What Were Three Major Sporting Events in the 1960s

The 1960s was an extraordinary period in American professional sports history. Thanks to overlapping seasons and expanding television markets as well as celebrity athletes who came onto the scene, every major sport experienced remarkable expansion during this era. Sports fans were treated to an unforgettable decade, from Vince Lombardi and his Green Bay Packers’ success winning multiple NFL championships to Pete Maravich of Louisiana State University dominating college basketball dynasties, Bill Russell governing Boston Celtics basketball and Wilt Chamberlain coaching college hoops in Boston. The NBA also saw tremendous growth, expanding from eight teams to seventeen by the end of the decade. Additionally, this period witnessed increased public scrutiny regarding sports in society; prominent athletes often made statements regarding racial or political causes that received either approval or disapproval from both general audiences and sports media alike.

This book by its authors takes us on a tour through some of the key moments that shaped this remarkable decade in American sports, such as President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, which triggered a national day of mourning; yet several football games, including the inaugural Super Bowl were held that Sunday despite this. Controversy still reigns regarding whether athletes should compete on such an important day and remains heatedly debated today.

Other major events of the 1960s included the Olympic Games, held for the first time ever in Japan in 1964 and featuring both innovative sports as well as traditional ones. Wilma Rudolph made this Olympics especially noteworthy as she became one of only four women ever to win gold medals in 100 meters, 200 meters, 4×100 meter relay events as a world record holder – she even made history by becoming a polio survivor who later achieved success as a college basketball player for Tennessee State University!

Miles Coverdale is the author of a 10-volume series about great teams and players in sports history, beginning with his investigation of the 1958 Green Bay Packers. His previous books on this subject have won various awards such as the National Academy of Sportswriters and Editors (NASP) Award for Book of the Year. In addition, he serves as sports columnist for both The Los Angeles Times and New York Times and contributes regularly to ESPN.

He lives in Santa Barbara, California. This article was first published in “The Los Angeles Times” on January 29, 2012. All rights are reserved by The LA Times and all reproduction rights have been granted with permission for republishing here. Please visit The LA Times Online at:http://latimes.com/sports/sports_features/article_mappings/60s/index.html for more information.

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