December 05, 2002
RIP, Roone Arledge

Roone Arledge, one of the great innovators in sports television, has died at the age of 71 from cancer. Arledge gave us instant replay, slow motion, personal profiles of athletes (don't thank him too much for that when you watch the next Olympics), Monday Night Football, and ABC's Wide World of Sports.

(By the way, the skier who epitomized "the agony of defeat" is named Vinko Bogataj. He's alive and well and living in his native Slovenia. He got a concussion from that nasty fall, but continued to ski competitively and does some coaching today. Here's a list of highlights from the Wide World of Sports in the 1970s, which includes Vinko's swan dive.)

ESPN has a great obit on Arledge which gives some interesting details about MNF and Wide World (the slogan, "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!" was written on the back of an airplane ticket by Arledge).

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 05, 2002 to Other sports | TrackBack

Damn, I miss Wide World of Sports.

Best. Sports. Program. Ever.

Posted by: Devra on December 6, 2002 4:01 AM

Hey thanks for the brief memorial of Mr. Agony-of-Defeat too. I remember a few years ago, after Roone had been using that clip for about 25 years, they had a special show where they hunted down Bogataj and interviewed him. They showed him the clip and he winced and said he remembered it well, and told what happened. Then Roone asked Bogataj if he was aware that in the US, he was the symbol of the Agony of Defeat. Boy, the look on his face was priceless..
But I stopped watching WWOS after one incident, they were showing an arm-wrestling competition where the loser brok his arm during the match. They did a slowmo instant replay, and the commentator said "look! you can see the arm bone as it breaks through his skin!" They showed it several times to make sure everyone saw the grisly details. I turned off the TV and I haven't watched sports of ANY kind since that day.
But let's not forget that Roone also was almost singlehandedly responsible for turning network TV news into an entertainment product. Sports is pure entertainment, ultimately it has little effect on the world, but turning News into Infotainment has changed the face of politics.. and NOT for the better.

Posted by: Charles on December 6, 2002 7:59 PM

I remember a DOWNHILL RACER who epitomized the "agony of defeat" BEFORE Vinko Bogataj (at least, I think I do) - from the 1960's, but I can't find any evidence that he ever existed. Is there anyone, anywhere, who can confirm or deny my memory?

jim p.

Posted by: Fat Charlie the Archangel on January 19, 2004 11:40 AM

Guys, that is just amazing what Vinko Bogataj icon means in the States. I am from Slovenia and I am big ski jumping fan. HEre in SLovenia the Agony of Defeat story has not been too known, I am afraid. Perhaps it was a couple of decades ago, when I was still a kid, but actually only few people remember Vinko's nosedive.

Can anyone tell me, where could I get the ABC Agony-clip? I plan to make interview with the amazing VInko and would like to prepare for it well. Does anyone know when in fact was Vinko interviewed and when was he invited to the States?


Posted by: Matej on February 17, 2004 2:48 PM