Sport's outstanding streaks and unbelievable runs
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Tuesday 29 November 2011
run of 43 league games without defeat was brought to an end last night.
Lee Clark’s side passed the previous Football League record of 42 but could go only one game further before they were beaten 2-0 by League One leaders Charlton.
With the run now at an end, we take a look at some other outstanding streaks in the world of sport, and some that you may have missed...
American Samoa, 17 year losing streak
The lowest team in Fifa’s world rankings ended a run of 30 defeats last week when they beat Tonga 2-1. It was the small nation’s first victory for 17 years.
Caltech basketball team, 26 year losing streak
The Caltech men’s basketball team ended a 26-year losing streak that had spanned 310 games when they beat Occidental 46-45 in February this year. The team play in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Cal Ripken, Junior, 2,632 consecutive games
Ripken spent his entire 21-year baseball career at Barlitmore Orioles, and the moment he passed the 56-year-old record of 2,131 games was later voted the ‘Most Memorable Moment’ is MLB history.
Martina Navratilova, 74 match winning streak
Martina Navratilova is quite simply the greatest women’s player to ever pick up a tennis racket. The Czechoslovakian won 18 Grand Slam singles titles in her career, along the way setting a record of 74 matches undefeated. Across her long career, she went 17 straight years with a Grand Slam victory, either in singles, doubles or mixed-doubles.
Lance Armstrong, seven Tour de France titles in a row
Lance Armstrong won seven-straight Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005, a remarkable achievement that was made all the more incredible due to the serious health issues the American cyclist had suffered.
Gambler, 26 bet winning streak
An anonymous gambler was on a 26 bet winning streak. Placing large bets on likely outcomes, the 33-year-old turned £8,500 into £161,000. He announced his last stake would be placed on Novak Djokovic (who was on a 43 match winning streak of his own) to beat Roger Federer at the 2011 French Open. Djokovic lost and the anonymous gambler threw £120,000 away. Yet the gambler was still up on his original stake and, according to William Hill, had set a world record for the longest winning sequence of bets.
Chris Dudley, 13 straight missed free throws
The NBA journeyman set an NBA record in 1990, proving that 13 is indeed unlucky for some.
Michael Williams, 97 straight free throws made
In contrast to Chris, Michael Williams made free-throwing look easy – shooting 97 in a row in 1993 to claim the NBA record.
Arsenal's 49-game win streak,
Between 7 May 2003 and 16 October 2004 Arsenal were unbeatable, going 49 league games without defeat and with it setting a record for the longest streak since the Football League began. The previous record of 42, which has now been surpassed by Huddersfield, had been set by Nottingham Forest in the late 70s.
Roger Federer, 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances
Among a multitude of records that have seen Roger Federer labelled the greatest player of all time, it is his 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals, spanning a period of five-and-a-half-years the demonstrate his consistency and sheer brilliance.
Edwin Moses, 122
straight hurdle wins
While setting the world record in the 400 metre hurdles on four occasions and winning the Olympic gold medal twice, Edwin Moses won an incredible 122 races in a row over a period that spanned nearly a decade between 1977 and 1987.
Wilt Chamberlain, 126 games over 20 points
Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain went through an incredible 126 games scoring 20 points or more. The four-time MVP also holds the record for more most consecutive 30+ points games, 40+ points games and 50+ points games.
Paul the Psychic Octopus, eight game predicting run
Paul the Psychic Octopus was busy predicting games during Euro 2008 but he became a worldwide phenomenon during the 2010 World Cup. The eight legged sea creature correctly predicted the winner of Germany’s seven matches at the tournament as well as the outcome of the final, which was won by Spain.
Home run catches, three catches
A 17-year-old Baltimore fan was thrust into the national spotlight after he caught a home run ball in three straight Orioles matches during August of this year. After catching the balls in the left field bleachers of Camden Yards and with luck clearly on his side, Tim Anderson said if he were old enough, he would have bought a lottery ticket.
Esther Vergeer, Wheelchair Tennis
Since 2003, Esther Vergeer has 413 consecutive wins. The 29-year-old from the Netherlands won 37 Grand Slam singles titles and five titles at the Paralympic Games, including the doubles competition. It is considered the most dominant professional sporting achievement of all time.
