|This timeline was done for the 2008 exhibit "Playing Place: Southern California Sports" for the Studio for Southern California History. Copyright 2009 the Studio for Southern California History.|
While sports have existed as far back as 3000 BC, US historians mark the rise of sports & a physical fitness culture to the late 19th century often associating it with a "new masculinity." LA’s’ rise as a city & magnet for migration coincided with the place’s reputation for sunshine, outdoor activities & rejuvenation. Since then Southern California has produced athletes, coaches & fans who brought new models of behavior & attitude to sports, often re-defining them entirely. In addition to the development of expert skill & comraderie, sports require performance. To not seek out excellence runs counter to the goals of competition & often eligibility to participate. For groups, particularly those denied a spotlight in dominant US culture, activities that not only allowed public achievement but acknowledged & celebrated it were important arenas for expression. Similarly, the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City when two US athletes protested American racism while receiving their medals & the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” between Billie Jean King & Bobby Riggs (who believed women athletes were inferior to their male counterparts) demonstrate that when groups are denied a political voice, it is often athletes who are able to make the most potent statements to broader audiences. Sports can provide the arenas for the passing of knowledge & experience from one lifetime to the next. Finally, play, which is so intertwined with sports) represents rebellion to work & in its spontaneity, play undermines the organization of modern living. How we play has changed over time; these transformations reflect broader social & cultural changes too- from what constitutes fair play, to technological changes in how we play, to expectations we may have regarding who can play what. This timeline hopes to how us why we hold contemporary athletes to high standards: there is a legacy of courage, stamina & creative genius in our shared history of sports. Play is action that can be spontaneous & hopefully, enjoyable.
Special thanks go to Jose Alamillo, Nancy Bautista, Bob Drwila, the Japanese American National Museum, Hillary Jenks, Bjorn Littlefield-Palmer, Marie Matsumoto, La’ Tonya Rease Miles, Marie Therese Singson & Sandra Uribe, the latter two having painstakingly researched each timeline entry.
1968 Olympics: John Carlos & Tommie Smith, teammates at San Jose University, were both competitors in the 200-meter race. Smith won the gold with a time of 19.5 seconds & Carlos won the bronze. At the medal ceremony, Smith & Carlos stood on the platform wearing black socks without shoes, an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, & Smith wore a black scarf around his neck. As the American flag was raised & the National Anthem was played, Smith & Carlos each bowed their head & raised a gloved fist in the black power salute. Because of their actions, the Olympic Committee barred them from competing in other events. Back in the US, instead of being celebrated for their achievements, the two were subjected to death threats.
1973 Battle of the Sexes: Bobby Riggs was a world champion tennis player in 1939 at 16 but in 1973 at 55 he felt he could beat Billie Jean King, the reigning women’s champion. Riggs proclaimed often & loudly that women could never be the players men were; “they were simply too weak.” Billie Jean King seized his challenge in order to highlight the unjust discrepancy between the salaries of men & women athletes. The much hyped “Battle of the Sexes” was held at the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973 & drew the largest ever live audience for a tennis match: an estimated 50 million TV viewers watched. Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in three straight sets of tennis. The scores were 6-4, 6-3, & 6-3. Riggs & King remained friends throughout all the hype & beyond. In reference to the famous match she said, "It helped a lot of people realize that everyone can have skills whether you are a man or woman... as well as helping men & women understand each other."
3200 BC: While excavating a child’s crypt in Egypt in the 1930s Sir Flinders Petrie finds evidence of a sport similar to bowling. The artifacts date back to 3200 BC. 5. Games & contests date back to 2000 BC. The Egyptian tomb at Beni Hasan has wall paintings depicting a number of activities, including wrestling shown here. 6. 776 BC: the origins of the modern Olympic Games begin in Olympia, Greece. The ancient games are held every 4 years, showcasing foot races, the long jump, boxing, discus throwing & chariot races. Importantly, the competition brings the usually separated Greek city-states together. As the Roman Empire grows, the Games will diminish. In 393 AD Emperor Theodosius bans the Olympic Games.
6th BC: Polo, the earliest organized team sport on record originates in Persia. It derives from training games among the king’s guards & army troops. Polo is popularized when the Mongols spread it across Asia.
