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Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1960s
ABC Sports Online


1961

April 29
Premier of ABC's Wide World of Sports, hosted by Jim McKay. The two events: the Penn Relays from Franklin Field in Philadelphia and the Drake Relays from Des Moines, Iowa.

May 20
F.A. Cup Soccer Final from London marks the first telecast of an overseas event on Wide World of Sports. The show also produces one of its first heroes. Just 20 minutes into the match, Len Chalmers is tackled and breaks his right leg, but Chalmers struggles to his feet and plays the remainder of the match. "Poor old Chalmers" became a famous phrase among Wide World of Sports fans.

May 27
First Wide World of Sports broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 Time Trials. Wide World of Sports has returned to Indianapolis during the month of May every year since then.

June 24 & July 1
The National AAU Track & Field Championships become the first national championships telecast on Wide World of Sports. Among the stars of the meet is the great Wilma Rudolph, winner of the 100-yard dash.

July 22
Coverage of the USA-USSR Track & Field Meet in Moscow marks the first telecast from Europe handled exclusively by American personnel. Valery Brumel sets world high jump record of 7-4 1/4. Once again, Wilma Rudolph stars for the American women.

August 12
Wide World of Sports uses its first woman commentator, Olympic gold medalist Lynn Burke, serving as expert commentator for coverage of Women's AAU Swimming and Diving Championships from Philadelphia.

August 26
Wide World of Sports cameraman Dale Barringer puts on scuba gear and drops to the bottom of a swimming pool in Los Angeles to man the first underwater camera ever used to cover a swimming event, the Men's AAU Swimming and Diving Championships.

September 9
The Special AFL Game features a future star in professional football and a current star in politics -- Jack Kemp.

1962

January 14
The World Barrel Jumping Championships features Ken Lebel's successful clearance of 17 barrels, a new world record.

February 11
Jim Beatty sets indoor mile record of 3:58.9 in Los Angeles, becoming the first man in history to run a sub-4:00 mile indoors. That was the first of many world records set in the mile on Wide World of Sports, thanks to some of the all-time greats: Jim Ryun, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram.

March 25
Wide World of Sports is the first network to televise the NCAA Basketball Championship: Cincinnati - Ohio State from Louisville.

April 1
Wide World of Sports broadcasts the World Figure Skating Championships for the first time from Prague, Czechoslovakia. Don Jackson of Canada completed the first triple lutz jump ever in world competition.

In that same competition, Maria and Otto Jelinek won the gold medal for Canada in the pairs. They remain one of the great stories in Wide World of Sports history, as they and their family had escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1949. The Jelinek family was very prominent in Czechoslovakia, but they were persecuted by the Gestapo during the German occupation and their property was later taken from them by the communist government. When they returned to Prague, they were invited to dinner at the Austrian Embassy, which happened to be the Jelinek's former home. There was some question whether the Jelinek would be allowed back in Czechoslovakia by the communist government.

Prague was scheduled to host to the 1961 competition, but it was cancelled following the crash of the plane carrying the United States team.

April 14
First Wide World of Sports broadcast of the Grand National Steeplechase from Aintree.

June 10
First Wide World of Sports broadcast of the Grand Prix of Monaco. The 1962 race developed into a dual between two of the all-time greats, Bruce McLaren and reigning world champion Phil Hill of the United States.

July 15
First Wide World of Sports coverage of the British Open from Troon, Scotland. The tournament is won by Arnold Palmer, who breaks the Open record after surviving a journey through the crowd at the 18th hole to sink a birdie putt.

September 15 & 22
First Wide World of Sports coverage of the America's Cup from Newport, R.I. This is another event that Wide World has followed throughout its history, most recently with the 1987 races from Freemantle, Australia.

1963

January 19
Jim Beatty receives the first Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year Award. The first recipient of the award was a regular on WWOS in 1962, starting with his indoor world record in February at the Los Angeles Track & Field Meet and continuing through the National AAU Track & Field Championships and invitational miles in London and Helsinki.

