The competition of sports is too much fun to resist, whether you used to play, still play, or have never played at all. There are a ton of favorite 80s sports that are still watched by millions of people, including the Olympics.
Early in the decade, there was a dispute about losing players to free agency, and the owners wanted to be compensated for it. The players began a strike on June 12, 1981, and everyone lost out on 713 games over the span of seven weeks, until the owners backed down on July 31.
After the strike, baseball was back in a really big way. The World Series had an extraordinary variety of winners throughout the 80s, and only one team won twice – the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Out of the 10 NBA Championship games played throughout the 80s, the Los Angeles Lakers won half of them. When the Lakers drafted Earvin Magic Johnson, a dynamic point-guard out of Michigan State University, ‘Showtime’ was born. To that point, basketball had not seen a player with this type of showmanship. His style, at his position, changed the game of basketball as we know it.
To make 80s basketball even more interesting, there was a rivalry with a great team from clear across the country – The Boston Celtics. The Celtics had the purist shooter in Larry Bird. Kevin McHale and Robert Parish rounded out the all-star squad. The Celtics won three of the 10 NBA Championships throughout the 80s.
The two Championships not won by either the Lakers or the Celtics were earned by the 76ers in 1983 and the Pistons in 1989.
Tennis in the 80s
Among the big names in tennis were the outspoken Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. McEnroe frequently yelled at and argued with umpires shouting “You cannot be serious!” and was well known for his temper. Other big names were Chris Evert Lloyd, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf.
In 1982, the teams participating in the FIFA World Cup were increased to 24 to encourage more nations to compete. Two World Cups were held during the 80s – the 1982 Cup was held in Spain, where Italy defeated West Germany, and in Mexico in 1986, when Argentina beat West Germany.
The 80s were the beginning of a huge popularity boost for golf; complete with the appropriate 80s outfits. One legend in particular won more tournaments than the competition – Jack Nicklaus. Other golf legends of the 80s were Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, and Ben Crenshaw.
Figure Skating in the 80s
The 80s were also the glory days of ice skating. Some legendary skaters were in their prime. In 1988, Kurt Browning landed a quadruple jump at the Olympics, a first for the sport.
Midori Ito also rose to the top at the same Olympics, becoming the first female to land a triple axel, and also the first to land seven triples during her program. Other notable skaters in the 80s were Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Brian Orser, Katarina Witt, and the dance team of Torville and Dean.
The 1980 Winter Olympics will go down in history because of one hockey game – known as The Miracle on Ice. A young, inexperienced US team upset the powerhouse Soviet team that everyone expected to win.
There was a great deal of political tension between the nations as the Cold War was still going on and President Carter was considering a boycott of the Summer Games in Moscow because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
Starting in 1981, the New York Islanders won the Stanley Cup for four straight years – a record for any sport, and not just hockey.
Sports are a great way to unwind, whether playing or watching. The legends of 80s sports made it look easy and made us all want to improve our own game, whatever that may be.