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Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1980s
ABC Sports Online


1980

January 12
Ken Read, the leader of the "Crazy Cannucks" wins the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuhel, becoming the first North American to win that classic race.

February 9
In the final tune-up for the Americans prior to the Olympic Games, the United States hockey team is crushed 10-3 by the Soviet Union. The show also included Shirley Muldowney's first victory in the Winternationals.

February 17
The World Gymnastics Championships from Fort Worth, Texas features two American gold medals, Bart Conner on the parallel bars and Kurt Thomas in the floor exercise. The same show includes the World Frisbee Championships.

February 24
Olympic Games awards ceremony for the United States hockey team following its 4-2 victory over Finland.

March 23
The first telecast on Wide World of Sports of one of the most grueling athletic competitions in the world, the Endurance (now called the Ironman) Triathlon World Championship from Oahu.

May 17
The placement and angles of ABC Sports cameras was part of a controversy that involved Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk when she finished second behind Codex in the Preakness Stakes. At the head of the stretch, Codex and his jockey Angel Cordero seemed to drift out and take the path of Genuine Risk. The stewards at Pimlico refused to change the original order of finish and the matter ended up in the courts when Genuine Risk's owners filed suit.

May 24
Women's volleyball from Peking between the United States, China and Japan.

May 31
George Willig climbs Castlerock Tower in Utah.

July 19
Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran fight for the WBC Welterweight Championship.

August 16
The U.S. National Swimming Championships, which became the American Olympic Games. The Americans managed to set three world records in the meet, one each for Mary T. Meagher (200 butterfly), Craig Beardsley (200 butterfly) and Bill Barrett (200 IM). Meagher had her Olympics in 1984, but Beardsley and Barrett became major stories at the 1984 Olympic Trials when they failed to earn spots on the U.S. team.

September 27
In his second bid for the WBA/WBC Middleweight championship, Marvin Hagler scores a third-round TKO of Alan Minter on Wide World of Sports' live broadcast.

December 27
U.S. Figure Skaters in China: A Special Performance. This was the first trip to China by American skaters and included some powerful moments, including one with Linda Fratianne and young Chinese children and Elaine Zayak roller skating on the Great Wall.

1981

January 17
Harlem Globetrotters Go Hollywood.

February 7 & 8
A new set of champions are crowned at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, including Scott Hamilton in the men's, Peter and Kitty Carruthers in the pairs and Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert in the dance. Each was undefeated over the next four years, documented on Wide World of Sports. The Hamilton story was particularly moving, since he almost died from a rare disease as a child and started skating as therapy.

March 7
Scott Hamilton wins the first of four consecutive world titles at the World Figure Skating Championships in Hartford, Conn.

March 8
Nadia Comaneci and the Romanian gymnastics team performs at Madison Square Garden.

March 28
Report on Phil Mahre winning the overall World Cup title from Borovetz, Bulgaria.

April 5
The NCAA Championships in Austin close the door on Rowdy Gaines' career with American records in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles before he announces his retirement. Little did we know that the door between competition and retirement would become a revolving one.

April 18
Pleasant Colony wins the Wood Memorial for quintessential New York trainer Johnny Campo. He would go on to win the Kentucky Derby two weeks later.

July 11
The Dream Mile from Oslo develops into one of the all-time greats, with Steve Ovett winning in 3:49.25, followed by Spaniard Jose-Luis Gonzalez and American Steve Scott, both of whom eclipse 3:50 and set new national records. The top seven finishers all ran under 3:51.

July 11
USA-USSR Track and Field Meet from Leningrad.

August 29
Report on week of mile world records: Steve Ovett in West Germany and Sebastian Coe in Belgium. Ovett lowered the mark to 3:48.40, then Coe lowered it to 3:47.33.

September 5
Salvador Sanchez retains his WBC Featherweight Championship with a victory over Wilfredo Gomez in one of the great fights on Wide World of Sports. Less than a year later, Sanchez was killed in an automobile accident.

October 17
Sugar Ray Leonard scores a 14th-round TKO of Thomas Hearns in a WBC/WBA Welterweight Championship fight.