February 2
The World Bobsled Championships from Innsbruck, Austria introduces Wide World of Sports to a country it would visit often. Since that first introduction, WWOS has returned to Austria in every single year except one, 1987.

March 16
First coverage of the NASCAR 500 Stock Car Championship from Daytona Beach, Fla. During its first 10 years, Wide World of Sports would televise over 30 races from Daytona Beach.

March 16
Broadcast of the New England Invitational Dog Sled Race.

March 30
Wide World of Sports' first broadcast of the famed Holmenkollen Ski Jumping Championship from Oslo, Norway.

May 11
First Pan American Games telecast on American television from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

May 18
Trout Fishing Expedition from Argentina was Wide World of Sports' first venture in the "outdoor" and was one of the elements that led to the creation of the American Sportsman.

July 6
First Wide World of Sports broadcast of Wimbledon, with American Chuck McKinley defeating Australia's Fred Stolle to win the men's title.

August 17
The USA-USSR Track & Field Meet returns to Moscow and Valery Brumel once again sets a world record, his third consecutive world record in that competition. The meet's host is Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

August 24
The first broadcast of the Little League World Series from Williamsport, Pa.

December 28
Coverage of the Davis Cup final between the United States and Australia from Adelaide, Australia.

1964

January 18
Peggy Fleming wins the first of five consecutive national titles at the age of 15 at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.

January 25
Wide World of Sports features the World Cyclo Ball Championship from Basel, Switzerland.

February 1
A show that lives up to the billing of the constant variety of sport: Championship Tarpon Fishing from Big Pine Key, Fla. and National Ice Boat Racing from Green Lake, Wisc.

April 11
Challenger Cassius Clay, soon to adopt the Muslim name of Muhammad Ali, knocks out champion Sonny Liston in the seventh round in Miami Beach, Fla. in the first World Heavyweight Championship fight to be televised on "Wide World of Sports".

May 16
A group of climbers, three Frenchmen and one Englishman, climb the northwest tower of the Eiffel Tower.

May 30
The U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials includes the loss of Joe Frazier to Buster Mathis in the heavyweight division. Mathis, however, broke his knuckle prior to the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Frazier was substituted and went on to win the gold medal.

June 27
Interview with Jim Bunning after his perfect game against the New York Mets.

July 11
Wide World of Sports televises the British Open from St. Andrews, with Tony Lema claiming the title in front of Jack Nicklaus.

July 25
Czech great Vera Caslavska wins the all-around in a USA-Czechoslovakia dual meet and goes on to win the first of two Olympic all-around titles.

August 15
Donna de Varona sets a world record at the U.S. National Swimming Championships in Los Altos, Calif.

August 22
All-American Soap Box Derby broadcast from Akron, Ohio.

August 29
Danny Yacarino pitches a no-hitter and hits a home run to lead Mid Island Little League of Staten Island to victory over Monterrey, Mexico in the Little League World Series.

September 26
Oklahoma Live Rattlesnake Hunt.

November 21
A.J. Foyt wins the National 100 in Sacramento. On dirt.

1965

March 13
The first Wide World of Sports broadcast of an event that becomes one of the show's institutions: the International Toboggan Championship, better known as the Cresta run, from St. Moritz, Switzerland.

March 20
The American Internationals features the first appearance by Jean-Claude Killy on Wide World of Sports and appropriately enough, he wins.

April 10
One of the great shows in the history of Wide World of Sports.

In addition to the U.S. National Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, the show featured Robert Kennedy's ascent of Mt. Kennedy in Canada, to place the family flag atop the mountain named in honor of his brother, and a segment on the Houston Astrodome with Roger Maris trying to hit the roof of the stadium.

April 17
The NCAA Wrestling Championships becomes the second NCAA contest broadcast on Wide World of Sports and the first in the non-basketball/football sports that became fixtures on the show.

May 29
The rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston from Lewiston, Maine that ended in the first round after a mysterious punch by Ali, leading to cries of "fix" by Bates College students that stormed the ring.