Jim Rome, interviewing 20 people called Rex
Jim Rome is a sports radio talk show host in the United States. On his regular weekday broadcast in 2009, he interviewed at least one person named "Rex" for 20 straight shows.
Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, 39 consecutive cuts
With 18 titles to his name, Jack Nicklaus ensured he made the cut 39 consecutive times in major championships. So when the potential heir to his thrown, Tiger Woods, reached the same number in 2006, it seemed inevitable he would surpass the record. Yet it was not to be. After the death of Woods' father, the American took a nine-week hiatus from the tour. He returned for the US Open, but missed the cut, and tied with Nicklaus' record.
Kansas City Wizards, 10 and half hours without a goal
Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards went over 10 and half hours, 637 minutes to be exact, without scoring a goal. This goalless spell covering 1998 and 1999 coincided with the team having their lowest attendance in franchise history.
Sir Steve Redgrave, five golds at five Olympics
Sir Steve certainly earned his knighthood. The rower put together a run of gold medals in five successive Olympic Games. Starting back in 1984 in Los Angeles, and then at Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and finishing in Sydney in 2000, the achievement stands alone. Sir Steve is well remembered for when after winning gold in 1996, he said if anyone found him close to a rowing boat they could shoot him. Thankfully they didn't and he was back at the next Olympics to do it all over again.
Bill Bergen, 45 consecutive
The defensive catcher was notoriously useless when on the offensive. Among his embarrassing batting records was a run of 45 consecutive at-bats without a base hit. Bergen set the record in 1909, yet incredibly it was broken this year by Eugenio Velez, a fellow Brooklyn Dodgers player.
Frankie Dettori, seven wins
Pint-sized Italian and general cheeky chap Frankie Dettori put together a memorable run at Royal Ascot in 1996. On a seven-race card, he was to ride every winner of the day. His achievement cleaned out the bookies and even halted the BBC Final Score program when it was delayed so that they could show live coverage of his success.
Julio Cesar Chavez , 87 fight winning streak
In a career spanning 25 years, Julio Cesar Chavez earned the right to be considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. The Mexican's incredible punching power and relentless stalking of opponents, not to mention becoming world champion on six occasions, mark him down as one of the greatest ever boxers. During that 25 year career, Chavez went on a 13-year streak in which he won all of his 87 fights.
Jose Mourinho, 150 games unbeaten
One of the most incredible streaks belongs to manager Jose Mourinho. Spanning 150 matches between 2002 and 2011, the Portuguese did not lose a single league home match. The record spanned four clubs, Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid – and was finally ended in April when his current club were beaten by Sporting Gijon at the Bernaneu.
Jahangir Khan, 555 match winning streak
Pakistan's Jahangir Khan holds what many consider to be the longest winning streak in professional sporting history. Between 1981 and 1986, the squash player entered 555 matches. He won all of them. During his career he won the World Open six times and the British Open a record ten consecutive times. Khan is pictured here carrying the Olympic torch before the 2008 Beijing Games.
Robert Dee, ‘world’s worst tennis player’
British youngster Robert Dee went on a record-breaking run of 54 straight-set losses on the international professional circuit. He did not win a single match during his first three years on the circuit, touring at an estimated cost of £200,000. In 2008 his awful run ended at the Reus tournament near Barcelona as he beat an unranked 17-year-old, Arzhang Derakshani, 6-4, 6-3. However he lost in the second round. When Dee was labelled the 'world's worst tennis player' by several news outlets he attacked in a manner he never managed on the tennis court and threatened legal action. However a judge upheld comments made by The Daily Telegraph and Dee had to face up to yet another defeat.
Latest in Sport
With the top nine players in the men’s world tennis rankings all missing this tournament to prepare ...
by Gareth Purnell
21 May 2013 02:01 AM
When cyclists look back on their careers spanning many hundreds (and in some cases possibly thousand...
by Martin Ayres
20 May 2013 06:12 PM
As England’s new football strip – made by Nike – is revealed today, new research shows the English F...
by Alex Miller
20 May 2013 04:52 PM
Why Spurs will break the bank to keep Gareth Bale this summer
Jose Mourinho clear to rejoin Chelsea as departure clears the way for Real Madrid to move for Gareth Bale to become Cristiano Ronaldo's successor
Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
Sam Wallace: As he leaves Real Madrid, make no mistake - Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea will only end in tears
- 2 Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
- 3 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 4 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 5 Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.