The Triple Crown of Sports
Soccer, cycling, rugby, and racing are just some of the sports that offer a triple crown. A prize for only a select group!
Many sports have a “triple crown”. In the following article, we’ll tell you about the prize and why athletes will do the impossible to try to win it.
The triple crown in popular sports
Here are the details of the triple crown of sports that we know and love throughout the world.
1. The soccer triple crown
Also known as a “triplet,” this feat is completed when a team wins three consecutive titles. This can happen with three titles in a calendar year or three titles within a season.
Some examples of soccer teams who won the triple crown are:
- The Scotland Celtics: in 1967, they won the Scottish Premier League, the Scottish Cup, and the European Cup.
- Manchester United of England: in 2008, with coach Alex Ferguson, the team won the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League of the UEFA.
- Barcelona: in 2009, the team won the King’s Cup, the Spanish League, and the Champions League of the UEFA.
2. The Cycling triple crown
The triple crown is the ultimate achievement for a cyclist. It’s achieved when a cyclist wins the three main competitions in the world in the same year: the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Cycling World Competition. It can also be achieved if the cyclist wins two of the previous competitions and the Vuelta de España. It’s also awarded if the cyclist wins the three big races in their career.
Until now, the winners of the true triple crown are Eddy Merckx of Belgium (in 1974) and Stephen Roche of Ireland (in 1987). These two cyclists won the Tour, Giro, and Mundial in the same season.
We can also add the cyclists who won the three big races in different years: Jacques Anquetil of France, Felice Gimondi of Italy, Bernard Hinault of France, Alberto Contador of Spain, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, and Chris Froome of England.
3. The Rugby triple crown
This is an unofficial trophy that teams compete for during the Tournament of the Six Nations. The participants in the competition are England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. The British team who beats the other three nations of the island is awarded the triple crown.
The rugby triple crown winner is England, with 26 trophies. The runner-up is Wales with 21 trophies, then Ireland with eleven, and Scotland with ten.
4. The racing triple crown
The racing triple crown is another achievement that, while technically unofficial, is one that many racers are anxious to win. It’s given to a racing driver who wins the three most famous races in the world: the Gran Monaco or the Formula One World Championship, the Le Mans 24 hours, and the Indianapolis 500.
The only driver who managed to win the award is Graham Hill of England. He won the Gran Monaco five times, the Formula One Championship twice, and every other race once. They awarded him the triple crown in 1972 after winning the Le Mans race.
The triple crown in other sports
There are other sports that offer the prestigious triple crown, though it’s less well-known.
This triple crown is won by the polo team who wins the three high-handicap tournaments of Argentina: the Argentine Polo Open, the Tortugas Country Club Open, and the Hurlingham Open.
The winning team of Argentine Polo is Coronel Suarez, who won the distinction four times between 1972 and 1977. La Dolfina is the only team that has won the triple crown three consecutive times (2013, 2014, and 2015).
This prize is given to the baseball player whose statistics lead the league. Therefore, a triple crown is given to the best batter and the best pitcher, both of the National League and the American League (both of the United States). Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox was the only batter who won the triple crown twice (in 1942 and 1947).
With respect to pitchers, there are several “repeaters” who have won the prize several times. Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants (1905 and 1908), Grover Alexander of the Philadelphia Phillies (1915, 1916, 1917 and 1920), Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1963, 1965 and 1966), Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators (1913, 1918 and 1924), Lefty Grove of the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Yankees (1930, 1931, 1934 and 1937) and Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays (1997 and 1998).
The swimmer who wins this prize has managed to complete the three most important long-distance swims. These are the Mancha Canal (33.7 kilometers between France and England), the Catalina Canal (32.5 kilometers between the California coast and the Island of Catalina), and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (48.5 kilometers on Manhattan Island, New York).
The winners of this prize have all taken the prize home twice. They are Antonio Arguelles of Mexico (1999 and 2009), Tina Neill of the United States (2008 and 2012), Penny Palfrey of Australia (2010 and 2015), and Elizabeth Fry of the United States (2009 and 2016).
A feat only for the strong
In addition to the previously mentioned triple crowns, we can also add the awards given for horseback riding, billiards, and professional wrestling. Regardless of the particular details of each one of these awards, one thing remains very clear: very few have what it takes to win one!