,
he went on to repeat his feat again in 1922 (with Captain Cuttle),
1923 (on Papyrus), and 1925 (riding Manna). From 1914-1923, Donoghue
was dubbed champion jockey.
Battle of the Century (1921)
|On July 2, 1921, American
boxer Jack "the Manassa Mauler" Dempsey (1895-1983), fought challenger
Georges Carpentier, a Frenchman, in New Jersey. Originally William
Harrison Dempsey, the American was world heavy weight champion
at the time and "The Orchid Kid" or "Gorgeous George" Carpentier
was European champion. Dempsey was declared winner in the fourth
round after knocking out Carpentier. Their $1+ million (the world's
first) promotion-bout would be dubbed "The Battle of the Century."
Weissmuller Swims 100m in 58.6 Seconds (1922)
Up until 1922, no swimmer, male
or female, had been able to swim the 100 meters in under a minute's
time. American Johnny Weissmuller (1904 - 1984), an exception
to the record books, broke the record with 58.6 seconds swimming
freestyle on July 9. This, however, was not Weissmuller's only
feat. He went on to win three gold medals at the 1924 Olympics
in Paris, France, and two gold medals at the 1928 Olympics in
Amsterdam. In his career, he claimed 52 U.S. titles and 28 world
Johnny Weissmuller, originally
Jonas Weissmuller, was born on June 2, 1904, in Freidorf, Hungary.
His family moved to Chicago when he was three years old. The
champion swimmer became famous not only for his swimming, but
also for portraying Tarzan in several films. Weissmuller died
on January 20, 1984, while in Acapulco, Mexico.
|Waterskiing is Born
|Ralph Samuelson of Minnesota
invented waterskiing in 1922. After unsuccessful attempts of skiing
on water with barrel staves and snow skis, the 18-year old tried
out pinewood boards with curved tips. For the tips, Samuelson
applied boiler steam to the 8' x 9" wooden boards. Other materials
were used as well: an iron ring for a handle and 100 feet of cord
for a towrope.
At the 1924 Olympics in Paris,
France, the following athletes (to name just a few) accomplished
Erik Liddell ran the 400 meters
in 47.6 seconds, a new world record.
Douglas Lowe would go on to repeat
his 800 meters gold-medal victory from the 1924 Olympics in
Harold Abrahams set an Olympic
record of 10.6 seconds for the 100 meters and carried off a
Richards, Champion Jockey (1925)
|In 1925, Gordon Richards
(later Sir Gordon Richards) earned his first title of champion
jockey. He accomplished this feat by having the best record for
1925. He, like Steve Donoghue, would become a master horse racer,
for at the end of Richards' career, he had been champion jockey
for a total of 26 times.
Racing is Introduced in Great Britain (1925 or 1926)
The sport of greyhound racing was
introduced to Great Britain by the U.S. in 1925 or 1926 (one
source has listed 1925, another 1926). As the sport gained several
followers many new tracks were built, and in 1928, the National
Greyhound Racing Club was established. In both 1929 and 1930,
a notable "athlete," Mick the Miller, was crowned champion of
the Greyhound Derby. The first track in Manchester featured
a mechanical hare for the dogs to chase around the track. This
practice is still carried out today, but metal "bait" may be
used instead of mechanical hares.
Greyhound racing still remains
popular in many countries such as the U.S., Great Britain, Australia,
Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. It is not, however, a sport of the
1900's. Records indicate that Egyptians began racing dogs in
2500 B.C. Many greyhounds were also used to hunt hares and other
animals. The breed usually features coats of black, gray, and/or
white and weigh 65-70 pounds. They have been clocked in at speeds
of up to 40 mph and well-performing racers can bring in $200,000.
Swims the English Channel (1926)
|Gertrude Ederle (1906
- ), who was born on October 23, 1906, was a superb swimmer. Not
only did she win three Olympic medallions and break several records,
but to top it all off, she went on to become the first woman to
swim across the English Channel. When she swam the 21 miles on
August 6, 1926, Ederle was only nineteen. Her time: 14 hours and
31 minutes - good enough to beat the previously set men's record.
Breaks Home Run Record (1927)
George Herman Ruth
(1895 - 1948), often known to his fans as Babe Ruth, hit a total
of 60 home runs in 1927. This record-breaker would remain a
record itself until 1961, when Roger Eugene Maris (1934 - 85)
hit 61 home runs. The record has since then been broken by Sammy
Sosa of the Chicago Cubs with 66 homers in 1998 and Mark McGwire
of the St. Louis Cardinals with 70 in the same year.
Ruth was born on
February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland. He first committed
to professional baseball at age 20 by playing with the minor-league
Baltimore Orioles. He would later sign with the Boston Red Sox
and the New York Yankees. In 1919, as a player for the Red Sox,
he hit 29 homers. He joined the Yankees in 1920 and hit 54 home
runs that year. The next year, he increased to 59. He finally
broke the old record in 1927 with 60.
Babe Ruth, who
earned more than $2 million in his career, was known by several
other names as well. These included: the Bambino, the Behemoth
of Bust, the Blunderbuss, the Colossus of Clout, the Mammoth
of Maul, the Mauling Mastodon, the Mauling Monarch, the Prince
of Powders, the Rajah of Rap, the Sultan of Swat, and the Wazir
of Wham. Among all of his other accomplishments, this southpaw
pitcher was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
|Helen Wills Wins
Her First Wimbledon (1927)
|Helen Newington Wills
(1905 - ) of the U.S. captured her first Wimbledon title (women's
singles) in 1927. At the end of her career, "Little Miss Poker
Face" had won two Olympic gold medals and 19 singles championships.
Her name was later changed to Helen Moody, when she married in
1930. Eight years later, in 1938, "Queen Helen" gave up her career
in tennis and became an inductee of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Hall
of Fame, Class of 1959.
| Henry Seagrave,
driving his car the Golden Arrow, reaches a record speed of 231.44