1982

January 16
The Harlem Globetrotters at Walt Disney World.

February 6 & 7
Wide World of Sports coverage of the World Alpine Ski Championships includes a gold medal for Steve Mahre in the giant slalom and silver medals for Cindy Nelson (downhill) and Christin Cooper (slalom and giant slalom).

February 6
Brian Boitano makes his debut on Wide World of Sports. The show includes a highlight of Boitano's performance, which includes a triple axel.

February 14
Special ice skating performance by Peggy Fleming from Lake Tahoe.

February 21
Ironman triathlon race leader Julie Moss collapses just 440 yards from the finish of the marathon run. She struggled to her feet and wobbled to within 100 yards of the finish where she collapsed again. She started to crawl, but was passed by Kathleen McCartney only 10 yards from the finish line. Moss and McCartney appear in the WWOS studios the following week to discuss the finish.

March 14
Elaine Zayak wins the ladies' title at the World Figure Skating Championships.

June 26
Steve Scott breaks his own American record for the mile during the Bislett Games in Oslo, defeating a quality field that includes Sydney Maree and John Walker.

July 11
The World Cup soccer final from Madrid, Spain marks the first time the match was telecast live on an American television network.

August 21
The U.S. Platform Diving Championships features an oddity -- Greg Louganis losing. Bruce Kimball upset Louganis to win the gold medal in the men's platform, less than a year after he was almost killed when a van collided head-on with a car he was riding in Ann Arbor, Mich. He had defeated Louganis less than two months before the accident at the U.S. Nationals in Mission Viejo (WWOS, August 15, 1981).

August 27
Cody Webster leads Kirland, Wash. to victory over Taiwan to win the Little League World Series. Webster was the pitcher for Kirkland and hit a home run.

November 27
Teofilo Stevenson fights Tyrell Biggs from Reno, Nev.

December 11
One show, two great fights. Bazooka Limon loses his WBC Super Featherweight Championship to Bobby Chacon in a 15-round decision, while Wilfredo Gomez retained his WBC Super Bantamweight title against Lupe Pinto.

1983

January 22
Harlem Globetrotters return to New York.

February 27
Dave Scott win his second Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii. During that same show, another Wide World of Sports regular, Shirley Muldowney, wins her second title at the Winternational Drag Racing Championships in Pomona.

March 12
Mary Lou Retton makes her first appearance on Wide World of Sports at the American Cup. Mary Lou was an alternate and wouldn't have competed unless another gymnast, Diane Duram, was injured. A year later, she won the all-around title at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

April 17 & 23
The Great American Bike Race from Santa Monica, Calif. to New York, which later became the Race Across America and a Wide World of Sports institution during the mid-'80s.

June 25
Carl Lewis uncorks what many believe is the longest long jump of all-time at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis, but an official said he fouled and rakes the pit before it can be measured. He still won with a jump of 28-10 1/4, the longest jump ever at sea level. In the same meet, Lewis loses a potential world record in the 200 meters when he raises his arms as he approaches the finish line. His time of 19.75 broke the American record and fell just .03 short of Petro Minnea's world record.

July 2
The National Sports Festival, now known as the Olympic Festival, features a world record of 9.93 by Calvin Smith in the 100 meters. The mark, of course, was aided by altitude as the competition was held in Colorado Springs.

August 6
The U.S. Swimming Championships features Rick Carey breaking two of the longest standing world records in swimming, John Naber's winning times from the 1976 Olympic Games in the 100- and 200-meter backstrokes. The Lunk, Steve Lundquist, also snagged a world record in the 100-meter breaststroke.

August 20
The International Special Olympics from Baton Rouge, La. It becomes the first sports show to win a Christopher Award.

September 24
Report on the America's Cup Yachting as the trophy went slip sliding away.

November 5
Coverage of the World Gymnastics Championships from Budapest, Hungary features the women's all-around competition, won by Natalia Yurchenko. With that, Hungary became one of the last of the Iron Curtain countries Wide World of Sports has ventured into, following the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Poland and Romania. The list also includes Cuba, China and North Korea

1984

January 7
The Harlem Globetrotters in Hong Kong.

