Your Daily Dose: Maiden appearances
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON, WIMBLEDON, 1999
Stevenson made her professional debut as an 18-year-old at Wimbledon. After winning three rounds of qualifying without dropping a set, the American worked her way up the main draw. She beat higher-ranked opponents including 11th seed Julie Halard in the third round, and saved a match point against Lisa Raymond in the next round. She eventually bowed out in the semi-finals, losing to eventual champion Lindsay Davenport.
BEN CURTIS, BRITISH OPEN 2003
Curtis had never competed at a Major at 26 and had not been to the United Kingdom a week before the tournament at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent, England.
His goal had been “just to have fun and play all four days”, he said in a 2011 interview with ESPN. Instead, the 300-1 outsider won the tournament, upsetting the likes of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh.
STEVE SAVIDAN, FRANCE V URUGUAY, 2008
Before earning his sole France cap at age 30, Savidan was a striker who had spent most of his career in the lower leagues of French football. He played for seven clubs before his international call-up.
During his stint with third-division team Angouleme-Soyaux Charente from 2003-04, he supplemented his income by working as a waste collector and bartender. He then joined Valenciennes, also in the third tier. His goals propelled them to France’s top-tier Ligue 1. He also attracted the attention of Les Bleus coach Raymond Domenech and featured in the second half of the goal-less friendly against Uruguay.
Savidan retired in 2009 realising he had a defective heart.
CHEYENNE GOH, WINTER OLYMPICS, 2018
The Pyeongchang Games were a debut for short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh and for Singapore, which was represented at the Winter Olympics for the first time. She qualified for the 1,500m, where she placed fifth in her heat and did not progress to the semi-finals.
Despite losing her balance and stumbling after touching the ice with the wrong part of her glove during a turn, the 18-year-old was upbeat about her feat, saying after the race that there were many positives to be drawn from the experience.
DAVID AYRES, NHL, 2020
Ayres is best known as the 42-year-old Zamboni driver who won on his National Hockey League (NHL) debut.
The Canadian, an operations manager whose duties include using the ice resurfacing machine at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, was called up after both of the Carolina Hurricanes’ goalies were injured.
He is the first emergency goaltender to record a win in NHL history and also the oldest goalie to win on his NHL debut, after featuring in Carolina’s 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs in February.
TEONG TZEN WEI, SEA GAMES, 2017
Teong made his SEA Games debut at age 20 in style. Not only did the Singaporean win the 50m freestyle title, but he also clocked a personal best of 22.55 seconds and became only the third local man to win the event in the past 25 years.
His feat in Kuala Lumpur was even more impressive as he had trained just once in the previous year, before enlisting for national service. When he resumed training in January 2017, he did just six sessions a week – almost half what other national swimmers managed.
ERLING HAALAND, BUNDESLIGA, 2020
Haaland’s career as a striker for Borussia Dortmund started with a hat-trick within 23 minutes on his Bundesliga debut in January.
The 19-year-old Norwegian came on as a 56th-minute substitute against Augsburg and scored in the 59th, 70th and 79th minutes.
PABLO PRIGIONI, NBA, 2012
At 35, basketball players are typically heading into retirement and not their rookie season. Yet Prigioni became the oldest rookie in NBA history, making his debut as a New York Knicks guard in 2012.
The Argentinian spent the next four seasons playing in the NBA, also featuring for the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers before becoming a coach in 2017.
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