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ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961-1998)



ABC's Wide World of Sports

(1961 - 1998)

Adventure / Anthology / Family

120 minutes / 90 minutes

Hosts:

Jim McKay (1961–1998)
Becky Dixon (1987–1988)
Frank Gifford (1987–1993)
Julie Moran (1994–1995)
Robin Roberts (1996–1998)

ABC's Wide World of Sports is a sports anthology series on American television that ran from 1961 to 1998.

Created by Edgar Scherick, who would become Vice President of Network Programming for ABC, the original producer of the program was Roone Arledge.  Arledge was later the executive producer of ABC Sports and president of ABC News.

The original broadcast in April 1961 covered the Penn and Drake Relay races, broadcast from Franklin Field, featuring Jim McKay and Jesse Abramson, and Jim Simpson from Drake Stadium.

Each week Jim McKay would introduce the program, saying, “…Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition... This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!”

What began as a program intended for one summer season was so popular that it continued for 37 years.  The intent was to include sports from around the world, featuring two or three sports per episode.  All kinds of sports were shown including many that had not been seen on American television before such as rodeo events, curling, jai-alai, surfing, badminton and many, many others.  NASCAR competitions were particularly popular segments.  Olympic sports were also popular and included skiing, gymnastics, track and field and figure skating competitions.

The program is credited as being the first to cover Wimbledon, The Indianapolis 500, the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, the Daytona 500, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the Little League World Series, The British Open Golf Tournament, the X-Games, the Grey Cup, and many others.



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Matinee Classics - ABC's Wide World of Sports


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