Horse racing, basketball, tennis, golf, hockey, soccer. History was made in each of them last weekend, in what has to be considered one of the most memorable two days ever in sports.
For anyone who isn’t into sports — and for some that are — let’s recap what made this past weekend one for the history books. Literally.
Starting with the obvious, Saturday saw one of the most elusive achievements in sports pulled off for the first time in 37 years, a horse won the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. Six U.S. presidents had occupied the Oval Office since the last time a horse won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes — and only 12 horses have done so in 140 years.
American Pharoah (sic) and his jockey Victor Espinoza ran the Belmont in dominant fashion, winning the race by over five lengths. Espinoza also made history by being the first Latino jockey to win the Triple Crown.
The NBA Finals are two games into a best-of-seven series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors and last weekend, the series became historically good. Both games — including Sunday night’s thriller — have gone to overtime. It’s the first time in the 68-year history of the NBA finals that the first two games of the series have gone to overtime.
Game three is set for Tuesday night in Cleveland, with the series tied at 1-1.
Saturday saw game two of the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals aired on NBC — to a record-size television audience. According to Nielsen, the game, which saw the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3, earned a 4.8 overnight rating for NBC. That number is the highest rating for any game two of a Stanley Cup finals series since the network acquired the rights to it 10 years ago, according to Yahoo.
The French Open wrapped up over the weekend and a bit of history was made in both the men’s and women’s championship matches. On the men’s side, 30-year-old Stan Wawrinka won the tournament, making him the first player not named Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer to do so since 2004. Wawrinka topped Novak Djokovic in four sets on Sunday.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams won her third French Open title and combined with a win at the Australian Open earlier this year, has the chance to win all four Grand Slams in 2015 — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1988. Williams’ win also gave her 20 career Grand Slam wins, moving her to sole possession of third on the all-time career list.
Friday night’s soccer match between the United States men’s national team and the Netherlands was perhaps an indication as to how great the weekend would be in sports. The match has already been hailed as an instant classic, with the Americans scoring a goal in the 90th minute to complete a 4-3 comeback victory in Amsterdam.
The result was historic as it was the first time the American men’s soccer team had ever beat the Netherlands. The two countries had played each other five times previously.
Not all history can be positive. On Saturday, at a PGA Tour event in Ohio, Tiger Woods shot the worst round of his storied 19-year professional golf career. Finishing with a quadruple bogey on the 18th hole, Woods finished with an 85, finishing in last place on Sunday.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.