DAVID BIANCULLI

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1961: Before ESPN, TV Had 'Wide World of Sports'
April 29, 2012  | By Christy Slewinski
 
Long before the name was borrowed for the Walt Disney Wold Resort's massive sports complex, Wide World of Sports was an ABC anthology series showcasing sporting events ranging from drag racing and bowling to rodeo and track and field. The program, which debuted today in 1961 (and ran in various forms until 1998), was hosted by sportscaster Jim McKay, who gave voice to the indelible opening sequence containing the phrase "the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat." Additional hosts included Frank Gifford, Julie Moran and Robin Roberts. The show also had an array of event announcers, such as Howard Cosell, Muhammad Ali, Al Michaels, Brent Musberger, Don Meredith, Bruce Jenner and even late night talk-show host David Letterman.
 
 
 
 
 
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