Wide World of Sports

1961, TV Show

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wide world of sports

ESPN Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Wide World of Sports

Long before there was ESPN (or ESPN2 or ESPNU or Versus or Speed or any of the numerous other channels dedicated to sports) ABC's Wild World of Sports was a pioneer in coverage of niche and emerging athletic events. The venerable anthology series premiered 50 years ago this week, on April 29, 1961, and is perhaps best known for host Jim McKay's iconic opening narration: "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

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ESPN Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Wide World of Sports

Long before there was ESPN (or ESPN2 or ESPNU or Versus or Speed or any of the numerous other channels dedicated to sports) ABC's Wild World of Sports was a pioneer in coverage of niche and emerging athletic events. The venerable anthology series premiered 50 years ago this week, on April 29, 1961, and is perhaps best known for host Jim McKay's iconic opening narration: "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

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Premiered: April 29, 1961, on ABC
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Premise: Television's longest-running sports anthology show, showcasing the `thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,' was a Saturday-afternoon staple in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Spanning nearly 40 years of athletic achievements and oddities, this brainchild of ABC programming pioneer Roone Arledge featured a little something for everyone, from barrel jumping, cliff diving and demolition derbies to coverage of major events like the Olympics and heavyweight-title fights.

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