Notable Events You Forgot Happened When the Class of 2018 Was Starting School
When this year's college graduates first started school as fresh-faced kindergartners (circa 2000-2001), the world was a very different place.
The Williams sisters have been a force to be reckoned with in tennis for years, and in 2000 Venus Williams became the first black woman to win the Women’s Singles title at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson (who won in both 1957 and 1958). ”This was meant to be,” she told the New York Times. ”I worked real hard all my life. I had a lot of sacrifices.” Don’t miss the empowering stories of women who changed the world.
There was excitement on the golf course on August 21, 2000 at the PGA Championship. Tiger Woods became the first golf pro since Ben Hogan’s 1953 triumph to win three majors in a calendar year. To achieve this milestone, he tied the to-par record for the PGA with Bob May, then won in a playoff.
The first ever Olympics held Down Under ran from September to October 2000. Memorable moments of the summer games included Australia’s Ian Thorpe aka “the Thorpedo” crushing the 400-meter freestyle swim, Romania’s sweep of the Women’s Gymnastics gold medals for team all around and individual all around, and the debut of American swimmer Michael Phelps, then 15 years old, who didn’t medal but made a lasting impression. Here are 13 more Olympic moments that changed history.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Following a fictionalized version of Larry David’s life, viewers flocked to this original HBO series that followed an outline created by David (who was one of the creators and writers on Seinfeld), but whose dialogue was largely improvised by the show’s actors. To date, there have been nine seasons of Curb, since it first premiered in October 2000.
International Space Station
On October 31, 2000, the first crew was launched to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, taking two days to arrive at their destination. The team included Expedition One Commander William M. Shepherd (from NASA) and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko of Roscosmos. According to NASA, this was the start of the first uninterrupted human presence on the orbiting lab. Initially the International Space Station consisted of a pair of U.S. and Russian modules, but today is a football-field–size institution.
Bush v. Gore
In the November 2000 presidential election between Republican candidate George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, the race in Florida was such a close call that it instigated an automatic machine count of votes under the state’s law. It showed that less than 600 votes separated the candidates, prompting Gore to request a manual recount in four counties. Because it was deemed impossible to complete the manual recount in the amount of days required by law (hanging chads, anyone?), a legal battle ensued between Gore and the state of Florida. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was ruled that the methods in the recount violated the 14th amendment, concluding the endeavor and clearing the way for George W. Bush to become the 43rd president of the United States. If you remember that recount like it was yesterday, try your hand at answering the presidential trivia questions almost everyone gets wrong.
After starring in 2000s critically-acclaimed film Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts swept the Best Actress category at every major awards show for her outstanding performance in the role. She won at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards, British Academy Film Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards—all for her turn as an unlikely legal assistant who plays a huge hand in bringing down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.
It’s nearly impossible to remember a world before iTunes, iPhones, iPads… you get the picture. But, according to Apple, it was on January 9 that it publicly announced the debut of iTunes at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. They touted it as a way to organize and play digital music and videos. Later in 2001 (October, to be exact) Apple unveiled their first iPod. Who knew then what an integral part of our lives it would become?
In 2001, Colin Powell was appointed Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. Unanimously confirmed by the Senate, he made headlines as the first African-American to hold the post. Interestingly, it was rumored that he had considered running for president in 2000, which would have pit him against President Bush, but, in the end, decided not to run.
The Netherlands legalizes same-sex marriage
On April 1, 2001, the Netherlands made history by becoming the first country in the world to declare same-sex marriage legal. Although the law went into effect on this date, the Dutch Parliament had actually already started granting same-sex couples the same domestic partnerships, an alternative to marriage, as opposite-sex couples in 1998.
Parents everywhere rejoiced when DreamWorks released Shrek, an animated film with a message that resonated with kids but had enough under-the-radar adult humor to make moms and dads chuckle. The film hit theaters on April 22, 2001 and sparked numerous sequels thanks to its immense box office success. According to IMDB, Shrek’s cumulative worldwide gross clocked in at $484 million. If you’re looking for more family-friendly films, check out our list of fun movies kids of all ages enjoy.
The Fast and the Furious
Considering how beloved and successful the franchise remains in 2018, it’s hard to believe that the original The Fast and the Furious film premiered in June 2001. The action-packed flick, starred Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, and by November 2001 had a cumulative worldwide gross of more than $200 million. The 10th and final film in the franchise is expected to hit theaters in 2021.
Frida Kahlo postage stamp debuted
Legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo became the first Hispanic woman to appear on a United State postage stamp in 2001. The stamp was received with mixed reviews—some praise and some debate about her membership in the Mexican Communist party. Kahlo, who passed away in 1954, heavily influenced Chicana artists and is considered an icon in feminist and Mexican-American circles.
Although it occurred in the latter portion of 2001, when the Class of 2018 was around one year old, no one can forget the horrific events of September 11, which drastically shaped the way we live in its aftermath. Two commercial airplanes were hijacked by terrorists and crashed into New York City’s World Trade Center Twin Towers. A third plane was hijacked and hit the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field, after passengers heroically fought back against the terrorists. Nearly 3,000 deaths resulted from these attacks, which will forever haunt our hearts and minds.
Still reeling from the events of 9/11, on September 18 the first letters containing anthrax were mailed from Trenton, New Jersey. These mailings were sent to two U.S. senators and several news outlets, killing five people and infecting 17 others. The deadly substance created a country-wide panic and the investigation into the source of the letters became a lengthy one. The FBI finally closed its investigation in 2010 after concluding that Bruce Edwards Ivins was responsible for the crime. One woman shares the life lessons she learned after surviving a terrorist attack.
The 2001 Emmy Awards, which were held seven weeks past the originally scheduled date due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, found big winners in The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and The West Wing. James Gandolfini took home the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, while his costar Edie Falco picked up the same statue in the actress category, Sex and the City won for Outstanding Comedy Series and The West Wing won for Outstanding Drama Series.
Moviegoers were treated to the first film adaptation of the Harry Potter book series as Christopher Columbus set out to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The film made instant sensations out of its fresh-faced stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. The first film was so successful (no surprise there), that Warner Bros. chose to make movies out of all the remaining books in J.K. Rowling’s beloved book franchise. Fans of the series won’t want to miss the hidden meaning behind the first thing Professor Snape said to Harry.
It was between 2000 and 2001 that the powerhouse pairing of Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z began heating up, despite the fact that the couple refuted any romance rumors. In late 2001, they appeared together on the cover of Vanity Fair, but the music moguls admit their courtship moved more slowly than most Hollywood relationships. “We were on the phone for a year and a half, and that foundation is so important for a relationship,” Knowles said in an OWN interview. “Just to have someone who you just like is so important, and someone [who] is honest.”