A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 09, 2019
“It’s harder to defend a title than it is to win it”

It’s often said in sports that it’s harder to defend a title than it is to win it. The origin of this saying is unknown.

“This may be due partly to the fact that it is frequently harder to defend a championship than it is to win one” was written by Grantland Rice in his syndicated newspaper column on August 16, 1921. “It is commonly held to be more difficult to defend a title than to win one” was printed in the Manchester (UK) Guardian on August 30, 1958.


16 August 1921, Greensboro (NC) Daily News, “The Sportlight” by Grantland Rice, pg. 8, col. 6:
This may be due partly to the fact that it is frequently harder to defend a championship than it is to win one.

3 October 1957, Manchester (UK) Guardian, “Seeded Players Fail During a Day of Surprises” by Tony Goodridge, pg. 13, col. 7:
The defeat of Miss Jackson was not unexpected as it is always more difficult to defend a title than to acquire one.

30 August 1958, Manchester (UK) Guardian, “Surrey Again Champions” by Tony Goodridge, pg. 6, col. 1:’
It is commonly held to be more difficult to defend a title than to win one.

1 September 1966, Arlington Heights (IL) Herald, “Eight Letterman Back: Fenton to Rebuild After Banner Year” by Larry Everhart, sports ec., pg. 1?, col. 4:
They say it’s harder to defend a title than to win one for the first time.

22 September 1967, The Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA), “Smoke Rings” by Jack Fulp, pg. 12, cols. 1-2:
Despite this, they (Notre Dame football team—ed.) are picked as number one, and the word from Coach Ara Parseghian on this is that “the coaching staff and the players feel it is an honor to be regarded so highly, but it is much more difficult to defend a championship than it is to win it.”

9 March 1970, Kansas City (MO) Star, “‘Cats. Oklahoma Pull Off Big Eight Surprises” by Fritz Kreisler, pg. 10, cols. 1-2:
As so many teams are doing these days, the Buffs discovered that it was more difficult to defend a title than to win it in the first place.

10 September 1979, Boston (MA) , “Austin tackles Evert, Open” by Lesley Visser, pg. 33, col. 5:
“It’s harder to defend a title than to win it,” (Chris—ed.) Evert said.

2 April 1986, Kansas City (MO) Star, “Ray-Pec begins long-await defense of title” by Ward Triplett, Southland Star sec., pg. 18, col. 2:
(Raymore-Peculiar baseball Coach Russ—ed.) Foster said the Panthers might learn the meaning of the old saying “it’s harder to defend a title than to win it,” this season.

Google Books
November 1991, American Motorcyclist, “Proving Ground” by Bruce Richardson, pg. 16, col. 3:
“It’s definitely more difficult to defend a title than to win it the first time,” he (Kevin “Rocket Man” Foley—ed.) noted

Google Groups: rec.sport.skating.ice.figure
The new Tara
DChuh
6/16/99
(...)
As has been quoted by many experts, it is harder to defend a title that to win it in the first place.

Twitter
JR AVILA
@Rome_Reg
I’m liking what James Worthy said, “it’s harder to defend a title than to win one”, and the lakers were not ready for the Cavs!
9:38 PM - 26 Dec 2009

Euroleague.net
Georgios Bartzokas, Olympiacos Piraeus
May 03, 2013 by Frank Lawlor, Euroleague.net
If, as they say, it is more difficult to defend a title than to win it the first time, one of the toughest coaching challenges in sports has to be doing the same thing as a team’s new coach.

Google Books
They Ruled the Pool:
The 100 Greatest Swimmers in History

By John Lohn
Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.
2013
Pg. 76:
β€œIt’s much harder to defend a title than to win it.”
(Spoken by Pieter van den Hoogenband.—ed.)

Twitter
Olimpiu G. Urcan
@olimpiuurcan
Replying to @TarjeiJS
@TarjeiJS Karpov: “It’s more difficult to defend the title than to win the title.”
4:21 AM - 8 Nov 2014

Euro Fantasy League
EPL Player of the Week – Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Posted on March 14, 2019 by Jamie McLean
Life at the top is certainly tough! The old adage that it is harder to defend a title than to win it has certainly seemed apt in recent Premier League seasons, with champions often finding themselves struggling to put up a serious defence the year after lifting the trophy.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, April 09, 2019 • Permalink