Thomas William Burgess got up on the morning of September 5, 1911, ready to make history. Having already tried and failed 15 times before, he knew what he was up against. He wanted to become the second person to swim across the English Channel, and the first to do so since 1875 when Captain Matthew Webb breast-stroked his way across the difficult waterway.
German athlete Luz Long is quite possibly the ultimate Silver Medalist. He is the athlete who finished second to American Jesse Owens in the long jump competition at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but more than that, he made sports history with a gesture that stunned many who witnessed it. After their competition, Long, a white man, enthusiastically embraced Owens, a black American man, in front of an ecstatic crowd that included many high-ranking Nazi officials, at a time in Germany when such interaction between white and black people was frowned upon.
French Corporal Jules André Peugeot was 21 years old when he was shot and killed by a German patrol. Although he was the first soldier to get shot in WWI, he ended up being the second person to die. The guy who shot Peugeot, German Lieutenant Albert Mayer, was the first person to actually die in WWI, with Peugeot himself succumbing to his wounds only a short while later.