Retired Norwegian mountain biker and triathlete Rune Høydahl was born on this day in 1969. The only mountain biker to have been World Champion in both downhill and cross country, Rune achieved eleven World Champion titles in total, winning five consecutively, and represented his nation twice in the Olympics. He won the 2004 Norseman Triathlon (equal distances to Ironman competitions) after he'd retired. Having made wise use of his winnings, he now runs his own professional mountain bike team, Etto-Høydahl.
|Paolo Longo Borghini|
German track cyclist Rudi Mirke, who was born on the 16th of June in 1920, died at the Funkturm Track on this day during the Six Days of Berlin event in 1951. Two years previously, Mirke had played himself in the film Um eine Nasenlänge ("To a Nose").
"Citizen" Karl Drais
Today marks the death in 1851 of Baron Karl Drais, inventor of the Laufmaschine ("running machine") - a device featuring two wheels, one behind the other and connected by a wooden bean fitted with a seat so that it could be pushed along the ground using the feet. Known later as the Draisienne or velocipede, it is credited as being the first bicycle.
|Drais aboard his Laufmaschine|
Drais was, by any standards, a remarkable man for his time and in 1848 he publicly renounced his nobility, stating that he wished to be known as Citizen Karl Drais in support of the French Revolution. The Prussian government viciously suppressed a revolution of their own the following year and, viewing Drais as an enemy of the establishment, seized his pension and belongings to assist in covering the costs of preventing unrest. He died destitute two years later.
Other birthdays: John Bettison (Great Britain, 1940); Sergio Ghisalberti (Italy, 1979); Enrico Brusoni (Italy, 1878, died 1949); Ladislav Fouček (Czechoslovakia, 1930, died 1974); Viktor Klimov (USSR, 1964); David Miranda (El Salvador, 1942); Vitali Petrakov (USSR, 1954); Hiroshi Yamao (Japan, 1943).