January 21
The men's and ladies' finals at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Salt Lake City features Scott Hamilton and Rosalyn Sumners winning national titles as the final step to the Olympic Games. Hamilton, of course, went on to win the gold in Sarajevo, while Sumners settled for silver behind Katerina Witt.

January 21
Franz Klammer records his fourth victory on the famed Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Amazingly, the victory comes eight years after his Olympic Games victory in Innsbruck.

February 18
The USA-Cuba amateur boxing matches from Reno no doubt feature some of the bouts that would have been featured at the Olympic Games if the Cubans hadn't joined the Soviet boycott.

February 19 & 25
Lon Haldeman wins his second consecutive Race Across America.

March 17
Dmitri Belozerchev of the Soviet Union becomes the new star of international gymnastics by winning the all-around and three individual titles at the World Gymnastics Championships in Budapest.

March 24
Mark Breland attempts to win his fifth New York Golden Gloves title.

March 31
Swale wins the Florida Derby for his 71-year old trainer Woody Stephens. Less than two months later, Stephens would be released from a hospital the morning of the Kentucky Derby and Swale would go on to complete the fairy tale ending with a blanket of Roses. A most memorable shot of Woody Stephens hugging his doctor as the horses crossed the finish line was among the great sports moments of 1984.

May 5 & 12
The American Cup provides the American gymnasts with their final major international competition prior to the Olympic Games and Mary Lou Retton emerges as a star, scoring two perfect 10.0s. Her coach, Bela Karolyi, had one of his pupils enjoy similar success eight years earlier when Nadia Comaneci recorded the first 10.0 in international competition and went on to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympic Games.

May 26
Farewell ice skating performances by Scott Hamilton and Torvill and Dean.

July 7
Richard Petty wins the 200th race of his illustrious career in the Firecracker 400 Stock Car Race from Daytona Beach. His victory even prompted a call from President Reagan aboard Air Force One.

July 21
Final performance by Nadia Comaneci from Bucharest, Romania.

September 8 & 22
The World Cycling Championships from Barcelona, Spain. The professional road race is won by Claude Criquielion of Belgium, with Steve Bauer, a medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games, finishing third in his first month as a professional cyclist.

1985

January 5
Live coverage of Mark Breland's second professional fight against Marlon Palmer in Atlantic City, N.J.

January 12
Swiss star Pirmin Zurbriggen wins the Hahnenkamm Downhill in Kitzbuhel. He actually won both downhills in Kitzbuhel that weekend, the first of his career.

January 20
Second professional fights of Pernell Whitaker (vs Danny Avery), Evander Holyfield (vs Eric Winbush) and Meldrick Taylor (vs Dwight Pratchett), live, from Atlantic City. Whitaker, Holyfield and Taylor became regulars on WWOS in 1985.

February 3
Brian Boitano wins the first of four consecutive national titles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Kansas City. In the same show, Pirmin Zurbriggen wins the downhill at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Bormio, Italy.

February 10
Diann Roffe becomes the first American woman to win a gold medal at the World Alpine Ski Championships with her victory in the giant slalom in Bormio, Italy.

February 16
The Harlem Globetrotters in New Orleans.

April 6
Matt Biondi sets his first individual American records in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.

April 20
The second professional fight of Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs.

May 18
The UCLA Invitational Track and Field Meet features Carl Lewis winning his 42nd consecutive long jump competition with a wind-aided mark of 28-9 1/4.

June 8
Barry McGuigan defeats Eusebio Pedroza to claim the WBA Welterweight title in London. Prior to the fight, as would become tradition, his father Paddy sang "O'Danny Boy".

July 27
Wide World of Sports coverage, via satellite, of the Dream Mile from Oslo, Norway marks the first time American television provided live coverage of a world record setting performance in the mile, with Steve Cram lowering the mark to 3:46.32. The first four finishers eclipsed 3:50, including Steve Scott who finished fourth in the fastest race in history.

