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Friday, February 2, 2024

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 16 - John McEnroe, tennis player  

Known for his skill at shot-making, volleying, and yelling at umpires and tennis authorities, John McEnroe captivated the tennis world for a few brief years in the 1980s. A rival of Björn Borg and Jimmy Connors, he remains the sole male player to simultaneously hold the No. 1 rankings in singles and doubles titles since the ATP rankings were first generated in 1973. He still holds the record for best singles win record (82-3 in 1984) in the Open Era, besides holding the most combined singles (77) and doubles (78) titles in the Open Era.

As if that weren’t enough, McEnroe is the only man to win over 70 titles in combined singles and doubles, including four at the US Open and three at Wimbledon, nine men’s doubles titles, and a Grand slam mixed doubles title. He also contributed to five Davis Cup wins for the US at a time when Connors had dismissed the event. 

If you want your grandchild to walk in his footsteps, start him or her in lessons at age eight, then enroll the child in the Eastern Lawn Tennis Association the following year. By the age of 12, your grandchild should rank seventh in their age group. Easy peasy. Evidently, a similar formula worked well for McEnroe’s brother Patrick, who was also a pro tennis player.

These days, McEnroe is a seasoned sports commentator. He has made cameo appearances on television and written two autobiographical books. He remains married to rock singer Patty Smyth, with whom he has two children. He founded the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York. McEnroe remains active and fit.

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 17 - Rowdy Gaines, swimmer

Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines didn’t find the sport of competitive swimming until he was a junior in high school, but he was a quick study. He got a scholarship and was a five-time NCAA champion at Auburn University.

Gaines set 10 world records during his peak years, specializing in the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle sprints. Although he won three gold medals for the 100-meter freestyle and a pair of relays at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he always regretted the 1980 boycott of the Moscow Olympics. It came when he felt he was at his peak and could have achieved more. Gaines has shared of that time that he had “some real trouble post-Olympics, and...some big struggles, especially the year after.”

Gaines is a familiar face offering commentary at Olympic swim events, and he keeps in shape entering Masters swim competitions, where he has set some age group records after age 50. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 19  Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

The son of New York Senator Charles Goodell, Roger Goodell was a standout athlete in high school. He captained his school’s football, basketball, and baseball teams as a senior, when he was named athlete of the year. But an injury kept him out of college athletics. He earned an economics degree and found another way to spend his life in sports.

After an intensive letter-writing campaign, Goodell became an intern at the New York office for League Commissioner Pete Rozelle before moving to public relations. This would prove to be good experience for the challenges he faced later. As he moved up the office ladder, his business acumen rose, and he became COO. He succeeded Tagliabue as commissioner in the summer of 2006. 

Goodell has handled a multitude of public relations challenges during his tenure. Many were unpopular with players, coaches, the public or all three at one time or another. They include:
  • In 2007 he announced a new Personal Conduct Policy after a series of scandals involving player behavior off the gridiron. 
  • Fines for player conduct on the field, including for controversial hits. 
  • A 2007 incident involving New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick in “Spygate”, where the team illegally tried to record opponents’ defensive signals. 
  • The 2011 lockout, where Goodell not only negotiated between the NFLPA for players and team owners, but also discussed the collective bargaining agreement with the object of keeping season ticket holders.
  • “Bountygate” in March 2011 when players and coaches of the New Orleans Saints were caught in a scheme where players were given bonuses for knocking opponents out of a game. 
  • The 2012 referee lockout, where the NFL Referees Association and owners failed to come to an agreement, and refs were temporarily replaced with low-level college and high school officials.
  • Brain damage lawsuits brought by former players over head injuries sustained in the game.
  • Tom Brady and “Deflategate”, where the New England Patriots quarterback was accused of using a ball he knew had been partially deflated. 
  • Handling of players kneeling during the US national anthem, before and after the murder of George Floyd.

For a guy who has a lot on his hands at work, his family life has been steady. Goodell has been married since 1997 to former Fox anchor Jane Skinner, with whom he has twin daughters.


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