400 BC: Originating with the Olmecs, Tlachtli is played among the ancient civilizations of Central & South America. Tlachtli is used in lieu of warfare to settle disputes. It is played with a solid rubber ball with a 6 in. diameter & has elements of basketball, football & soccer in its play. Tlachtli is played in a sunken court where 2 stone rings hang on the gallery walls of each side of the court. The goal of the game is to drive the ball across the center line into one’s opponent’s space. The ball may not touch the ground & any contact with the ball must be done with only the knees & hips.
23 BC: Japan’s sumo wrestling originates as a religious ritual, although later used for military training & entertainment. It becomes the national sport. The 1st records of a sumo match date to 23 BC; the match was held at the emperor’s request. The shifts in sumo wrestling are related to each ruler & audience response to the sport.
1100s AD: The origins of golf are traced back to Scotland, China & the Netherlands in 1297.
1680: the Pueblo Revolt orchestrated & led by Popé, becomes the most successful act of Native American resistance against Spanish occupation. Its success is possible only with the aid of runners who carry messages spreading the revolt to various villages. The messages take the form of a knotted yucca fiber cord, signifying the number of days til the uprising.
1738: While the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece & Rome have records of competitive fist fighting, modern boxing (or pugilism) is traced to 18th century England where the 1st Bare Knuckle championships are recognized. Britain’s Jack Broughton is acknowledged as “the father of boxing.” He devises the Broughton Rules after he unintentionally kills a ring opponent. The rules prohibit hitting an opponent when down, a downed fighter has ½ minute to get up, & bans all persons from being in the ring except the fighters. By 1838, these rules are replaced by the more detailed London Prize Ring Rules. Broughton is credited with the invention of the “mufflers,” predecessors to modern boxing gloves.
1840s: Several states adopt Black Codes to reduce the freedom of former slaves. For example, Article 13 of Indiana’s 1851 state constitution states that “No Negro or Mulatto shall come into, or settle in, the State, after the adoption of this Constitution.” Later, states like Oregon (1857) write constitutions that contain harsh prohibitions against black Americans & Asian immigrants. This climate will shape much of US sport for the 19th & early 20th centuries.
1847: the Treaty of Cahuenga ends the fighting of the Mexican American War in California. The treaty is signed by Lt. Col. John C. Fremont & General Andres Pico on January 13, on the kitchen table at Tomas Feliz’s adobe house at Campo de Cahuenga (now North Hollywood). The Treaty allows the Californios who fought for Mexico to return home after giving up their artillery & provides that all prisoners from both sides are immediately freed.
1850s - 1860s: Baseball’s popularity in Latin America grows. US sailors & Cuban migrants introduce the sport to Central & South America. By 1860 baseball reaches the Yucatan Peninsula.
1855: “Billiard Tables & Bowling Alleys” The front page of The Los Angeles Star (at right), also known as La Estrella, reveals the Montgomery Saloon’s advertisement, boasting of billiards tables & that its bowling alleys have been rebuilt “since the fire.” LA in the 1850s was known as 1 of the most violent places in the US. The Montgomery’s offerings no doubt added a much needed respite to its population, which is 4,385 in 1860. Developed in France in the 1600s, billiards was a popular US pastime in the 19th century. In the 1840s, billiards became associated with pool parlors in large cities. The word "pool" at the time meant gambling, but it was soon attached to the American form of pocket billiards--still commonly known as pool. While gentlemen played billiards in their homes or in their exclusive clubs, the popular version of the sport developed a questionable reputation associated with saloons, gambling, liquor & “loose women.”
1865: Vassar College opens in Poughkeepsie, New York. This women’s college incorporates a traditional liberal arts education equal to any men’s college. Physical training classes include riding, gardening, swimming, boating & skating--activities identified as “feminine.” Vassar willl boast one of the first women’s baseball teams, the Resolutes, pictured in this 1876 photograph.
1880s: Cheerleading begins as an organized movement by Johnny Campbell of the University of Minnesota. Campbell authors the 1st fight song. The 1st recorded yell is performed at a football game at Princeton University by Thomas Peebles: “RAY, RAY, RAY! TIGER, TIGER, SIS, SIS, SIS! BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Aaaah! PRINCETON, PRIN CETON, PRINCETON!” The early history of cheerleading is dominated by men, something that has been reversed over time in addition to the incorporation of elements of physical actions like dance, gymnastics & stunts.
1882: Vincent “Sandy” Nava holds the position of relief catcher for the National League’s Providence Grays of Massachusetts (at left). Nava joins on May 5, 1882 at the age of 32 & is the 1st Latino player in the major leagues before the color line is formally instated in 1887.
