High-Fives : London’s Sporting Moments #1

Mark. Set. Go. Unless you’ve been living on another blog for the past few weeks you’ll know that in 2018, we’ve been in business 25 years – making us one of the oldest established Self Storage companies in the UK. An awful lot of water has gone under London’s bridges in the time we’ve been the providing storage for Londoners – and we’re reflecting on all of it through a celebratory series called High-Fives: looking at the events and history that would have been making conversation over the counters in our stores since 1993.

In this series, we’re looking at Sports – which seems appropriate, given the popularity for storing sports equipment in our storage units. London plays host to some iconic annual events – Wimbledon, the Boat Race, and the London Marathon are stand-outs – as well as plenty of Championship series and of course, the Olympics in 2012. So get your runners on, because we’re firing the starting gun on the ups, downs, jumps, leaps, forward, backward, twists and turns of athletic ability that made the news. And for leg 1 of this 5 part relay we’ve set the start line in 1993 – it’s when we were opening our first storage unit doors in Camden …

1993- London’s Arsenal lift the FA Cup

In the Boat Race Cambridge, using the now standard ‘cleaver blades’ for the first time, comprehensively trounced Oxford by 3 1/2 lengths. Their win, in the 4th fastest time ever, and prevented the overall score from being leveled – which would have been the first time that had happened since 1929.

The London Marathon Elite Races were won by Brit Eamonn Martin – the Commonwealth 10,000 metre champion – who completed the course in 2:10:50. Germany’s Katrin Dorre won the Women’s elite in 2:27:09.

In the FA Cup Final at Wembley Arsenal drew 1-1- with Sheffield Wednesday – but came through i extra time 5 days later to win the replay 2-1.

Steffi Graf beat Jana Novotna to successfully defend her ladies singles Championship at Wimbledon – her fifth Wimbledon title overall. Meanwhile, Pete Sampras won only his second Grand Slam – and his first Wimbledon – in the men’s final.

1994  – A certain Pete Sampras took his first Wimbledon title. 

On the Thames Cambridge took their overall tally of boat race wins to 71 (Oxford on 68), beating their opponents by a resounding 6 1/2 lengths. It was their first successful defence of the title since 1973.

The London Marathon was hit by high winds, which especially impact the women’s race. Katrin Dorre won for the third time, but at 2:32:34 hers remains the slowest winning time in the elite race’s history. The wind also put pay to a world record attempt in the men’s race by Mexican Dionicio Ceron, but he still completed the course in a stunning 2:08:53.

The FA Cup final in May was a one-sided affair. Chelsea were the ‘home’ London side, but were comprehensively trounced 4-0 by Manchester United – who having also just won the Premier League, made it their first double.

Pete Sampras continued his run of grass court form – defeating Goran Ivanisevic to take the men’s singles title and his fifth Grand Slam. In the ladies singles, Conchita Martínez provided an upset defeating 9 times champion Martina Navratilova.

1995 –  A nailbiting London Marathon. 

London’s most famous rowing race was won by Cambridge for the third successive year. Their winning streak meaning they pulled 4 clear of their rivals to make it 72-68.

Both men’s and women’s elite races in the London Marathon provided nailbiting action. Dionicio Cernon successfully defended his 1994 title,- but only after chasing down Antonio Pinto with 5 miles to go and then beating Steve Moneghetti in a sprint finish.  In the women’s race, it was a three-way fight in the closing stages. Pole Malgorzata Sobanska triumphed over Manuela Machado by 10 seconds, who beat Finn Ritva Lemettinen by 7 seconds.

The 1995 FA cup at Wembley was the 50th since the end of World War II. It was a North West lockout with Everton taking on Manchester United. The Toffees eventually winning 1-0.

Steffi Graf rebound form to beat Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the Wimbledon women’s singles final.  A resurgent Boris Becker made it to the final two but was pipped by that man again – as Pete Sampras took his third consecutive men’s singles title at the Championships in four sets – after losing the first in a tie-break.

1996 – The second fastest Boat Race ever. 

On the river, Cambridge maintained their winning streak to make it four in a row, winning by 2 1/2 lengths, the time of 16minutes and 58 seconds was the second fastest to date in the event’s history.

The women’s elite race in the marathon provided some great action for the home crowds. Liz McColgan played it cool allowing an early break to gain 2 minutes on her – but stayed in touch to chase down Norway’s Anita Hakenstadand win by over two minutes.  In the Men’s Elite race, Dionicio Ceron made it a hat-trick. In what was the hottest race to date (21ºC at the finish line) the Mexican spending most of the race there or thereabouts at the back of the pack before chasing the breaking at 35km.

Manchester United were at Wembley again in 1996 for another all North Western affair as they took on Red rivals Liverpool. IN what was mostly a dull game, Eric Cantona was closely marked, but a little bit of magic from the Frenchman firing the ball through crowded penalty area late on – in the 85th minute.

Occasionally Wimbledon throws up a curveball. 1996 was one of those years as Dutchman Richard Krajicek beat Pete Sampras in the quarters and saw off MaliVai Washington in straight sets to win his only Grand Slam.  It was something of a Deja Vu about the Ladies final – as Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicar and took her seventh Wimbledon title.

1997 – Sampras back to form at Wimbledon. 

A slower race than 1996, it was nip-and-tuck for much of the way, but the Boat Race was eventually won once again by Cambridge who eventually took it by two lengths, making it a clean sweep from 1993 – 1997.

The streets of London rang to the sound of Antonio Pinto’s running shoes as he took victory on the line from Stefano Baldini. There were 2 seconds between them, but Pintos time was the fastest yet for the London Marathon course – beating Steve Jones’ 12-year-old record. It was an equally fast year in the women’s race – with 6 of the top ten women finishing with personal bests for the course.  The race was won in nail-biting fashion by the 1996 runner-up – Joyce Chepchumba on the line from Liz McColgan – to avenge the latter’s win a year earlier.

One set of supporters didn’t have to travel two far to Wembley’s familiar twin towers for eth FA cup, as Chelsea took on Middlesbrough.  Roberto Di Matteo took just 42 seconds to find the back of the net – making the fastest goal in FA cup history.

At Wimbledon, Pete Sampras put the defeat of 1996 well and truly behind him, with victory over Frenchman Cedric Pioline.  In the ladies final it was all-change. Jana Novotna was beaten by Martina Hingis claiming her one and only Ladies Singles title at the Championships.

Right, that’s the first leg over. So please look away while we take a pitstop and we’ll be back shortly for the next leg…


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