Aug. 17, 1938 - Henry Armstrong is the first boxer to hold titles in three weight classes at the same time

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A world boxing champion, Henry Armstrong is universally regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time by many boxing critics and fellow professionals. In 2007, The Ring ranked Armstrong as the second-greatest fighter of the last 80 years. Bert Sugar also ranked Armstrong as the second-greatest fighter of all time.

He was a boxer who not only was a member of the exclusive group of fighters that have won boxing championships in three or more different divisions (at a time when there were only 8 universally recognized World Titles), but also has the distinction of being the only boxer to hold three world championships (lightweight, welterweight and featherweight) at the same time. He also defended the Welterweight Championship more times than any other fighter.

Aug. 16, 2008 - Usain Bolt ran the 100 meters in a world-record 9.69 seconds

In the Olympic 100 m final, Usain Bolt broke new ground, winning in 9.69 s (unofficially 9.683 s) with a reaction time of 0.165 s. This was an improvement upon his own world record, and he was well ahead of second-place finisher Richard Thompson, who finished in 9.89 s. Not only was the record set without a favourable wind (+0.0 m/s), but he also visibly slowed down to celebrate before he finished and his shoelace was untied.

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Aug. 15, 1993 - Nolan Ryan of the Rangers recorded his 324th, and final, career win

Before the 1993 season, Nolan Ryan announced his retirement, effective at the end of that season. In his final victory Ryan pitched seven innings and gave up just one run as the Rangers defeated the Indians 4-1.

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Aug. 14, 1987 - Mark McGwire sets MLB rookie record with his 39th HR

Mark McGwire's two-run home run in the sixth inning landed in the left-field seats and gave the 23-year-old first baseman sole possession of the mark previously held by Wally Berger of the Boston Braves in 1930 and Frank Robinson of the Cincinnati Reds in 1956. McGwire completed his rookie year with 49 home runs.

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Aug. 13, 1999 - Steffi Graf retired from tennis at age 30

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Steffi Graf retired while ranked World No. 3. She said, “I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis. I feel I have nothing left to accomplish. The weeks following Wimbledon [in 1999] weren’t easy for me. I was not having fun anymore. After Wimbledon, for the first time in my career, I didn’t feel like going to a tournament. My motivation wasn’t what it was in the past.” In December 1999, Graf was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press. She was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Aug. 12, 1974 - Nolan Ryan of the Angels struck out 19 Red Sox

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That year Nolan Ryan twice struck out 19 batters, tying Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton for the single-game record for a nine-inning game. Roger Clemens would become the first pitcher with a 20-strikeout game in 1986.

"I really felt everything was going right tonight," Ryan said. "I think I got better as the game went on. I don’t think I thought about the record until about the eight or ninth inning.”

Aug. 11, 1984 - Carl Lewis won his fourth gold medal of the Summer Olympics

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Carl Lewis and his agent Joe Douglas frequently discussed his wish to match Jesse Owens’ feat of winning four gold medals at a single Olympic Games and to “cash in” afterward with the lucrative endorsement deals which surely would follow.

Lewis started his quest to match Owens with a convincing win in the 100m, running 9.99 s. In his next event, the long jump, Lewis won with relative ease. His third gold medal came in the 200 m, where he again won handily in a time of 19.80 s, a new Olympic record and the third fastest time in history. Finally, he won his fourth gold when the 4 × 100 m relay team he anchored finished in a time of 37.83 s, a new world record eclipsing the record he helped set the year before at the World Championships.

Aug. 10, 1934 - Babe Ruth announced his retirement

"I’m definitely through as a regular player at the end of this season." - Babe Ruth

In 1934, Ruth had his last complete season. By this time, years of high living were starting to catch up with him. His conditioning had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer field or run. Nonetheless, he could still handle a bat, recording a .288 batting average with 22 home runs. On September 30, 1934, in what turned out to be his last game at Yankee Stadium, Ruth went 0 for 3 in front of only about 2,500 fans. By this time, he had reached a personal milestone of 708 home runs and was ready to retire. Sure enough, his career as a New York Yankee was over. Ruth did play part of the 1935 season with the Boston Braves.