1884: Women’s singles tennis is added to the Wimbledon Championship. In 1884 & in 1885 Maud Watson becomes the 1st singles champion.
1885: 8 year-old Mamie Tape’s parents sue the San Francisco Board of Education for refusing to admit their daughter to a public school. They lose when the state hastily builds a school for Asian students. The California Supreme Court establishes a doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ in the segregation of state schools. This will not be overturned until 1947.
1887: James Madison Toy, of Sioux 24. ancestry, is recognized as the 1st Native American to play professional baseball, when he joins the Cleveland Blues as a catcher. Throughout his career he conceals his ancestry from the Anglo dominated sport. His apprehension is justifiable, especially with US policy against Native Americans, like the 1890 massacre of 300 Sioux at Wounded Knee. Wounded Knee Creek was to be a convenient place for the Seventh Cavalry to disarm the last of the Sioux Indians. A shot rang out, & 300 Lakota were gunned down. 18 members of the Seventh Cavalry received the Medal of Honor.
By July of 1887 the International League restricts future contracts with African Americans, affecting all people of color. Baseball will be segregated until the 1940s.
In November 1887, George Hancock, a member of Chicago’s Farragut Boat Club, & some twenty young men gather for an impromptu game of baseball at the Club’s quarters in the 3000 block of Lake Park Avenue. Snowy conditions push the game indoors. The confines of the Club’s gymnasium prompt modifications to the rules & dimension of a standard baseball game. The game’s positive reception leads to the Mid Winter Indoor Baseball League – similar to softball. Therefore, Hancock is credited with the development of softball, which is standardized in 1933.
1888: Automotive pioneer Berta Benz becomes the first woman to drive 62 miles on a cross-country journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany.The Benz’s transform the automotive world with the 3-wheeled Benz Patent Motorwagen – pavingthe way for the development of the automobile & auto racing.
1888:The Amateur Athletic Union is established to standardize & unify amateur sports within the US. The union serves as the leading organization to determine an athlete's amateur status, affecting his or her eligibility to participate in the Olympic Games. By the late 1960s & early 1970s, women challenge the union’s restrictions on female sporting events.
1895: The American Bowling Congress is organized. It establishes standards on equipment & institutes rules.
1896: The first modern Olympic Games are held in Athens, Greece.
1896: On April 4th, the first women's intercollegiate basketball championship is played at the Armory Hall in San Francisco between Stanford & the University of California, Berkeley. Stanford wins 2-1.
1897: Los Angeles’ 1st Featherweight World Boxing Champion “Solly” Smith attains the world title on October 4, defeating George Dixon. Smith was born Solomon García Smith from Mexican & Irish American parents in 1871 & begins his professional boxing career in 1888. The championship bout takes place at Woodward’s Pavilion in San Francisco & Smith defeats Dixon (the reigning champion for the previous 8 years) by a decision after a 20 round match.
1899: June 9, James “the Boilermaker” Jefferies of Burbank earns the World Heavyweight Champion title when he knocks out Robert “Bob” Fitzsimmons in an 11 round fight at the Coney Island Athletic Club. Jeffries has been recognized not for his boxing accomplishments, but for his comeback to boxing when he was hyped as “the Great White Hope,” in a media made match of the races between Jefferies & Jack Johnson. Jefferies reportedly vowed: "I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro," & was soundly defeated – tainting Jefferies’ then undefeated record. After retirement, Jefferies buys a ranch in Burbank (at Victory Boulevard & Buena Vista Avenue) that included a barn. Jefferies transformed the barn into a fight gym & arena from 1931 until Jefferies’ death in 1953. The “Jefferies Barn” was famous for its weekly bouts on Thursday nights for up-and-coming amateur boxers.
1900: The first 22 women are invited to compete at the Olympic Games in Paris, France in 2 sporting events: tennis & golf. Great Britain’s Charlotte Cooper becomes the 1st woman to win an Olympic medal for singles tennis. American golfer, Margaret Ives Abbott, becomes the 1st woman to earn a gold medal.
1903: The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is established, creating stability for professional baseball. The league encompasses two teams – the Los Angeles Angels & the Hollywood Stars, which attracts loyal fans for a half-century. The PCL ends when the Brooklyn Dodgers move to LA in 1957.
