"I am a big believer in visualization. I run through my races mentally so that I feel even more prepared." - Allyson Felix

Mental preparation.

July 31, 1976 - Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael and Leon Spinks were among five US boxers to win gold medals at Montreal Olympics

Sugar Ray Leonard, fighting with photos of his girlfriend and young son pinned to his socks, won at light welterweight, sweeping all his opponents 5-0, and then did what he would do numerous times as a pro: RETIRE! Brothers Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks won Gold at middleweight and light heavyweight. Leo Randolph and Howard Davis Jr. also brought home the Gold for the U.S at the 1976 Games. Many consider the 1976 U.S. team to be the greatest boxing team in the history of the Olympics.

"I think old age is in each one’s head so if you’re happy doing what you love then you’re going to be young." - Anderson Silva

Forever young.

July 30, 1976 - Bruce Jenner wins gold in the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics

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His 8,617 points set a world record in the event.

The secret to Jenner’s success was his preparation. In the 1970s, most decathletes trained with other decathletes. Bruce Jenner, however, trained with some of the world’s best athletes in each of the 10 decathlon events. “If you train with a decathlon man,” Jenner told Dave Anderson of The New York Times in 1976, “you can’t visualize that you can do much better. But if you throw the discus with Mac Wilkins or throw the shot with Al Feuerbach, then they’re 20 feet ahead of me. You learn much more that way.”

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(via athleticpoetics)

July 29, 1996 - Carl Lewis, at age 35, won his fourth Olympic gold medal

By the time the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta rolled around, Carl Lewis was 35 years old. Though he was still admired around the world for his previous Olympic triumphs, he had barely managed to qualify for the U.S. team in the long jump and most experts believed he’d be lucky to medal, let alone win another gold. Going into the last of his three jumps, Lewis trailed Emmanuel Bangué of France and his leading jump of 26’ 10 ½” by two inches. Lewis took off cleanly after a smooth sprint and landed face down, but knowing instinctively that the jump had secured him first place, he quickly got to his feet and raised his arms in triumph. His mark of 27’ 10 ¾” was his longest in two years—a full foot ahead of Bangue—and good enough for his fourth consecutive gold in the long jump.

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July 27, 1996 - Donovan Bailey sets world record for the Men’s 100 Meters with a time of 9.84

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The previous record was 9.85 held by Leroy Burrell of the United States. Donovan Bailey’s time of 9.84 in Atlanta was the 100 m world record from 1996 until 1999, when it was broken by Greene. The time also stood as the Commonwealth record from 1996 until 2005, when it was broken by Asafa Powell, and is the current Canadian record (shared with Bruny Surin since 1999). His Olympic record was broken by Usain Bolt at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

I knew I’d have a shot, have a chance. And when that chance came I’d make the most of it.” - Victor Cruz
All you need is one chance.

I knew I’d have a shot, have a chance. And when that chance came I’d make the most of it.” - Victor Cruz

All you need is one chance.

July 26, 1997 - Don Shula was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Shula became head coach at age 33. He is the winningest coach in NFL history with a regular-season record: 328-156-6 (.676%), overall record: 347-173-6, (.665%). Shula led the Colts to seven straight winning records. In 26 years with Miami, he experienced only two seasons below .500. Shula coached in six Super Bowls, winning Super Bowls VII, VIII. He’s the only coach in NFL history to complete a 17-0 perfect season (1972). Before coaching, Shula played seven season as defensive back/halfback with Browns, Colts, and Redskins.

"I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury, unless it’s completely debilitating, I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming." - Kobe Bryant

Here to stay!

July 24, 1983 - The infamous Pine Tar incident with George Brett

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George Brett of the Kansas City Royals was ejected from a game against the New York Yankees for charging the home plate umpire after he ruled that Brett’s go-ahead, ninth inning home run off Rich Gossage would not count because there was too much pine tar on his bat. It is a legendary moment in baseball history and one of the most famous player-umpire arguments in the history of MLB.

"It isn’t what you do, but how you do it." - John Wooden

So simple, so true.

July 23, 1995 - John Daly won the British Open at St Andrews

John Daly unexpectedly won the British Open in a playoff with Italian Costantino Rocca at St Andrews. As Rocca approached the final hole, he was one shot behind Daly who had already finished his round. Rocca’s long drive was only yards from the green, but his second shot resulted in a fluffed chip where he forgot to follow through. Rocca sank a 60 foot (18 metre) putt on the 18th at St Andrews to make the birdie he needed to force a playoff with Daly.

Daly easily defeated Rocca in the playoff finishing the four holes of the playoff at one under par, while Rocca finished three over par after hitting into the “Road Hole Bunker” and taking three shots to get out. Daly is the only eligible two-time major winner never selected to play in the Ryder Cup. This distinction is often used in quiz shows; in 2006, Scottish golfer Sam Torrance took over nine minutes to (correctly) answer this question on Britain’s longest-running game show A Question of Sport.

"A boxing match is like a cowboy movie. There’s got to be good guys and there’s got to be bad guys. And that’s what people pay for, to see the bad guys get beat." - Sonny Liston

Say hello to the bad guy. They say I’m a bad guy.

July 22, 1963 - Liston KOs Patterson in the first round to retain heavyweight title

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Sonny Liston became World Heavyweight Champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round. The contract for their first fight stated that Patterson, if he should lose, had the right to a rematch within a year. It also dictated that Patterson and Liston would each get 30% of the gate and 20% of the closed circuit revenue.

Patterson and Liston had a rematch held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Liston again won by a knockout as he knocked Patterson down three times, with the three-knockdown rule being in effect. Patterson lasted four seconds longer than in the first bout. On August 21, 1963, the WBA voted to suspend any member state approving a contract with a return bout clause. The regulation was inspired by the contract Liston was forced to sign to get a title shot against Patterson. Delegates described it as the worst ever seen in the boxing business.

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