The story till thenAfter a traumatic childhood - his parents were killed in the Partition riots - and an unsettled youth, Milkha Singh settled down on joining the army. Its structured approach to sport gave him a shoehorn into running, and he picked 400 metres as his chosen event. Within a few years he was a national champion, and in 1958, Asian and Commonwealth champion. He had already competed in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, so he went to Rome, in 1960, with experience, form and a reputation.The moment Milkha went into the 400m final with a good record against most of the favourites and was tipped for a medal. He began the race brightly and took the lead. At the 250m mark he was still in front. Then he slowed down, looked at the pack, was overtaken and beaten into fourth spot by 0.1 seconds. Theres no clear reason why he slowed down; Milkha himself has given several reasons for it, the most oft-cited being that he believed he couldnt sustain his pace over the race. It was all over in 46 seconds; the first four past the tape broke the Olympic record.The reaction That is my worst memory, after the death of my parents. I kept crying for days. - Milkha Singh, in an interview many years laterExpert view This one race, more than his gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, made Milkha Singh a legend. - Novy Kapadia, journalist and historianThe story since That error, and the defeat, hit Milkha very badly but he didnt crumble: two years later he retained his Asian 400m title and added the 4x400 relay gold to that. But his best years were clearly behind him; that was his last international hurrah. Hed done enough, though, to cement his place among the greatest of Indian sportsmen and earn the simple yet evocative nickname Flying Sikh.Recommended reading The Race of My Life: An Autobiography Yovani Gallardo Jersey . 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My father came to the United States as a young boy in the early 60s, a time when Italians werent viewed too kindly by Americans. He was told, in no uncertain terms, that if he didnt learn English quickly, he would fail in school. He learned how to write checks for my grandmother, who never stepped inside a school house. He took care of his younger brother and sister. He learned how to be self-sufficient, and how to ask for help if necessary.These are the things that transformed Luigi Auriemma into Geno Auriemma. They are what made Geno Auriemma into the coach he is today, into the mentor and teacher he has been and will continue to be for these incredible women who pass through his program. The UConn formula is simple: chase perfection, and catch excellence. Being perfect isnt as important as trying your absolute best every single time you step between the lines. Making sure you are 100 percent focused when you come on to the court. And, of course, being a great teammate.The 2015-16 team embodied that formula, and the Huskies season was record-breaking, of course. It was the fourth national championship in a row, a feat that has never been done in the womens game. It was another undefeated season in a program that has seen its fair share of perfection. And it was a crowning achievement for Breanna Stewart, who picked up her fourth straight Final Four Most Outstanding Player award. I wasnt able to go to the game, but I watched the final moments on my phone while at a rehearsal. A friend of mine hugged me from behind as we watched the clock tick down. When Briana Pulido, a walk-on senior who didnt get much playing time but had just as much heart and work ethic as any of the starters, drained a jumper from the corner, the team lost its mind, Dad burst out laughing, and I melted down into tears. That feeling of sheer euphoric triumph will never get old, no matter how many times were there. We treat it like its the last time, every time.For every moment of greatness, however, there seems to be an equal amount of backlash. This year, more than ever, there seemed to be signs of dissent from every corner. Is this good for the game? Is it boring to watch? Is it something we should be concerned about? These questions hardly ever get asked when it occurs on the mens side of a sport. I dont think anyone witnessed the dynastic runs of the New York Yankees or the tear the Chicago Bulls went on in the late 90s and thought to themselves, Yeah, but is this good for baseball? The fact that we still have to deal with these questions tells us that we arent done yet with our quest to make womens sport as respected, visible and equalized as men. Id like to think the success of the UConn women has done a lot to increase the visibility of the game and, of course, with that comes dissenters. But I think my Dad would say, cheekily, At least theyre talking about us.Yes, yes they are.When I think back on my life as a daughter of someone like Geno Auriemma, I dont think about it being weird or strange. The first thing people ask me when they find out who I am is, Is it really weird being his kid? Well, it was weird when Id be getting ready for a run-through of a musical I was in and hear his trademark wolf whistle in the audience. But the whole famous coach thing? Not so much. To me, Dad just had a job. A job that was kind of cool and got him to the White House a bunch oof times.ddddddddddddBut a job, like any other parent had.I was not an athletic kid. And thats putting it mildly. I was much more content sitting at home watching the VHS tape of Bye Bye Birdie and eating my way through Ben and Jerrys. But I really liked to play basketball and I could always count on my dad to give me advice. At one point, I got an evaluation from camp that I needed to work on my wrist strength. My dad took me out to our hoop in the backyard and showed me several different shooting drills. He knew, of course, that there was no way I would grow up to be the next Sue Bird. But he knew I wanted to be better, and I worked hard. Dad is a sucker for hard work. Not so much perfectionism, but hard, diligent work. Never taking a play off. Doing your absolute best. I take that seriously in my current role as a teacher -- I dont accept less than 100 percent. Sometimes my students cant stand me.I loved going to practice when I was a kid. Mainly because I worshiped the team, no matter who was playing, but I also liked being around my dad in that environment. Hes incredibly good at turning Coach mode off and on -- he would scream his lungs out at Jennifer Rizzotti to pass the ball more efficiently, then turn to me with a smile and say, Hey, pumpkin! You need a basket to shoot at? Then hed hug me and go right back to yelling at somebody who wasnt getting low enough on defense.Two moments in particular stick out in my mind. Right after we won the national championship for the first time in 1995, I came down to the court with my sister and brother so we could say hello to Dad. He swept me up into his arms and whispered in my ear, Can you believe this? Isnt this crazy? We won the national championship! Isnt that awesome! He sounded like hed gotten an electric shock. At the time it didnt really hit me how important and special that moment was.The second moment was after the buzzer sounded for the 2000 title game in Philadelphia. It was my dads hometown. Tons of family and friends from the area had come to see the final game, including my grandmother and all of my cousins. I came down to the court to see him and he grabbed my siblings and I in a hug that bordered on hysterical. I love you all so much, he sobbed into our ears. I love you guys more than anything, do you know that?I was completely thrown. My dad is not someone who gets very emotional -- at least, not when its directed at himself. But when it matters that deeply to him, in a place that means so much? It was the first time that it all hit me. This was very, very important. Something extremely special was happening.Now look where we are.Not many people get the privilege of watching greatness unfold right before their eyes. It serves as a reminder and a lesson, every single day. A reminder of how deeply lucky I am, and a lesson to never forget where I come from.More on UConn womens basketball? Geno Auriemma passes John Wooden with 11th title?Story ?? Stewart delivers fourth title for UConn?Story ?? UConns senior trio goes out with class?Story ?? Growing up Stewie?Story ?The IMPACT25 is espnWs annual list of the 25 athletes and influencers who have made the greatest difference for women in sports. 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