Since its inception in 1954, Sports Illustrated magazine has annually presented the Sportsman of the Year award to “the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement.”….with both Americans and non-Americans being eligible….although throughout the history of the award, the vast majority of winners have been from the United States. Both men and women have won the award….which was originally called the “Sportsman of the Year”….and has been recently renamed “Sportsperson of the Year.” to meet the guidelines of political correctness in today’s world.
The trophy is a ceramic replica of an ancient Greek amphora (circa 510 BCE) which depicts nude male Hellenistic athletes engaged in a variety of athletic activities of running, discus, and javelin. It measures 8″ in diameter and stands 18.5″ high (20.32 x 47 cm). The original amphorae was acquired by Sports Illustrated magazine in 1954 and was donated to the “Sports” collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 1979….as winners of the award are now presented with a copy of the amphora made in silver by Tiffany & Co.
This telecast of the 1984Sportsman of the Year Award was aired on NBC and was hosted by NFL great Merlin Olsen…and featured two of the most celebrated athletes from the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games….female gymnast Mary Lou Retton and 400m hurdles track star Edwin Moses.
Mary Lou Retton is a retired American gymnast….who at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition….as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals….as her performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States. Retton was the first ever American woman to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympics and was the only one to do so for 20 years thereafter….for she is credited with being a pioneering figure in American women’s gymnastics….which includes the four American women who have since equaled her feat by y: Carly Patterson (Athens in 2004), Nastia Liukin (2008 in Beijing), Gabby Douglas (2012 in London) and Simone Biles (2016 in Rio de Janeiro).
Edwin Moses is an American former track and field athlete who won gold medals in the 400m hurdles at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and 1984 L A Olympics….who between 1977 and 1987 won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races) and set the world record in the event four times. In addition to his running, Moses was also an innovative reformer in the areas of Olympic eligibility and drug testing. In 2000, he was elected the first Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an international service organization of world-class athletes.
What this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile likes most about these Sportsman of the Year programs are the personal accomplishment profiles and highlights of all the athletes who were in consideration for the award….and 1984 was an exceptional year….which makes this video MUST SEE TV.