Aug. 9, 1988 - The Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Kings

In a move that heralded significant change in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, to the Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million in cash, and the Kings’ first-round draft picks in 1989. “The Trade”, as it came to be known, upset Canadians to the extent that New Democratic Party House Leader Nelson Riis demanded that the government block it, and Peter Pocklington was burned in effigy outside the Northlands Coliseum. Gretzky himself was considered a “traitor” by some Canadians for turning his back on his adopted hometown, and his home country; his motivation was widely rumored to be the furtherance of his wife’s acting career.

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Aug. 8, 1992 - The ‘Dream Team’ won gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain

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ROSTER: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Chris Mullen, Christian Laettner.

Head coach: Chuck Daly
Assistant coaches: Mike Krzyzewski, Lenny Wilkens, P.J. Carlesimo

The Dream Team was the first American Olympic team to feature active NBA players. Described by American journalists as the greatest sports team ever assembled, and called by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame “the greatest collection of basketball talent on the planet”, it defeated its opponents by an average of almost 44 points.

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Aug. 7, 2007 - Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run to break the all-time career HR record, held by Hank Aaron

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The pitch came on a 3-2 count, when Barry Bonds hit a 435 foot home run, his 756th, into the right-center field bleachers breaking the all-time career home run record, formerly held by Hank Aaron. The fan who ended up with the ball, 22-year-old Matt Murphy from Queens, New York (and a Mets fan), was promptly protected and escorted away from the mayhem by a group of San Francisco police officers. After Bonds finished his home run trot, a ten-minute delay followed, including a brief video by Aaron congratulating Bonds on breaking the record Aaron had held for 33 years, and expressing the hope that “the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.” Bonds made an impromptu emotional statement on the field, with Willie Mays, his godfather, at his side and thanked his teammates, family and his late father. Bonds sat out the rest of the game and was replaced in left field.

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Aug. 6, 1972 - Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record for HRs with one team

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Hank Aaron's second homer (#661) of the day was a 10th inning blast which enabled the Atlanta Braves to beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3. On February 29, 1972, Aaron signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Braves that payed him $200,000 per year, making him the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball at the time.

During the strike-shortened season of 1972, Aaron tied and then surpassed Willie Mays for second place on the career home run list. Aaron also knocked in the 2,000th run of his career and hit a home run in the first All-Star game played in Atlanta. As the year came to a close, Aaron broke Stan Musial’s major league record for total bases (6,134). He finished the 1972 season with 673 home runs.

Aug. 5, 1921 - first radio broadcast of a major league baseball game was broadcast

Studio announcer Harold Arlin became the first play-by-play man as he described the Pittsburgh Pirates' 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies from Forbes Field on radio station KDKA.

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Aug. 4, 1936 - Jesse Owens wins gold in the long jump at Olympics in Berlin

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It was the second of four gold medals Jesse Owens won in Berlin, as he firmly dispelled German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler’s notion of the superiority of an Aryan “master race,” for all the world to see.

110,000 spectators watched Owens slam the door on Hitler’s racist theories. In the morning, after fouling on his first two qualifying jumps, Owens finally leaped his way into the final, where he met the young German Lutz Long. Long tied the heavily favored Owens on his second jump, but Owens answered the challenge with a mark of 26’ 5 ½”, the first jump over 26 feet in Olympic history, and an Olympic record that would stand for 24 years. As Owens and Lutz walked arm in arm around the track, the German crowd roared its approval. Hitler promptly left the stadium, missing the medal ceremony.

(via athleticpoetics)

Aug. 2, 1992 - Jackie Joyner-Kersee is the first woman to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon

Two years after winning the 1987 world championships in the long jump and the heptathlon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee won gold in both events at the Seoul Olympics. Her 7,291 points set a new world record for the heptathlon and her jump of 24’3 ” was a new Olympic best.

Four years later, Joyner-Kersee entered the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona the heavy favorite to win heptathlon gold. Now a seasoned veteran of the circuit, she led the field for the entire event. On August 2, the second day of competition, Joyner-Kersee started the day with a long jump of 23’3 “, good for first place. Prior to her final jump, though, she was run into while sprinting next to her rival Sabine Braun of Germany. Braun had defeated an injured Joyner-Kersee at the 1991 world championships, and the bump was later deemed “psychological warfare” by Bob Kersee. It was no matter to Joyner-Kersee, though: She overcame a poor finish in the shot-put by finishing the 800 meters in a respectable 2:11, which gave her a total of 7,044 points and the gold medal. It was only the seventh time that a woman had scored 7,000 points in the heptathlon, and the sixth time Joyner-Kersee had broken the barrier.

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