A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Jan. 6, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Jan. 6.

It was on this date in 1994 that U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right knee as she finished up practice for the upcoming U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Her attacker fled, leaving the injured Kerrigan to withdraw from the competition. It was won by her leading rival, Tonya Harding.

Despite Kerrigan's non-participation, U.S. Figure Skating officials named her AND Harding to the U.S. Olympic team. Kerrigan would win a silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Norway, while Harding could finish no better than 8th place.

In the meantime, the attack on Kerrigan was traced to four men with links to Harding, including her ex-husband. Harding denied having anything to do with the attack, but admitted she knew about it. She was later banned for life from competitive skating.

Hong Kong's days as a British colony were numbered from this date in 1950, when Britain extended formal diplomatic recognition to the Communist government of what people then called "Red China" -- the People's Republic of China, founded by Mao Tse-tung.

An agreement on this date in 1999 ended the six-month player lockout by owners of National Basketball Association teams. The labor dispute had threatened to wipe out the entire 1998-99 season.

Samuel F.B. Morse and his partner, Alfred Vail, publicly demonstrated their new invention, the telegraph, for the first time on this date in 1838 in Morristown, N.J. In less than a generation, telegraph lines were stretching from coast to coast.

The first test-tube quadruplets, all boys, were born in Melbourne, Australia, on this date in 1984. Doctors don't like to call them "test-tube" babies, preferring to describe the method of their conception as "in-vitro fertilization" -- as if people believed the infants were grown in test tubes.

A Pan American Airways plane arrived in New York on this date in 1942 to complete the first around-the-world flight by a commercial airliner.

It was on this date in 1759 that George Washington married widow Martha Dandridge Custis. Washington may be known as the "father of our country," but he sired no children of his own -- possibly owing to a bout of smallpox as a child. Martha, by the way, had two children from her previous marriage.

Paavo Nurmi was dubbed the "Flying Finn" and regarded as the greatest runner of his day. He showed why on this date in 1925 when he set world records in the mile and 5,000-meter run within the space of one hour in his first U.S. appearance, an indoor meet at New York City's new Madison Square Garden. A year earlier, Nurmi had won five gold medals in the 1924 Olympics, setting two Olympic marks along the way.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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