A television sports-anthology program that debuted on ABC in the early 60s. The new medium of satellite broadcasting allowed them to show early attempts at ping-pong diplomacy, like a USA/USSR track meet; international events got their first general US exposure on Wide World. But more often you got trash sports filler: barreljumping, or a demolition derby. A pop culture success, with its Hercules-movie theme, and its "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat..." voiceover.

The year is 1961 and this is what one(had one been around) heard coming out of one’s television set. (I believe it’s still the same today)…

"Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports ... the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat ... the human drama of athletic competition."

A couple of years later, when I was still a “little shit”, I heard those words and coupled with the video footage of that guy tumbling off the ski ramp and landing in a heap, I was hooked. Sure, there were a lot of ‘so-called “bullshit” sports that aired on Wide World of Sports but I think that might have been part of the allure. On a weekly basis, you never knew what you we’re gonna get and I don’t think one had to be a sports enthusiast to at least be entertained. Don’t believe me? Here’s a partial list of some of the events that have been covered. (Feel free to /msg me with any others that might come to mind and I’ll add ‘em to the list).

(Bear in mind folks, these were the days before cable tv, ESPN, ESPN2. Fox Sports and a myriad of other networks that cover athletic events today.)

A
Adventure Racing
Aerobatics
Air Shows
Air Races
Alpine Skiing
Auto Racing
Auto-non racing

B
Barrel Jumping
Basketball
Baton Twirling
Beach Soccer
Beach Volleyball
Bikini Competitions
Billiards
Boat Racing
Bobsled
Body Building
Bowling
Boxing
Bridge

C
Canoeing
Chess
Climbing – includes Mountain Climbing and Rock Climbing
Cricket
Croquet
Cycling
Cycloball (whatever that is)

D
Diving – includes Patform/Springboard, Cliff Diving and High Dives
Dog Sled Racing

F
Fencing
Fighter Interceptor Rocketry
Figure Skating
Fireman’s Competition
Fishing
Frisbee
Frog Jumping
Football

G
Golf
Gymnastics

H
High Wire Walking
Horse Racing
Horse Jumping

I
Ice skating marathons

K
Kayak

L
Lacrosse
Lifesaving
Luge
Lumberjack Competitions

M
Martial Arts
Monster Trucks
Motorcycle Daredevil Jumps
Motorcycle Racing

P
Parachuting
Platform Tennis
Polo
Pool

R
Rattlesnake Hunts
Rodeo
Roller Skating
Rowing
Rugby
Running
Running of the bulls

S
Skateboarding
Skiing
Ski Jumping
Ski Diving
Sky Flying
Snowboarding
Snowmobile racing
Soap Box Derby
Soccer
Softball
Special Olympics
Speed skating
Sumo Wrestling
Surfing
Swimming
Synchronized Swimming

T
Table Tennis
Tennis
Tobogganing
Track and Field
Trampoline
Triathlon

V
Volleyball

W
Water polo
Water Skiing
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Wrist Wrestling

(Thank you Roone Arledge…)

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