Monthly Archives: May 2013

“The only way to maximize potential for performance is to be calm in the mind.” – Brian Sipe

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May 31, 2008 – Usain Bolt runs the 100 m in 9.72 s at the Reebok Grand Prix

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Pushed on by a tail wind of 1.7 m/s, Usain Bolt ran 9.72 s at the Reebok Grand Prix held in the Icahn Stadium in New York City, breaking Powell’s record. The record time was even more remarkable in light of the fact that it was only his fifth senior run over the distance. Gay again finished second and said of Bolt “It looked like his knees were going past my face”. Commentators noted that Bolt appeared to have gained a psychological advantage over fellow Olympic contender Gay.

Video of Bolt’s world record setting performance at the Reebok Grand Prix, 2008:

#ThrowbackThursdays

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Gordie Howe (center) sits next to Detroit Red Wings teammate Red Kelly during a game against the New York Rangers in December 1954. Although just 26, Howe was already in his ninth NHL season. Detroit won its second straight Stanley Cup that season as Howe made his eighth straight All-Star team. In all, he won four Stanley Cups and made 23 NHL All-Star teams during his career.

May 30, 1987 – Mike Tyson TKO’d Pinklon Thomas in six rounds for heavyweight title

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BACKGROUND
In 1986, the three major boxing organizations, the WBA, WBC and IBF teamed up with HBO to develop a unification tournament that would ultimately unify all three Heavyweight titles and determine the next Undisputed Champion. The first fight in the series pitted WBC Heavyweight champion
Pinklon Thomas against Trevor Berbick on March 22, 1986. Berbick would capture the WBC Heavyweight title after defeating Thomas by unanimous decision and move on to face the undefeated Mike Tyson in his first title defense. Tyson dominated Berbick in their match, knocking out the champion in the second round to win his first heavyweight championship. Meanwhile, James “Bonecrusher” Smith would defeat Tim Witherspoon to become the new WBA Heavyweight champion, thus setting up a match with Tyson with both fighter’s titles on the line, which Tyson would win by unanimous decision. The IBF champion Michael Spinks was scheduled to defend his title against Tony Tucker with the winner of that match moving on to face the winner of the Tyson–Smith bout. However, Spinks decided to pullout of his match with Tucker, instead choosing to face Gerry Cooney in a more lucrative fight that would pay him $4 million, leading to the IBF stripping Spinks of their title. As a result, the organizations sanctioned an event that would see Tyson defend his WBA and WBC titles against Thomas, while Tony Tucker and James “Buster” Douglas would meet each other for the vacant IBF crown. The winners of these two matches would then face one another for the right to become the next Undisputed Heavyweight Champion.

THE FIGHT
Tyson was the aggressor for nearly the entire fight, costantly getting the better of Thomas with his power punches. Tyson was nearly able to get the victory in the first round. With about 40 seconds left in the round, Tyson staggered Thomas with a left hook–right hook combination. With Thomas’ back now against the ropes, Tyson delivered an 8-punch combination in an attempt to get the knockout victory, but Thomas was able withstand Tyson’s assault and survived the round without being knocked down. Thomas was able to rebound and last another four full rounds with Tyson, using his left jab to keep Tyson off-stride while clinching Tyson whenever Tyson came close. The fight would come to an end with a minute remaining in round 6. 30 seconds into the second minute, Tyson was able to catch Thomas with a left hook that clearly hurt the challenger. Tyson would follow this with a relentless 15-punch combination that dropped Thomas to the canvas for the first time in his professional career. Before referee Carlos Padilla, Jr. could reach the count of 10, Thomas’ trainer Angelo Dundee entered the ring causing Padilla to stop the fight and officially declare the result a technical knockout victory for Tyson.

AFTERMATH
Tyson’s victory would officially setup a unification match with Tony Tucker, who was able to capture the IBF Heavyweight Championship by defeating Buster Douglas by unanimous decision prior to the Tyson–Thomas fight. The two men went the full 12 rounds, with Tyson ultimately picking up the victory by unanimous decision to become the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion since Leon Spinks in 1978.

May 29, 1980 – Larry Bird beats out Magic Johnson for NBA Rookie of the Year

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Larry Bird was named NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists, and leading the Celtics to a then-record 32-game improvement (29-53 to 61-21). Also is named to the All-Rookie Team and first-team All-NBA; finishes third in MVP voting.

Bird’s impact on the Celtics was immediate. The Boston Celtics were 29–53 during the 1978–79 season, but with Bird the team improved to 61–21 in the 1979–80 season, posting the league’s best regular season record. Bird’s collegiate rival, Magic Johnson, also had entered the NBA in 1979, joining the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1980, despite a strong rookie season from Johnson, Bird was named the league’s Rookie of the Year and was voted onto the Eastern Conference All-Star team (an honor he would receive for each of his 12 full seasons in the NBA). For the 1980 season, Bird led the Celtics in scoring (21.3 points/game), rebounding (10.4 rebounds/game), steals (143), and minutes played (2,955) and was second in assists (4.5 assists/game) and three-pointers (58). Though Boston was beaten by the more athletic Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference finals that year, Bird’s addition to the team had renewed the promise of Celtic glory.