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The Sixties in Sports

The Sixties in Sports

Miles Coverdale’s national bestseller The Sixties in Sports illustrates how sport played a pivotal role during this turbulent decade characterized by civil unrest across America, counterculture movements on college campuses, and an intensifying Cold War with Russia. Sports were one of the few unifying forces during that turbulent era and helped define American culture while setting the course for future growth and progress.

From the 1960s on, sport experienced rapid and radical expansion. Beginning thirteen years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, this decade saw baseball grow significantly with teams emerging in Houston and New York; both the National League (established 1876) and American League (founded 1900) expanding to 10 teams each; NBA teams were established; ice hockey made waves when the Winter Olympic Games made their debut at Squaw Valley, California.

Coverdale’s book highlights many of these extraordinary athletes who were at the center of this new sporting renaissance: college basketball dynasties led by Bill Russell and UCLA’s Arthur Ashe, major-league baseball greats such as Sandy Koufax, Johnny Unitas, Satchel Paige as well as legendary figure skaters Peggy Fleming and Bobby Hull – to name just a few!

This book also explores how professional and amateur sports adapted to changing times, from professional football leagues like the National Football League’s struggle financially in 1960, until coach Vince Lombardi led Green Bay Packers coach to its inaugural championship victory under him in 1965. Conversely, basketball gradually gained in popularity throughout its existence until 1965 saw Boston Celtics emerge as its dominant franchise.

Other major developments included the creation of a players’ association – the first effective sports union; Peggy Fleming and Bobby Orr’s rise as figure skating stars was another landmark; as was professional soccer being introduced into both countries. At Rome 1960 Olympic Games some impressive athletic feats took place: Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals by running 100 meters, 200 meters, 4×100-meter relay; Bob Mathias became first American ever to win 400-meter hurdle gold; while men’s Olympic ice hockey team beat Soviet Union team to claim first gold;

The 1960s also witnessed some key milestones in the fight for civil rights and racial equality in America, such as in 1962 when Mississippi State University basketball team sneaked out despite protests from governor and police to play Loyola Chicago (an all-black team) in a regional semifinal of NCAA championships despite objections by governor and police; Loyola Chicago ultimately won this game and then went on to claim their championship – marking the first major collegiate athletic competition featuring an all-black final four.

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