Tuesday, July 26, 2005

ESPN Classic Channel Revisits 1970s "Superstars" Competition, Which Included Elvin Hayes

The other night, I was watching a show called Cheap Seats on the ESPN Classic sports channel, and the focus of the episode was on the first "Superstars" competition, held in 1973.

Among the first of the made-for-TV sports programs (at least of which I'm aware), the Superstars brought together athletes from different sports to compete in tasks encompassing different sports (e.g., running, swimming, weightlifting). Points would be awarded for each event, and an overall champion crowned. From the initial all-male event, Superstars also evolved to include a women's Superstars, Superteams, and Celebrity Superteams.

The connection to the Houston-UCLA Game of the Century is that Cougar (and later NBA) star big man Elvin Hayes was among the participants in the inaugural Superstars. According to the highlights shown on Cheap Seats, Hayes won the 100-yard dash (this was before metric distances caught on in U.S. track and field). According to this summary of the 1973 Superstars, Hayes finished sixth overall out of 10 athletes.