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Cecil Whig - - ACCENT -

It was on this day many years — Aug. 17, 1933 — that Lou Gehrig played in his 1,308th con­sec­u­tive game, which broke the pre­vi­ous record held by for­mer Yan­kee Everett Scott. Gehrig would go on to play a record 2,130 games in a row, which stood un­til 1995 when Bal­ti­more Ori­ole and Mary­land na­tive Cal Rip­ken, Jr., bested it.

Gehrig be­came known as “The Iron Horse;” Rip­ken as “The Iron Man.”

A dif­fer­ent kind of iron legacy would con­tinue to take root on Aug. 19, 1964, when the Bea­tles played the first show of their first North Amer­i­can tour in San Fran­cisco.

Be­cause he feared the band would not sell out larger arena, man­ager Brian Ep­stein booked the 17,000-seat Cow Palace arena, which was filled eas­ily con­sid­er­ing the hype sur­round­ing the four young men from Liver­pool. Their ap­pear­ance on the Ed Sul­li­van show sev­eral months ear­lier in the year was still fresh in pop cul­ture con­scious­ness.

Sev­eral peo­ple at the show were in­jured in the midst of the rau­cous crowd, and although none of the Bea­tles were hurt, they left the arena in an am­bu­lance af­ter their limou­sine was swarmed by crazed fans.

Some 40-plus years ear­lier, a now world-renown sport was get­ting its first dose of pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

On Aug. 20, 1920, le­gendary ath­lete Jim Thorpe and six oth­ers met to es­tab­lish the first pro­fes­sional foot­ball league in Can­ton, Ohio. They wound up cre­at­ing the Amer­i­can Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball Con­fer­ence, which stands now as a grand­fa­ther of sorts to the Na­tional Foot­ball League of to­day.

Be­fore th­ese Olympic Games in Rio, or those in Lon­don, or those even in Bei­jing, Michael Phelps was vy­ing to be the great­est swim­mer that world com­pe­ti­tion had ever seen.

A 19-year-old Phelps went to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in­tent on break­ing fel­low Amer­i­can swim­mer Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals. He didn’t ac­com­plish that goal, but on Aug. 21, 2004, Phelps won his eighth over­all medal, ty­ing Soviet gym­nast Alek­sandr Dity­atin for the most at a sin­gle Olympic Games.

Twelve years later, with the Mary­land-born Phelps now of­fi­cially re­tired from pro­fes­sional swim­ming af­ter a strong show­ing at the Rio Games, we can more eas­ily rec­og­nize him as the great­est male swim­mer — and maybe the best Olympic ath­lete — that any­one has ever seen.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF WIKI COM­MONS

Michael Phelps cel­e­brates with his team­mates af­ter win­ning his record-set­ting eighth gold medal in the 2008 Sum­mer Olympic Games in Bei­jing. He had tried to ac­com­plish this feat in the Games in Athens four years ear­lier, but came up short — win­ning his eight over­all medal on Aug. 21, 2004.

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