August 24
Microminiature camera in the mask of a home plate umpire was introduced during Wide World of Sports live coverage of the Little League World Series from Williamsport, Pa.

September 28
Barry McGuigan defends his WBA Welterweight title against Bernard Taylor in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1986

January 11
The Harlem Globetrotters visit Kansas City.

January 18
Soviet stars Oksana Omelianchik and Elena Shoushounova tie for the gold medal in the women's all-around at the World Gymnastics Championships in Montreal.

February 8
Debi Thomas becomes the first black to win a national figure skating title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Uniondale, N.Y.

February 15
Having won his WBA Welterweight title in London, England and defended it in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Barry McGuigan defends his title against Danilo Cabreira in Dublin, Ireland, making him truly a champion of all-Ireland. March 8
A young Daniela Silivas makes her first mark on Wide World of Sports when she wins the gold medal in the balance beam at the World Championships in Montreal.

March 15
Report on the comeback of Shirley Muldowney.

March 15
Dan Gable and his Iowa Hawkeyes win their ninth consecutive team title at the NCAA Wrestling Championships with a record 158 points.

March 29
In a delayed broadcast, "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler knocks out John "The Beast" Mugabi in the 11th-round of their World Middleweight Championship fight in one of the greatest fights ever shown on Wide World.

April 6
Ferdinand is a non-threatening third behind Snow Chief as ABC Sports returns to the Santa Anita Derby. Ferdinand would turn the tables on the first Saturday of May, giving jockey Bill Shoemaker a Kentucky Derby win at the age of 59.

May 24
Alain Prost of France records his third consecutive victory at the Grand Prix of Monaco.

June 28
Wide World of Sports revisits an old friend -- the Irish Derby in Kildare.

July 5
Steve Cram win his second consecutive Dream Mile in the fastest time of 1986 (3:48.31), beating the two Americans, Steve Scott and Jim Spivey.

July 12
Evander Holyfield wins his first world title with a 15-round decision against Dwight Qawi for the WBA Junior Heavyweight crown live from Atlanta.

July 26
Mike Tyson destroys Marvis Frazier with a first round knockout in their live heavyweight fight from Glenn Falls, N.Y. In the same show, Barry McGuigan loses his WBA Welterweight crown in a 15 round decision to Steve Cruz in Las Vegas.

August 30
Men's World Cup Gymnastics Championships from Beijing, China.

1987

January 10
The last live telecast of the Harlem Globetrotters from Kansas City.

January 17
Dave Scott shatters the course record en route to his fifth victory in the Ironman Triathlon, while Paula Newby-Fraser of Zimbabwe wins the women's division, also in course record time.

January 31
Switzerland's Peter Mueller edges countryman Pirmin Zurbriggen to win the men's downhill at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

February 1 & 7
Report on America's Cup yacht races from Freemantle, Australia.

February 7
Jill Trenary wins the first national title of her career at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Tacoma, Wash.

February 28
Women's World Cup individual finals from Beijing.

March 1
Pete Penseyres wins the Race Across America in a record 8 days, 9 hours and 47 minutes.

March 21
Iowa State ends Iowa's nine-year run as team champion at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, while John Smith, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist and winner of the 1990 Sullivan Award, wins his first NCAA title.

March 22
Mountain Man Winter Triathlon from Avon and Beaver Creak, Colo.

March 29
The first broadcast on Wide World of Sports of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

April 11
Pablo Morales concludes his collegiate swimming career with an NCAA record 11 individual titles and Matt Biondi ends his by setting American and NCAA records in the 50, 100 and 200 yard freestyles at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.

May 16
Western States Endurance Race from Squaw Valley to Auburn, Calif.

June 27
Carl Lewis wins his 50th consecutive long jump competition at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in San Jose, Calif.

August 1
Old and new: Greg Louganis wins the 3-meter and platform at the U.S. Diving Championships in Bartlesville, Okla., while Janet Evans makes her WWOS debut by winning four events at the U.S. Nationals in Clovis, Calif.

