Who was the first female Olympic gold medallist in a individual event?

As far as the modern Olympics is concerned, the Games of the II Olympiad, staged as part of the Exposition Universelle or, in English, ‘Universal Exhibition’, held in Paris, France between April and November 1900, were the first in which women took part. It would be fair to say that the Games were a shambolic affair, with no opening or closing ceremony and confusion among competitors as to what was, and what wasn’t, an Olympic event.

Nevertheless, the first female Olympic gold medallist in any event was American-born sailor Countess Hélène de Pourtalès who, alongside her husband Hermann de Pourtalès and his nephew Count Bernard de Pourtalès, represented Switzerland in the 1 to 2 ton class. Collectively, they sailed the Swiss boat, Lérina, to victory over seven French boats over a less-than-ideal 10-nautical mile course on the River Seine near Meulan on May 22, 1900.

To answer the headline question, though, the first female Olympic gold medallist in a individual event was British tennis player Charlotte Cooper. Cooper had already won the Wimbledon ladies’ singles three times, in 1895, 1896 and 1898 and would do so twice more, in 1901 and 1908. However, on July 11, 1900, she faced Frenchwoman Yvonne Prévost, also known as Hélène Prévost, in the Olympic ladies’ singles final at the Cercle des Sports de l’Île de Puteaux in Paris. Cooper won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, to ensure her place in Olympic history.

Which tennis player was involved in the controversial “Battle of the Sexes” match against Billie Jean King in 1973?

In 1973, the “Battle of the Sexes” match made headlines as two tennis players from different generations clashed on the court. Bobby Riggs, a retired male tennis player, issued a challenge to Billie Jean King, the leading female player of the time. On September 20, 1973, in the Houston Astrodome, this much-anticipated match took place, captivating an estimated 90 million viewers.

Riggs, aged 55 and having left professional tennis in 1951, faced King, a 29-year-old in her prime. The match gained attention not only for the sport but also due to Riggs’ controversial comments leading up to the event. His sexist remarks, undermining women’s tennis abilities, sparked outrage among many, including King herself.

The match itself was televised nationwide, drawing in a wide audience. Driven to prove her talent, King emerged victorious, winning the match in three sets with scores of 6–4, 6–3, 6–3. Beyond the confines of tennis, her triumph became a symbol of empowerment and a significant milestone for gender equality.

The “Battle of the Sexes” match challenged stereotypes and ignited discussions on equal opportunities. It showcased the remarkable skills of female athletes, shattering the notion that women were inferior in sports. King’s triumph not only propelled the cause of gender equality but also fueled the popularity of women’s tennis, inspiring countless young girls to pursue their dreams in the sport.

As far as matches go, this was an important meeting. It promoted social change and highlighted the importance of equality. This could be considered to be one of the most important matches in the history of sport and it is still spoken about today.

Which country has dominated the men’s marathon event in recent years, producing several world record holders?

Ethiopia’s indomitable presence in the men’s marathon event has soared to unprecedented heights, crafting a legacy marked by an illustrious lineage of world record holders. Within this world of endurance running, a nation renowned for its athletic prowess has emerged triumphant, producing a stellar cast of marathon runners who have left an indelible impact on the sport.

Haile Gebrselassie, an esteemed name synonymous with greatness, has made his mark upon marathon history. His feat at the 2008 Berlin Marathon stands as a world record time of 2:01:39, cementing his status as one of the most exceptional marathon runners of all time. Beyond this milestone, Gebrselassie’s medal cabinet gleams with gold from the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Summer Olympics, epitomising his unwavering dominance.

Ethiopia’s commanding stature in the men’s marathon event springs forth from a confluence of factors. The nation’s genetic predisposition for endurance running intertwines with the lofty altitudes that foster stamina development. Ethiopian runners undergo arduous training regimens under skilled coaches, fortified by a culture that reveres running as a conduit for social advancement.

With each passing year, Ethiopia’s unwavering mastery of the men’s marathon event remains an unwritten story of triumph waiting to unfold. As world records continue to crumble and new chapters are woven into the tapestry of marathon running, Ethiopia’s eminence shines ever brighter, illuminating the path forward.

What is the seating capacity of the Centre Court at Wimbledon?

Nowadays, the official seating capacity of the Centre Court at Wimbledon is 14,979. However, what is now, arguably, the most famous tennis court in the world has undergone a number of significant changes since it was opened, in its current location, by His Majesty King George V on June 22, 1922. The original seating capacity was 9,989, with standing room for an additional 3,400 spectators.

The Wimbledon Championships were suspended for the duration of World War II but, on October 11,1940, a 500lb bomb struck the roof of Centre Court, destroying 1,200 seats. Remarkably, resumed in SW19 in 1946, following the cessation of hostilities, but the damage to Centre Court was not repaired until 1947, such that the seating capacity was restricted.

In 1979, the roof of Centre Court was raised, to make provision for over 1,000 additional seats, while the East Side Building, opened in 1985, added over 800 more. In 1992, the roof was completely replaced, with a structure supported by four, rather than 26, thereby providing unrestricted viewing for over 3,500 more seatholders.

The most noteworthy change, though, came in the late noughties, with the installation of six rows of wider, more comfortable seating – a total of 1,200 seats – on the upper tier on three sides of Centre Court. Aside from increasing seating capacity to its current level, the major construction project also involved the installation of a new, concenrtina-style retractable roof, which was first used on June 29, 2009.

Incidentally, the name ‘Centre Court’ was originally a throwback to the early days of the Wimbledon Championships at the original site of the All England Croquet Club on nearby Worple Road. On the new site, in Church Road, Centre Court was not, in fact, central until four new courts were opened on the north side of the grounds in 1980.

Who are the three goalkeepers to have been sent off during the FIFA World Cup finals?

At the time of writing, Wales’ goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has recently made headlines by becoming the first player to be sent off at the 2022 World Cup. With four minutes of normal time remaining in Wales’ third and final Group B match, against Iran, Hennessey raced from his goal line to clear a long, over-the-top ball. However, he missed the ball completely as onrushing Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi toe-poked past him and succeeded only in catching his opponent in the face with an unsightly, ‘kung-fu’ style kick, which knocked him to the ground. Referee Mario Toca, from Guatemala, initially gave Hennessey a yellow card but, following a video assistant referee (VAR) review, swiftly overturned his decision and gave Hennessey a red card for serious foul play instead.

The goalkeeper with the dubious distinction of being the first of his kind to be dismissed during the FIFA World Cup finals was Gianluca Pagliuca, of Italy, who received his marching orders at the 1994 World Cup in the United States. In a not dissimilar circumstances to Hennessey, almost halfway through the first half of Italy’s second Group E match, against Norway, Pagliuca dashed out to tackle Norwegian midfielder Oyvind Leonhardsen. In so doing, he was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the penalty area and was given a straight red card by German referee Hellmut Krug.

The only other goalkeeper to be sent off during the FIFA World Cup finals was Itumeleng Khune, of South Africa. Of course, the Rainbow Nation played host to the 2010 World Cup and Khune found fame, for the wrong reasons, in their second Group A match, against Uruguay. With his side trailing 1-0, after 76 minutes Khune was adjudged to have brought down Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez inside the penalty area and was given a straight red card, ‘for denying the opposing team a clear goal-scoring opportunity’, by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca.