100 sports records and the stories behind them
100 sports records and the stories behind them
The 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II” predicted that there wouldn’t be much of a need for sports almanacs in the 21st century. True to form, today’s internet allows us to instantaneously relive great sports moments of yesteryear and find data and recaps of a majority of games from the past century. Still, even some of the sports world’s most heralded records contain multiple backstories that could take days to pore through, even with a time-traveling DeLorean.
That’s why Stacker compiled a list of 100 sports records from the 20th and 21st centuries, and the stories behind them. Sources included statistical databases, Hall of Fame records, official league records, various record books, and news reports.
Most baseball buffs know that Nolan Ryan holds the record for most strikeouts in a season, but do you know how many innings he had to pitch in his final start of the 1973 season to break Sandy Koufax’s mark? There are plenty of hoop heads who can easily remember that Mike Krzyzewski has the most career NCAA basketball wins, but can they name the coach who previously had the most victories across all levels of college hoops?
Not all of the records are great athletic feats of strength, but they provide interesting fodder nonetheless—anyone who can crush more than one can per second deserves a tip of the hat, don’t you think? This story also examines important records beyond pro and college sports—like the X Games athlete who overcame serious injury to inspire in 2009—and recognize just plain impressive control over body and mind (like averaging almost three pull-ups a minute over a 24-hour period).
Click through for a drive down memory lane, a look into the absurd, and the story of one record that is all but certainly the most overblown sports story ever.
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1911: Cy Young’s 749 complete games
Cy Young holds the MLB record for complete games with 749. During a 22-year career, Young pitched 7,356 innings, also a record. Young also holds records for wins, losses, starts, hits allowed, and earned runs allowed.
1919: Babe Ruth’s reported 587-foot home run
MLB Statcast has only been used this century, but baseball fans have always been enamored with tape-measure home runs. In 1919, media reported that Babe Ruth swatted a 587-foot homer at Tampa’s Plant Field. Some historians have speculated the home run was closer to 550 feet, but it remains a monstrous feat regardless and is earmarked with a historical marker at the current site of Plant Field.
1920: The longest MLB game ever
On May 1, 1920, the Brooklyn Robins and Boston Braves played 26 innings before it was called due to darkness, with the score tied, 1-1. The second-longest game lasted 25 innings, a 1984 tilt that the Chicago White Sox won over the Milwaukee Brewers.
1930: Hack Wilson’s 191 RBI
During Hack Wilson’s RBI tear in 1930, he did not hit one grand slam. Still, Wilson’s 191 runs batted in remain the best mark in MLB history; Lou Gehrig’s 184 RBI in 1931 is the closest anyone’s come to hacking Wilson off the top spot.
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1940: Chicago mauls Washington, 73–0
The 1940 Washington Redskins were riding high with a 9-2 record and earned the right to host the NFL Championship Game. Their opponent, the Chicago Bears, went 8-3, including a loss to the Redskins a few weeks earlier. In the rematch, the Bears recorded the biggest blowout in NFL history, stomping Washington, 73-0.
1941: Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak
Joe DiMaggio’s box score for the New York Yankees’ game on May 15, 1941, was nothing special: 1-for-4, 1 RBI. But that lone hit was the beginning of one of baseball’s most revered records, a 56-game hitting streak that stands today. Pete Rose came the closest to DiMaggio’s record, recording a hit in 44 consecutive games in 1978.
1944: Red Barrett’s 58-pitch complete game
Today, baseball pitch counts heavily dictate a pitcher’s lifespan. In 1944, relief pitchers were an anomaly, and starters tossed well over 100 pitches per outing. Charley “Red” Barrett only needed about half of that when he took the mound on Aug. 10, as he threw a 58-pitch complete game, which remains the fewest amount of pitches ever needed for a complete game.
1957: Oklahoma football wins 47 straight games
The Oklahoma Sooners were unbeatable on the gridiron for the better part of five seasons during the mid-1950s. Oklahoma, led by coach Bud Wilkinson, won 47 straight games. Notre Dame ended the streak in 1957, and Toledo’s 35 wins have come the closest since that reign of Sooner dominance.
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1962: The Big O’s triple-doubles
In 1962, Oscar Robertson registered 41 triple-doubles in a season, an NBA record which stood for 55 years until Russell Westbrook earned 42 in 2017. Robertson also averaged a triple-double for the season (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists). Only eight other players have 41 or more triple-doubles through their entire NBA careers.
1962: Wilt Chamberlain reaches the century mark
On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game for the Philadelphia Warriors. Chamberlain took 63 shots and made 28 of 32 free-throw attempts. The New York Knicks’ Richie Guerin led the visitors with 39 points.
1967: The Ice Bowl
The kickoff temperature for the 1967 NFL Championship Game in Green Bay was minus-13 degrees. Later, the temperature dropped down to minus-18, and the battle between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys was dubbed “The Ice Bowl.” The Packers went on to win what is believed to be the coldest game in NFL history.
1969: Bill Russell earns his 11th ring
Bill Russell won his 11th championship as a player in 1969 but also served double duty. Since 1966, Russell coached the Boston Celtics—he was also the first Black coach in NBA history. Today, the NBA Finals MVP award is named after Russell; the honor was first given out in 1969 and was won by Jerry West, whose Lakers lost to Russell’s Celtics.
1972: Miami Dolphins achieve perfection
The 1972 Miami Dolphins were coming off a Super Bowl loss to the Dallas Cowboys. To return to the big game, Miami reeled off 14 straight wins in the regular season and then swept through the playoffs, culminating with a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. The 1972 Dolphins remain the only NFL team to achieve an undefeated season.
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1976: Nadia Comaneci scores a perfect 10
At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, a largely unknown 14-year-old gymnast from Romania became a worldwide phenomenon. Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 at the Olympics, then went on to duplicate 10s six more times en route to three gold medals.
1977: Tampa Bay toils
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began play in 1976 and lost their first 26 NFL games. Tampa Bay finally won by defeating the New Orleans Saints, 33-14, in December 1977. During the 26-game losing streak, the Buccaneers were shut out 11 times, and the 26 losses were by an average of 16 points.
1980: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wins his sixth MVP
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record-breaking sixth MVP season came as the writing on the wall signaled a new heir apparent. Rookie Magic Johnson mesmerized crowds and stifled opponents with his magnificent play, and when Abdul-Jabbar went down with an injury in the 1980 NBA Finals, Johnson stepped in at center and won Finals MVP honors.
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1983: Nolan Ryan becomes strikeout king
1984: Eric Dickerson runs for 2,105 yards
Eric Dickerson originally thought he’d break O.J. Simpson’s single-season rushing record in the final game of the 1984 season. But a rough-and-tumble game against the Houston Oilers in the season’s penultimate matchup motivated Dickerson to jump ahead of schedule and top Simpson’s 2,003 yards one week early with 215 in Week 16. “I had hoped to do it in San Francisco, in front of national TV, but they got me mad with all their talking,” Dickerson told reporters. “I told our line, ‘We’re gonna get it today.’ I was going to make it a long day for them.”
1984: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar breaks NBA scoring mark
For over a decade, Wilt Chamberlain reigned supreme as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. But on April 5, 1984, his Laker brethren Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surpassed his record of 31,419 points. Five players have since passed Chamberlain, too, with LeBron James currently standing 4,300 points behind Abdul-Jabbar’s record.
1984: Richard Petty’s 200 NASCAR wins
Richard Petty is known as The King of racing for good reason. In 1984, Petty won his 200th NASCAR race, which remains the most of all-time. President Ronald Reagan was in attendance for the monumental victory and later had a meal of Kentucky Fried Chicken with Petty and other racers.
1985: Pete Rose becomes the hit king
In September 1985, Pete Rose surpassed Ty Cobb to become MLB’s all-time hit king. However, the date on which Rose achieved the feat is up for debate. Inconsistent MLB records have led some to believe Rose topped Cobb on Sept. 8, but Sept. 11 is widely regarded as the correct date. Either way, Rose finished his career with 4,256 hits.
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1986: Mike Tyson, the prodigal heavyweight champ
Mike Tyson, at just 20 years old, became the youngest heavyweight champion when he knocked out Trevor Berbick in the second round of their November 1986 fight. Tyson threw more power punches (46) than Berbick threw in the whole fight (43).
1986: Wayne Gretzky wins his 7th Hart Trophy
Wayne Gretzky won his seventh Hart Trophy (the NHL’s MVP) after the 1986 season. That gave Gretzky the most Harts, passing Gordie Howe. Gretzky finished his career with nine MVP awards.
1986: Wayne Gretzky’s 215 points in one season
During the 1985–86 NHL season, Wayne Gretzky amassed 215 points in 80 games, the most in NHL history. It was Gretzky’s third straight season with 200 or more points and culminated with his seventh straight Hart Trophy (he won eight straight overall.) Gretzky’s 163 assists that season are also an NHL record.
1988: Orel Hershiser’s 59 consecutive scoreless innings
On Aug. 30, 1988, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser pitched a complete game, including four-plus scoreless innings to close out the win. Over his next six starts, Hershiser did not allow an earned run, and another team did not score against him in a regular-season game until the 1989 season. In all, Hershiser pitched 59 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest such streak in MLB history.
1990: Derrick Thomas records 7 sacks
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg did not have a good day at the office on Nov. 11, 1990. Kansas City Chiefs pass-rusher Derrick Thomas sent Krieg to the turf seven times that afternoon, creating a new NFL record for sacks in one game.
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1991: Rickey Henderson runs past Lou Brock's record
After Rickey Henderson stole his 939th stolen base on May 1, he lifted the bag from the ground and raised it above his head. Henderson would go on to steal 1,406 bases, but his record-breaking steal that day was somewhat overshadowed by another accomplishment later that night...
1991: Nolan Ryan tosses his 7th no-hitter
Henderson’s 939th stolen base looked to be the story of the day—it happened during an afternoon game in Oakland, shortly before Nolan Ryan took the mound in Arlington for the Texas Rangers. Ryan ended up tossing his seventh career no-hitter, which still stands as the MLB record—Ryan’s sixth no-hitter came a year before, against Henderson and the Oakland Athletics. Ryan struck out 16 Blue Jays in a 3-0 victory.
1993: Bullets tall twins become tallest NBA tandem
In 1993, the Washington Bullets drafted Gheorghe Muresan, a 7 feet 7 inches tall center from Romania, who was tied as the tallest player in NBA history. Who was Muresan tied with? Teammate Manute Bol, a 7 feet 7 inches tall center from Sudan—although Bol played just two games for Washington that season.
1994: Kim Jong Il’s alleged 38-under-par round
This one’s for kicks, folks, and is hardly believable. But the story goes that in 1994, North Korean media reported that Kim Jong Il, the country’s leader at the time, shot 38 under on a par-72. Kim was said to have made five holes in one during his first time playing golf, at a course in Pyongyang. If this wild tale highlights anything, it is how the existence of a cult of personality often dominates information in North Korea.
1994: Wayne Gretzky scores his 802nd NHL goal
Entering the 1994 season, Wayne Gretzky seemed destined to pass Gordie Howe’s NHL record of 801 goals. In the weeks leading up to Gretzky’s 802nd goal, Howe spent a large amount of time with “The Great One.” After Gretzky lit the lamp for the 802nd time, a 15-minute ceremony stopped play to celebrate the new record, which he would pad with 92 more goals.
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1995: Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive-game streak
Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 consecutive games played stood as a MLB record for almost 60 years. But on Sept. 6, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. broke the record many thought was unbreakable. Ripken made his debut in 1981, and some attribute his longevity to helping revive baseball one year after a strike stopped the game.
1995: John Stockton breaks Magic Johnson’s assist mark
John Stockton’s record-breaking 9,222nd assist came in familiar fashion, with a pass to Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone. Stockton and Malone played 18 seasons together, making two NBA Finals. After topping Magic Johnson’s mark, Stockton received a video message where Johnson called him “the greatest team leader I have ever played against."
1995: Pro wrestling in North Korea draws over 300,000
In 1995, U.S.-based wrestling promotion WCW and Japanese-based promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling held a show in North Korea at Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium. The two-day event reportedly drew crowds of 150,000 and 190,000, making it the largest pro wrestling event in history. The event was partly a political ploy, as New Japan head man Antonio Inoki, who was also a politician, was looking to improve his public image among local voters.
1996: Michael Jordan wins his fourth Finals MVP
Millions are reliving Michael Jordan’s heyday with ESPN’s “The Last Dance” miniseries airing throughout the spring. Jordan won six NBA Finals MVP awards, but his fourth in 1996 gave him the most of any player. Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and LeBron James are tied for second place with three apiece.
1997: Gordie Howe’s 6 decades of hockey history
Gordie Howe first broke into the professional ranks in 1945. His NHL career ended in 1980 with the Hartford Whalers, but in 1997, Howe signed a one-day deal with the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League. No other player has played professional hockey through as many decades.
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1997: Tiger Woods become youngest Masters champion
Tiger Woods made his Masters debut in 1995 as a 19-year-old amateur. Two years later, the golf world was already waiting for his coronation, and the 21-year-old phenom set the Augusta National Golf Club ablaze with a dominant victory. At 20 years old, Jordan Spieth almost broke the record in 2014 but instead had to settle for a victory in 2015, becoming the second-youngest champion.
2001: Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs
Barry Bonds broke the MLB record for home runs in a single season when he crushed 73 long balls in 2001. Throughout the ensuing decade, baseball fans argued over the validity of the record, since steroid allegations trailed Bonds during his time in a San Francisco Giants uniform. At the time of #73, Bonds was actually considering a move to another team in the coming offseason.
2001: Seattle Mariners win 116 games
After going 116-46 during the 2001 regular season, the Seattle Mariners were clear favorites to win the World Series. Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, and John Olerud supplied the lumber, and manager Lou Piniella pulled the strings. But the Mariners could not overcome an equally stacked New York Yankees squad in the American League Championship Series and fell short of the World Series despite setting a record 116 wins.
2002: Brazil captures fifth World Cup
Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany in the 2002 World Cup Final gave them their fifth championship, the most of any country. Italy and Germany are second with four wins—during Germany’s 2014 championship run, they gained a modicum of revenge, crushing Brazil, 7-1. The 2002 World Cup also made history as the first one held in Asia and the first to be hosted by two countries (South Korea and Japan).
2002: Cael Sanderson’s 159-0 record
2002: Mark Henry lifts Thomas Inch dumbbell
Before 2002, reportedly, no one had lifted a Thomas Inch dumbbell off the floor clean with one hand. The Inch dumbbell is 172 lbs., with a handle approximately 2.5 inches in diameter. Mark Henry, a former powerlifter and professional wrestler, became the first to lift a Thomas Inch dumbbell in front of a room full of strongmen and lifters at a private dinner.
2003: Michelle Wie becomes youngest to make LPGA cut
In 2003, at only 13 years old, Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, becoming the youngest champion of a USGA-sanctioned tournament. That year, Wie also became the youngest player to make a cut at an LPGA major; Wie ended up finishing 9th at the Nabisco Championship, becoming the youngest player to finish in the top 10 of an LPGA major.
2004: Barry Bonds’ 120 intentional walks
2004: Eric Gagne’s consecutive saves streak
Early in his career, Eric Gagne was regarded mostly as a mediocre starter with a history of Tommy John surgery. After moving into the closer’s role for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gagne became a revelation. From Aug. 28, 2002, until July 3, 2004, Gagne converted 84 consecutive save attempts. Later, Gagne revealed his usage of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his career.
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2004: Lance Armstrong wins sixth Tour de France
Four cyclists have five Tour de France victories, but there was a time when one man surpassed them all. In 2004, Lance Armstrong won his sixth straight Tour de France, but his titles (seven overall) would be scratched from the record books in 2012, when Armstrong accepted a ban from the sport of cycling after evidence of doping was published in the press.
2004: Roger Clemens wins his seventh Cy Young
Roger Clemens retired in 2003, with six Cy Young awards. But Clemens changed his mind and returned in 2004, picking up his seventh Cy Young with the Houston Astros. Randy Johnson is second all-time, with five Cy Young plaques.
2006: Alan Shearer’s 260 goals
Alan Shearer finished his English Premier League career with 260 goals, the most all-time. Shearer played in 441 games over 14 seasons and leads Wayne Rooney, in second place, by 52 goals.
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson rushes for 28 TDs
LaDainian Tomlinson put up video game numbers in 2006. Aside from rushing for a record 28 touchdowns (and scoring 31 overall), LT was responsible for 186 points, breaking a 46-year record held by Paul Hornung. From Games 7–15, Tomlinson ran for 100 or more yards and two touchdowns or more in all but one game.
2007: Barry Bonds’ surpasses Hank Aaron
Six years after breaking Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record, Barry Bonds etched his name atop another list. With his 756th career homer, Bonds passed Hank Aaron for most ever by an MLB player. Aaron was mostly quiet as Bonds neared his record but videotaped a congratulatory message that was aired the night Bonds hit 756.
2008: Danica Patrick wins Indy Japan 300
Danica Patrick made her IndyCar debut in 2005 and won her first—and only race—at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. The race was Patrick’s 50th IndyCar start, and she finished almost six seconds ahead of second-place finisher Helio Castroneves.
2008: Michael Phelps tops Mark Spitz
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Michael Phelps won his record eighth gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay. Mark Spitz’s seven gold-medal performance at the 1972 Olympics was the previous high mark. Phelps’ career total of 28 Olympic medals makes him tops all-time.
2009: Chris Ridgway enters Summer X Games history
At the 2009 Summer X Games, Chris Ridgway became the first amputee to win gold. Ridgway won the adaptive Moto X class event in its first official year; previously, adaptive Moto X was a demo event, which Ridgway also won in 2008. In 2002, Ridgway had his left leg amputated below the knee after a crash several years prior.
2009: Usain Bolt runs 100m in 9.58 seconds
2010: An 11-hour Wimbledon marathon
In 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played a match at Wimbledon over three days that lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes, and went 183 games. Isner ended up winning the longest match in tour history. The match only had three service breaks, and the fifth set alone (70–68 final) lasted over eight hours.
2010: Brett Favre’s 297 consecutive starts
While not as high as Cal Ripken’s ironman streak, Brett Favre’s record of 297 consecutive starts is not too shabby (the NFL only plays 16 games per season, too). Favre’s streak spanned 19 seasons and several broken bones, but a damaged shoulder forced him to sit out a 2010 game against the New York Giants. After Favre missed the game, his website sold commemorative footballs honoring the streak, going for almost $500.
2012: 234 climbers reach summit of Mount Everest
The first person to climb Mount Everest achieved the feat in 1953. On May 19, 2012, 234 climbers reached the mountain’s summit, a new record for most in a day. Over 4,000 climbers have reached the top of Mount Everest to date.
2012: North Carolina’s 21 NCAA soccer titles
Since the NCAA women’s soccer tournament was first held in 1982, the North Carolina Tar Heels have won a record 21 titles, led by players like Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow. North Carolina won 12 of the first 13 titles, only dropping the 1985 title game, 2-0, to George Mason.
2012: Sam Groth’s 163-mph serve
2013: Matt Prater’s 64-yard field goal
Before 2013, four players had nailed field goals of 63 yards. Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater topped them all in December 2013 with a 64-yarder against the Tennessee Titans. Maybe there’s something in the (thin) air in Denver? Prater’s kick and two of the 63-yarders all took place in the Mile High City.
2013: Peyton Manning throws 55 touchdowns
In 2011, some thought Peyton Manning’s career was over after he missed the entire NFL season due to neck surgery. Two years later, Manning threw 55 touchdown passes, crushing Tom Brady’s record of 50 (Manning had the previous record of 49, set in 2004.) Manning won the MVP award but lost the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks.
2013: The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak
Results in professional wrestling are predetermined, but one streak earned respect from fans and athletes alike. WWE’s The Undertaker won 21 consecutive matches at Wrestlemania—the industry’s Super Bowl event—and put his streak on the line at Wrestlemania XXX against MMA star Brock Lesnar. Some betting sites had The Undertaker as a huge favorite, but Lesnar shockingly pinned The Undertaker, giving him his first loss at WrestleMania.
2014: Canada’s golden women’s hockey trio
Jayna Hefford, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Caroline Ouellette won four Olympic gold medals with Canada, the most by any players in Olympic hockey history. In 2018 and 2019, Hefford and Wickenheiser were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Ouellette might not be far behind.