June 5
First coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on Wide World of Sports after covering the time trials the four previous years. The race was won by Jim Clark, a Scotsman who became the first foreign winner of the race in 50 years.

July 24
Coverage of the Matterhorn Climb from Zermatt, Switzerland.

August 1
First live telecast of a sporting event from the Soviet Union: USA-USSR Track & Field Meet.

August 7
Britain's Jim Clark wins his fifth consecutive Grand Prix event at the Grand Prix of Germany at Nuerburgring. Three years later, at the age of 32, Clark was killed in a crash at the same Nuerburgring race course.

September 11
Cale Yarborough's car vaults over the wall of the Darlington International Speedway after bumping into the car of Sam McQuagg in the final stages of the Southern 500 stock car race. Yarborough returned to the track with little more than a scratch under his eye and told Chris Economaki, "The astronauts got nothing on me."

1966

January 1
Horse racing on Ice from St. Moritz becomes the first Wide World of Sports segment in color.

February 26
European Cup basketball featuring Bill Bradley from Milan, Italy.

April 2
Muhammad Ali defeats George Chuvalo in a 15-round decision to retain his World Heavyweight Championship in Toronto, Canada.

April 9
Mark Spitz appears on Wide World of Sports for the first time at the AAU Indoor Swimming & Diving Championships at the age of 16 and finishes sixth in the 400 yard IM.

May 7
Willie Mays hits his 512th home run, breaking the all-time National League record.

May 21
The Muhammad Ali retains his World Heavyweight Championship title with a sixth-round TKO of Henry Cooper in London. It is the first time a fight was beamed live from Europe and the first live heavyweight title fight on home television since 1959.

July 30
Jim Ryun sets his first world mile record in Berkeley at the age of 19, breaking the previous mark by 2.3 seconds.

September 10
Muhammad Ali defeats Karl Mildenberger in a heavyweight title defense, live from Frankfurt, West Germany with a 12th-round TKO.

October 8
The International Figure Skating Revue marks Wide World of Sports' first visit to Berlin.

November 26
Muhammad Ali defends his world heavyweight title for the sixth time in 1966 on Wide World of Sports against Cleveland Williams.

December 24
The World Alpine Ski Championships are broadcast from Portillo, Chile, featuring the great downhill run of Jean-Claude Killy.

1967

January 28
Joie Chitwood's Auto Thrill Show from Islip, N.Y.

February 11
Muhammad Ali defends his World Heavyweight Championship against Ernie Terrell in a 15-round classic in Houston, Texas.

March 4
Peggy Fleming wins the second of three ladies crowns at the World Figure Skating Championships in Vienna, Austria, the last World Championships to be held outdoors. During the same competition, the Protopopovs win the third of four consecutive titles.

March 11
Interview with Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain, when Ali said Chamberlain would have to shave his beard because he wouldn't "fight no billygoat".

March 25
Evel Knievel debuts on Wide World of Sports by clearing 15 cars as a filler act during motorcycle races in Gardena, Calif.

April 8
Mark Spitz sets the first American record of his career in the 100-yard butterfly at the AAU Indoor Championships in Dallas.

April 22
The London to Brighton Antique Car Run concludes with Jim McKay and Phil Hill pushing their car across the finish line.

May 20
Mickey Mantle hits his 500th home run.

May 27
The first Wide World of Sports broadcast of the English Rugby League Cup Final.

June 3
British yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester completes his 28,500-mile around the world trip. He is welcomed back to his hometown of Plymouth, England by thousands of his countrymen.

June 10 & July 1
A.J. Foyt wins the Indianapolis 500 and the LeMans 24-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance, the only driver to win both in a single season. It was Foyt's third Indianapolis 500 victory and came after he drove through a crash on the final turn.

June 24
Jim Ryun lowers his world record of the mile at the National AAU Track & Field Championships in Bakersfield.

