Today in sports history: May 31 - Usain Bolt enters record books

Usain Bolt celebrates his world record time in 2008.
Usain Bolt celebrates his world record time in 2008. Photo credit: Getty

Some of the stories of the past that led sporting headlines around the world on May 31.


American businessman Tom Benson purchases NFL franchise the New Orleans Saints for US$70m from John Mecom. 

Today, the Saints are worth US$2.275b, which is one of the lowest values in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys worth US$5.5b, according to Forbes. 

Drew Brees in action for the New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees in action for the New Orleans Saints. Photo credit: Getty

Benson passed away in 2018, handing control of the Saints to his wife Gayle. 


South Africa wrapped up their series against the New Zealand Cavaliers with a 24-10 win in Johannesburg.

New Zealand led 10-6 at the break but a second half fightback saw the hosts secure victory. 


The Blues win their second straight Super 12 title with a 23-7 victory over Brumbies.

Craid Dowd and Michael Jones scored tries for the Blues, while fullback Adrian Cashmore landed three penalties and two conversions for the winners. 


Dan Carter scores 15 points to help the Crusaders beat the Waratahs 20-12 in the Super 14 final in Christchurch. 

Dan Carter.
Dan Carter. Photo credit: Photosport

Carter kicked four penalties and a drop goal in the win, with Mose Tuiali'i scoring their only try. 

The win was the Crusaders' seventh Super Rugby crown. They've now won 10 in total. 


Jamacian sprinter Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m sprint, for the first time in his career. 

In New York, Bolt sliced through the tape in 9.72s to enter the record books, beating the previous record by 0.2s set by countryman Asafa Powell the previous September.

A year later Bolt would better the record again, sprinting 9.58s in Berlin, which still stands to this day.


Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal suffers a shock defeat to Sweden's Robin Soderling in four sets during the fourth round of the French Open.

Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal. Photo credit: Getty

The loss was Nadal's first at Roland Garros, and his defeat allowed seed Roger Federer to win the only French Open title of his career, when he beat Soderling in the final.

Nadal has won the Grand Slam a record 12 times.


1935 - Former Blackcap Bruce Bolton

1943 - Former NFL star Joe Namath

1989 - German football star Marco Reus

1991 - All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick 

Brodie Retallick.
Brodie Retallick. Photo credit: Getty

1993 - Tonga rugby league international Jason Taumalolo 


1983 - Former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, aged 86

Newshub 12 months ago…

Live updates: Super Rugby - Blues v Bulls in Auckland

Blues first-five Harry Plummer has missed a chance to beat the Bulls and keep his side's playoff hopes alive - instead, they had to settle for a 22-22 draw.

The Blues won a penalty with seconds left in the match, they opted for a shot at goal to win the match, rather than kick for touch and gain field position.

The 20-year-old stepped up, took a few breaths, then kicked the ball and it flew to the right-hand side of the uprights - meaning his side would miss the playoffs.

The game started out in horrible conditions with the rain falling at Eden Park.

The hosts started out with intent, but struggled to hold onto the ball in the wet conditions, gifting possession to the Bulls, who opened the scoring through a penalty.