Home > 70s Culture > Sports in the 1970s

Sports in the 1970s

Every decade has its sports moments and the sports in the 1970s was no exception.

Each and every year of the decade, something happened in the realm of professional sports that would be remembered for a long time or that would impact the future of a particular sport.

In addition, four Olympic games were held that decade – both winter and summer games in 1972 and 1976. During these games, notable moments in sports would occur, many that are still remembered today.

Major League Sports in the 1970s

With a television in nearly every home, millions and millions enjoyed watching major league sports on television during the 1970s. It gave even those who didn’t have a major league team close by an opportunity to enjoy watching their favorite teams and players.

In 1970, Monday Night Football began and became one of the longest running prime time “series” ever. Men would gather together in their dens each Monday evening to watch the game of the week and enjoy their favorite drinks and snacks.

In the 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers dominated the NFL scene, winning the Superbowl four times between 1973 and 1980.

In Major League Baseball, the Oakland A’s won the World Series three times, with the Pirates, Yankees, and Reds winning two each. In 1974, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s long standing home run record.

In hockey, Wayne Gretzky would dominate the sport. And as for basketball, the 70s brought the 3-point shot to the NBA.

The Olympics in the 1970s

In the 1970s, Olympics still came every four years, with both winter and summer games being held during the same year. In 1972 and 1976, each Olympic event made memories for many.

The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich brought us little Olga Korbut, the Russian gymnast with the sweet smile and amazing skills; and Mark Spitz, the U.S. swimmer who won seven gold medals in one Olympics.

The 1972 Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, Japan. For America, the sweetheart of those games was blonde-haired figure skater Janet Lynn, who won only a bronze but captured the heart of the world.

The 1976 Summer Olympics were held in Canada for the first time. Montreal played host to these games, which were officially opened by Queen Elizabeth.

The most notable athlete of those games? Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast who scored 7 perfect 10s, the first in Olympic history. At the same games, Americans dominated men’s boxing, with five U.S. fighters winning gold.

The Winter Olympics of 1976 were held in Innsbruck, Austria. Memorable performances of those games including U.S. figure skater Dorothy Hamill’s gold medal-winning routines and an equally impressive men’s routine by British skater John Curry.