July 29 & August 5
At the Pan American Games from Winnipeg, Canada, Mark Spitz sets his first world records, while the track and field competition includes most of the American stars of the 1968 Olympic Games.

1968

January 27
Wide World of Sports' first journey to the village of Kitzbuhel for alpine ski racing. WWOS has returned to Kitzbuhel many times for the famed Hahnenkamm Downhill.

March 2 & 9
Peggy Fleming wins the ladies title at the World Figure Skating Championships from Geneva. It came after her gold medal-winning performance at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble and marked the end of her amateur career.

March 9
Wide World of Sports' first telecast of the International Cliff Diving Championships from Acapulco.

March 30
Jean-Claude Killy, fresh off his sweep of the gold medals at the Olympic Games, is featured in races from Rossland, British Columbia. June 8
Pre-empted by Senator Robert Kennedy's Funeral.

June 15
First use of a wireless hand-held broadcast color camera, for closeups at the Indianapolis 500. The race was won by Bobby Unser, the first of seven Indy victories for the Unser brothers.

June 29
Old Man of Hoy Rock Climb in Scotland.

September 7
The Wide World of Sports broadcast of the U.S. Men's Olympic Swimming Trials features two of the all-time greats on opposite ends of their careers -- Don Schollander and Mark Spitz. Schollander set the last world record of his career on that show, while Spitz won both the 100- and 200-meter butterflies.

September 14 & 21
The U.S. Olympic Men's Track & Field Trials are telecast from one of the strangest venues in WWOS history -- a track cut into a forest at Echo Summit, high above Lake Tahoe at 7380 feet above sea level. The venue was selected to duplicate the conditions of Mexico City. Tommie Smith and Lee Evans set world records, and Jim McKay interviews with Smith on the potential black athlete boycott of the 1968 Olympic Games.

The shows include some of the all-time greats in American track and field, including Dick Fosbury, Bob Beamon, Al Oerter and Bob Seagren. Amazingly, both Fosbury and Oerter barely qualified for the Olympic team, but both went on to collect gold medals in Mexico City. The same cannot be said of Billy Mills, who failed to qualify for the American team in the 10,000 meters and was unable to defend the Olympic title he won in 1964 in Tokyo. One other athlete who made his mark in that meet was a teenager Jim called "Martin" Liquori.

November 9
Graham Hill clinches world title at the Grand Prix of Mexico.

1969

January 4
O.J. Simpson runs wild in the mud at the Hula Bowl in Hawaii.

January 11
First Wide World of Sports broadcast of the Mexican 1000 Cross Country Road Racing Championships.

February 8
Janet Lynn steps into the void left by the retirement from amateur skating of Peggy Fleming and captures the first of five national titles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Seattle.

March 1
Wide World of Sports introduces an athlete that became a mainstay on the show throughout the 1970s, Soviet pairs skater Irina Rodnina, who wins the the first of 10 consecutive world titles at the World Figure Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. She won the first four titles with Aleksei Ulanov.

March 29
Indiana freshman Mark Spitz makes his collegiate debut at the NCAA Swimming Championships and wins three individual titles (200 & 500 freestyle & 100 butterfly).

May 3
Game Six of the NBA final between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The Celtics captured the sixth and seventh games to win the title.

June 7
Mario Andretti wins his only Indianapolis 500, earning the now famous kiss of Andy Granatelli. June 28
World Heavyweight Championship fight between Joe Frazier and Jerry Quarry, won by Frazier in the seventh round, plus Olympic champion George Foreman's first professional fight against Don Waldheim.

July 26
Vince Lombardi's first day of training camp with the Washington Redskins. The feature included a candid interview between Lombardi and Howard Cosell on the pressures that forced him into retirement with the Green Bay Packers.

August 23
The Little League team from Taiwan defeats Carney Lansford's Santa Clara, Calif. team to win its first Little League World Series crown.

October 18
Lew Alcindor makes his pro debut with the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1970s

Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1980s

Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1990s

Wide World of Sports Athletes of the Year

Wide World of Sports Events