August 15
The International Special Olympics from South Bend, Ind.

1988

January 2
The Harlem Globetrotters journey to West Berlin. One of the highlights of the show was when they passed through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin and interacted with the people, especially, the children.

January 23
Dave Scott wins a record sixth Ironman Triathlon.

January 30
World Gymnastics Championships from Rotterdam features the men's and women's individual apparatus finals, with Daniela Silivas and Elana Shoushounova the stars of the women's competition and Dmitri Belozerchev the star of the men's.

March 19
Romanian Aurelia Dobre upsets teammate Daniela Silivas and Soviet Elena Shoushounova to win the all-around title at the World Gymnastics Championships.

March 26
The battle for the World Cup overall title between Pirmin Zurbriggen and Alberto Tomba is decided in the final races of the year in Saalbach, Austria, with Zurbriggen winning his second straight overall title.

May 7
The Kentucky Derby becomes a fixture on Wide World of Sports. Winning Colors becomes only the third filly in history to win the Kentucky Derby.

May 21
After finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, Risen Star rebounds to win the Preakness Stakes.

June 11
Risen Star wins the third leg of the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes, becoming the 31st horse to win two but not three legs of the Triple Crown.

July 2
Steve Cram of Great Britain once again wins the Dream Mile in Oslo. The race features four of the top five finishers from the 1500-meter final at the Olympic Games in Seoul later in the year.

July 16
In an exclusive interview with Wide World of Sports, owner-trainer Louee Russel announces the retirement of Preakness and Belmont winner Risen Star. Five weeks earlier Risen Star won the Belmont Stakes by 20 lengths. Only his sire, the great Secretariat, had won the race by a larger margin. Risen Star would go on to be named Horse of the Year.

July 16 & 23
The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials features Florence Griffith-Joyner as she shatters the world record for the 100 meters with a time of 10.49 seconds, lowering the mark by .27 seconds. That same day, Carl Lewis recorded the fastest time in history in the men's 100 meters, 9.78, but it was aided by a 5.2 mph wind.

August 6 & 20
The U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials mark the end of the road for two former champions, Tim Daggett and Kristie Phillips. Daggett, a member of the 1984 Olympic Team, tried to compete less than a year after shattering his leg at the World Championships in Rotterdam.

August 20
Weltklasse Meet features a Carl Lewis-Ben Johnson battle in the 100 meters.

1989

January 28
The Harlem Globetrotters from Sydney, Australia.

February 4
Tamara McKinney wins the gold medal in the women's combined at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail, Colo.

February 11
Kristi Yamaguchi wins the gold medal in the pairs competition with Rudi Galindo and the silver in the ladies' competition behind Jill Trenary at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Baltimore.

March 4
North Dakota becomes the 48th state Wide World of Sports has visited for the Virgil Hill-Bobby Czyz fight for the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship in Bismark.

April 8
Sunday Silence emerges as a Kentucky Derby favorite with a victory in the Santa Anita Derby.

April 1
Evander Holyfield-Michael Dokes heavyweight fight and a live studio interview with Holyfield.

April 15
"The Hell of the North": Paris-Roubaix.

May 6
Sunday Silence upsets the favorite, Easy Goer, to win the Kentucky Derby.

May 20
Sunday Silence edges Easy Goer in one of the greatest stretch runs in horse racing history to claim the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes.

June 10
Easy Goer ends Sunday Silence's bid for the Triple Crown with a convincing victory in the Belmont Stakes.

June 24
One of the great Wide World of Sports fights: Dennis Andries-Jeff Harding for the WBC Light Heavyweight titles.

July 1-22
Greg LeMond starts his first Tour de France in three years and battles Laurent Fignon in the greatest head-to-head race the Tour has ever seen. Among the Wide World highlights is LeMond taking the yellow jersey for the first time in the individual time trial from Dinard to Rennes during the first week of the race.

August 26
Chris Drury leads Trumbull, Conn. to an upset victory over Taiwan in the final of the Little League World Series.

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