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2014: LA Galaxy win fifth MLS Cup
The 2014 MLS Cup was a battle of league originals, and the LA Galaxy came out on top, defeating the New England Revolution. The win gave the Galaxy a record five MLS Cups, while the Revolution fell to 0-5 all-time in the Cup final.
2015: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather shatter records
Fight fans waited years for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather to face off in the ring, and their 2015 fight drew in about 4.6 million pay-per-view buys, the most in boxing history. Mayweather, who won the bout by decision, took in about $250 million, while Pacquiao earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million.
2015: Most watched Super Bowl ever
Pete Carroll might not be too happy about this one. A record 114.4 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIX on NBC, featuring the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. The dramatic game all but ended when Carroll called a pass play instead of a run near the goal line, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted, deflating a last-second comeback bid.
2016: Crushing 77 cans with an elbow in 1 minute
If there’s one record on this list that you could maybe take a run at while at home, it might be this one. In 2016, Muhammad Rashid crushed 77 cans in one minute with his elbow, setting a new world record. Then again, Rashid founded the Pakistan Academy of Martial Arts, so there’s probably no chance of a regular Joe coming close to his mark.
2016: Deng Wei adds to her world records
China’s Deng Wei executed a 147 kilogram (more than 324 lbs.) clean and jerk in the 63-kilogram category, setting a new world record at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Wei holds several other world records, including a 117-kilogram lift in the 64 kilogram-lift category.
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2016: Eva Clarke’s 3,737 pull-ups
Australian Eva Clarke holds the world record for most pull-ups in a 24-hour period. In an effort to raise funds for the Task Brazil charity, Clarke did 3,737 pull-ups on March 10, 2016. She also set another world record that same day by completing 725 pull-ups in one hour.
2016: Geno Auriemma passes John Wooden
By winning the 2016 NCAA tournament, Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma hoisted his 11th championship trophy, the most by a Division I coach. Auriemma won all 11 with the UConn Huskies, coaching stars like Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Tina Charles. Auriemma’s title stash bests the 10 won by former UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden.
2016: Golden State wins 73 games
The Golden State Warriors broke the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins by going 73-9. Steve Kerr, coach of the Warriors, was a guard on that Bulls team; however, unlike Chicago, Golden State did not win the NBA title, falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers after leading the Finals 3-1.
2016: Ichiro’s 4,257 hits
In 2016, Ichiro Suzuki reached 4,257 hits between his pro careers in Japan and MLB. That is enough to top Pete Rose’s career total in the majors and had some arguing that Ichiro’s achievement was equally or even more impressive. Whether or not he deserves the crown as the true hit king, Ichiro’s achievement is one to marvel at.
2016: Max Verstappen races into Formula One history
Max Verstappen became the youngest driver to win a Formula One Championship race at age 18 (and 228 days). The teenage speed racer took the Spanish Grand Prix in May 2016 and also became the first Dutch racer to win an F1 Championship race.
2017: Diana Taurasi passes Tina Thompson
Diana Taurasi became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer in her 13th season, passing Houston Comets great Tina Thompson, who set the former mark with 7,488 points over 17 seasons. Taurasi’s achievement was quite impressive since she spent many offseasons playing abroad, taxing her body year-round. Kobe Bryant showed his respect in attendance for Taurasi’s record-breaking day.
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2017: Sean McVay becomes NFL’s youngest coach
Sean McVay became the NFL’s youngest head coach in 2017 when he was tapped to lead the Los Angeles Rams at age 30. In his second season, McVay led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance. Lane Kiffin, who began coaching the Oakland Raiders in 2007, is the second-youngest to coach a team at 31 years, eight months.
2017: Serena Williams sets several records in Australia
The main course of Serena Williams’ 2017 Australian Open victory was that it gave her 23 Grand Slam titles, which broke a tie with Steffi Graf for the most in the Open era. But Williams, then 35, also set other Open-era records, becoming the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam, and in capturing her seventh Australian Open.
2017: Sorry, Atlanta: 28–3
The biggest comeback in Super Bowl history occurred on Feb. 5, 2017. The Atlanta Falcons held a 28-3 lead on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI but allowed 31 unanswered points and lost the game. Even Patriots fans thought the game was over: Mark Wahlberg was seen leaving the Super Bowl early with his hometown team getting thrashed.
