When, and what, was the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’?

The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, so-christened by boxing promoter Don King, was a legendary heavyweight championship fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa, Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – on October 30, 1974. Foreman, 25, was the undefeated world heavyweight champion, with a pre-fight record of 40 wins, 37 by knockout. By contrast, Ali, 32, first became world heavyweight champion in 1964 but, having been stripped of the title in 1967, surrendered his own unbeaten record, by unanimous decision, to Joe Frazier in the so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Few observers believed Ali could regain the title from his significantly younger opponent.

However, Ali had other ideas and adopted the now infamous ‘rope-a-dope’ tactic in an effort to weaken the punching power of his opponent. Round after round, Ali adopted an uncharacteristically defensive stance against the ropes, allowing Foreman to pummel his arms and body with hundreds of powerful blows, while taunting him to throw wilder and wilder punches. By the eighth round, Foreman had punched himself virtually to a standstill and, seizing the opportunity, Ali produced his own flurry of left and right hooks, sending his opponent head-first towards the canvas. Foreman was still struggling to rise when he was counted out. Ali had won and, in so doing, become only the second boxer in history to regain the world heavyweight title.

Who was Tiger Woods’ caddy when he won his first major?

Tiger Woods won his first major championship, the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, at the age of 21, in April, 1997. Woods’ victory came less than eight months after his professional debut, at the Greater Milwaukee Open at the Brown Deer Park Golf Course in Wisconsin, the previous August. His caddy at Augusta National was Michael ‘Fluff’ Cowan, so nicknamed by fellow caddies because of his bushy, white moustache and resemblance to former golf analyst Steve Melnyk, who bore the same epithet during his college days.

Already approaching 50 years old, Cowan had previously worked for Peter Jacobsen for 19 years, but joined Woods, with the blessing of his former employer, in the autumn of 1996. Woods once described Cowan as the ‘best caddy in the world’, but their working relationship lasted only until March, 1999, when Cowan was released for ‘undisclosed’ reasons. Nevertheless, Cowan, now aged 71, remains a well-known and well-respected caddy on the PGA Tour and, since 1999, has carried the bag of Jim Furyk.

Are all racecourses essentially the same?

At a superficial level, it can be argued that all pay-at-the-gate enclosed racecourses are fundamentally the same. They all consist of a long, wide track, surrounded by rails, which define the racing surface, with various starting points and a winning post, which marks the finishing point of each race.

However, Britain is blessed with 60 racecourses catering for horse racing on the flat, over jumps, or both and, while some of them are similar in certain respects, they all have their own unique characteristics. Most flat races, and all jump races, are run on turf, but six British racecourses – Chelmsford, Kempton, Lingfield, Newcastle, Southwell and Wolverhampton – cater for flat racing on synthetic, or ‘all-weather’ surfaces, known as Fibresand, Polytrack and Tapeta.

Even on turf courses, the overall shape and topology of the racing surface, the direction in which the horses run – that is, left-handed, or clockwise, or right-handed, or anti-clockwise – the length of the home straight and other characteristics often determine the type of horse that is most effective on the course. Some racecourses are completely flat, while others have pronounced undulations, uphill and downhill, and/or adverse cambers to throw horses off balance. Similarly, some racecourses have broad, sweeping turns, while others have tighter bends, or are constantly on the turn, favouring the agile, nimble type of horse. Of course, in jump racing, especially steeplechasing, the ‘stiffness’ of the fences – governed by the density of the birch cuttings from which they are made – is something else to consider.

What are the dimensions of a cricket pitch?

The size of the field on which cricket is played varies from ground to ground. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), or ‘The G’ for short, is the largest cricket ground in the world with a total capacity of over 100,000. Situated in Yarra Park, Melbourne, Victoria, The G has a playing area with an area of over six acres with the better part of a hundred yards to the nearest boundary.

Nevertheless, the dimensions of the cricket pitch in Melbourne are exactly the same as they are anywhere else in the world. According to the Laws of Cricket, owned and maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the pitch is always a rectangular area measuring 22 yards in length by 10 feet in width. A bowling crease – that is, the line from behind which a bowler delivers the ball – marks each end of the pitch and the wicket at each end, which measures 28 inches high by nine inches wide, is set along the bowling crease. The batting, or popping, crease is marked four feet in front to the wicket each end and the return creases, between which the bowler must deliver the ball, are marked four feet and four inches either side of the middle stump at each end, at 90° to the bowling crease.

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