Historic, unlikely and nearly unbreakable records in sports only come along every so often – but two in one day? That’s why June 23, 2010 will be etched in sports history forever.
The sun rose just like any other day. Only, this time, it was a bit different. Thousands of Americans were hopeful that the United States soccer team would soon find a way to advance out of Group C and into the 2010 World Cup’s next round.
In the first half of its match with Algeria, the US team ran into the norm – missed opportunities, wide-open nets and yet another disallowed goal due to a controversial (and incorrect) call by a World Cup referee.
The second half was more of the same. The boys in red, white and blue had plenty more chances, most notably a Clint Dempsey shot off the post – followed by a rebound that sailed wide left of a wide open net.
Then, with the clock hitting the 90th minute, it was down to extra time, or a disappointing World Cup exit. That’s because England was leading Slovenia.
That’s when history happened – as the United States executed a perfect play, ignited by goalie Tim Howard, who tossed the ball halfway down the field to the soon-to-be hero Landon Donovan.
Donovan quickly passed it over to Jozy Altidore, who crossed it to Clint Dempsey – who then attempted to get the ball by Algerian goalie Rais M’Bolhi.
With the ball squirting out of the goalie’s hands and Dempsey flipping over him (and almost into the goal) – thousands of American hearts skipped a beat in unison.
But Donovan was there to follow on the rebound – and launched it into the back of the net, leaving the stadium in a complete frenzy – and an entire nation, too.
In the 91st minute, the United States had taken a 1-0 lead in the game – and only a few short minutes later, the US had stolen away Group C.
The win marked history for US Soccer. It was the first time that an American team won its World Cup since 1930.
Call it the “shot heard around the planet”, and also the latest goal score in US World Cup history.
But even after history was made, the day was not over.
At Wimbledon in England, even more history was being made. American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut were locked in a grudge match of longlasting proportion.
This tennis match didn’t just break records – it completely shattered them… and the match isn’t even over yet!
4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 59-59 – they almost as numbers that could match that of the LOST television show phenomenon.
With the records they hold within them, it’s possible that they do.
No, the above is NOT a typo. There’s no need to clean your glasses or wash your face. Isner and Mahut have indeed posted 118 games in their record-breaking fifth set.
That’s approximately three times the total of the previous record in a Grand Slam tournament.
And again, must we remind you that the match is NOT over yet? It’s heading into its third day, including over seven hours of play today. In fact, the seven-hour stretch only featured a short bathroom break. Only darkness could end it (for the time being).
Good luck breaking this new record.
The funny part is: Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for the Nationals later in the day. He pitched six strong innings, striking out nine and giving up one run. Still, the running joke was that with the way this day was going, Strasburg would likely throw a perfect game or a no-hitter.
It was instead the first loss of his young baseball career.
It was an early summer day. Basketball, hockey and football (American football) are all on hiatus. The only unbreakable record in people’s minds was Dimaggio’s hit streak.
Instead, June 23, 2010 brought us two incredible new records – in two unlikely sports. Two sports that are often not among the country’s first choices to view.
Perhaps that will change going forward, thanks to US soccer, Landon Donovan, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.
Mark it down – a day etched in sports history… June 23, 2010.
Update (June 24, 2010 – Noon Eastern):
The tennis match finally came to an end, with John Isner defeating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the 5th set. Both players will receive an honor following the Wimbledon match.