2017: UConn women wins 91 straight games
The UConn Huskies women’s basketball team owns a plethora of college basketball records. In 2017, they extended a winning streak to 91 games, the most in NCAA history. UConn broke the previous record of 90, which was set by earlier Huskies teams, and in all won 111 straight games before a loss in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
2018: Joey Chestnut eats 74 hot dogs
The Nathan’s annual July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contest has become a widely viewed event. The hunger-inducing, sometimes gross contest sets records, too. In 2018, Joey Chestnut set a new world record, eating 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes—breaking his previous record of 72.
2018: Marit Bjørgen’s 15 Winter Olympic medals
2018: Matt Ryan breaks the bank
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan might not have a Super Bowl ring, but he did sign the richest contract in NFL history in 2018. Ryan signed a five-year, $150 million deal, with $100 million guaranteed.
2018: Roger Federer wins his 20th Grand Slam
By winning the 2018 Australian Open, Roger Federer won his 20th Grand Slam title, the most all-time by a men’s tennis player. Federer, who won his first Grand Slam in 2003 at Wimbledon, remains one title ahead of Rafael Nadal, who has 19 and is five years younger.
2019: Coach K becomes all-time winningest coach
2019: Eliud Kipchoge breaks the 2-hour marathon mark
The concept of a two-hour marathon time has long been the holy grail of runners. In late 2019, Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier on a course in Vienna, completing 26.2 miles in 1:59:40. However, the time is not recognized as a world record, since the race was run outside of open marathon conditions, and because of the composition of the field of professional pacesetters.
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2019: Joe Burrow sets college TD mark
LSU’s Joe Burrow broke the NCAA’s single-season passing touchdown record with a four-yard pass to Thaddeus Moss in the 2020 National Championship Game. Burrow finished his final season at LSU with a Heisman Trophy and 60 touchdowns passes, two more than Hawaii’s Colt Brennan (58) in 2006.
2019: Mariano Rivera earns unanimous election
Before 2019, none of the hundreds of members of the Baseball Hall of Fame entered the hallowed halls by unanimous vote—not Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, nor Randy Johnson. That summer, though, Mariano Rivera became the first to appear on 100% of baseball writers’ ballots, thanks to a career in which he became the majors’ all-time leader in saves.
2019: Mike Trout’s $430 million contract
2019: Simone Biles sets world record
2019: Tom Brady gets fitted for a sixth ring
Tom Brady entered Super Bowl LIII tied with Charles Haley for most Super Bowls won by a player. By outmaneuvering the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, Brady captured his sixth ring, all with the New England Patriots. The win also tied the Patriots with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins.
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2019: U.S. wins fourth World Cup
The United States women’s national soccer team captured their fourth World Cup title in 2019, the most in women’s soccer. The first tournament was held in 1991, and Germany is the only other two-time winner. Norway and Japan have also won titles.
2019: UFC’s 5-second KO
At UFC 239, Jorge Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren in five seconds, the fastest KO in UFC history. Masvidal won the bout with a knee, followed by a series of punches to a defenseless opponent.
2020: Aaron Gordon’s perfectly imperfect run
Aaron Gordon scored perfect 50s on his first five dunks at the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, giving him a total of eight all-time, the most in NBA dunk contest history. However, Gordon lost the 2020 contest in a judged dunk-off, which many NBA fans blamed on judge Dwyane Wade, a former teammate of winner Derrick Jones Jr.
2020: Christine Sinclair’s 186 goals
Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair holds the record for most international goals with 186. Earlier this year, Sinclair passed American star Abby Wambach and maybe has her sights on 200. “When I get tired of scoring, that’s when I’ll stop playing,” Sinclair told reporters after netting #186.
2020: Super Mario Bros. speedrun record
During the 21st century, gaming has become more recognized in the sports world. Recently, gamer Kosmic set a new fastest time in beating Super Mario Bros., posting a mark of 4:55.646. Over 1 million viewers have watched this speedrun on YouTube, and speedruns in other classic games make up one of the most popular genres of competitive gaming.
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