1900: Horace M. Dobbins, former Pasadena mayor & bicycle enthusiast, envisions an elevated cycle-way that links the City of Pasadena to Downtown Los Angeles. The 1.5 mile wooden structure, “The Pasadena Cycleway” seeks to relieve roadway congestion brought about by animals, pedestrians & automobiles. By the 1890s, bicycles begin to be mass-produced, making them more readily available to the masses for transportation or leisure. By the turn-of-the century, cities all over Southern California host bicycle races & tours. Dobbins’ idea is short-lived; by the emergence of Henry Ford’s mass-produced Model T in 1908. However, Dobbins’ vision sets the foundation for the Arroyo Seco Parkway.
1904: Barney Oldfield, a legend of auto racing, becomes the 1st person to travel a mile a minute (at 54 seconds), earning this new world record at LA’s Agricultural Park (now Exposition Park).The Los Angeles Times describes his November 4 feat as: “Barney Oldfield’s attempt to commit suicide at the Agricultural Park yesterday only resulted in a compound fracture of the world’s automobile record.”
1913: Albert Ray, a Pima Indian & student at the Sherman Institute in Riverside along with other classmates dominate the LA Athletic Club Marathon & the LA Times Marathon. On February 22, Ray wins the Los Angeles Athletic Club 10 mile race & in April he wins the Times marathon. Ray’s phenomenal career is short-lived; World War I results in the cancellation of the Olympic Games where he is scheduled to make his world debut. Ray joins the armed forces and is killed overseas.
1914: Women's basketball rules change to allow half-court play, expanded from the original one-third court rules. Full court play for women is not implemented until the 1970's.
1915: Anita King, a racecar driver & silent film actress (known as "The Paramount Girl") becomes the 1st woman to drive an automobile across the United States alone. King’s cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York City took 49 days, making headlines across the nation. Prior to this transcontinental record, King sets a new women’s record for her 17 hour, 55 minute excursion from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
1916: the American Tennis Association (ATA) is established by African American businessmen, professors, & physicians who seek to create an environment for African Americans to partake in competitive organized tennis. The ATA is created as an alternative to the whites only United States Tennis Association.
1917: Teacher Nellie Grace Oliver inaugurates the Oliver social & athletic clubs for Japanese American youth in Los Angeles. 10 separate Oliver teams excel in baseball, football & basketball in the statewide Japanese Athletes Union between 1917 & 1942, when Japanese Americans are removed from the West Coast & placed in internment camps. Between 1961 & 2001, the former Olivers reconvene annually to award a trophy & scholarship to Southern California’s outstanding Japanese American high school athletes in honor of their former teacher & mentor.
1920s: The Negro Baseball Leagues develop, propelled by “Jim Crow” laws throughout the United States that justify the exclusion of African Americans from major & minor league teams. The start of structured baseball leagues materialize under the guidance of Andrew “Rube” Fowler, a former player & owner of Chicago’s American Giants. The leagues begin to disband by the late 1940s, when major league baseball franchises slowly integrate.
1921: The National Women's Athletic Association is organized. 44. In the 1920s, the Japanese community rallies together to form the Women’s Athletic Union (WAU) & the Japanese Athletic Union (JAU) to foster sports. The WAU organizes basketball, softball, and volleyball teams, whereas the JAU organizes football, baseball, track & basketball teams. Undoubtedly, these organizations seek to facilitate community unification & cultural pride.
1922: The Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California is completed. A National Historic Landmark, the Rose Bowl recognized around the nation as the host of the New Year’s Football Tournament. In 1922 the Rose Bowl holds its first football game between Cal & USC. As of 1982, the stadium has become home to the UCLA Bruins & has hosted various sporting events including the World Cup & Super Bowl.
1924: The 1st Winter Olympic Games are played in Chamonix, France. Figure skating is the only event in which women are allowed to participate.
1924: New Yorker Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle is the 1st woman to swim across the English Channel. She exceeds expectations by breaking the men’s record with a 14 hour, 31 minute swim – beating the best time by 2 hours. She wins 1 Gold medal & 2 Bronzes for swimming at the 1924 Summer Olympics. 48.
1924: White Sox Park, built by Joe & John Pirrone at 38th Street & Compton Avenue, is a ballpark where non-white baseball & softball teams play. As the restrictive color lines gradually fade, so does the park. The park’s demise begins with the arrival of the Dodgers to Los Angeles in the late 1950s.
1924: The Grand Olympic Auditorium, located at 1801 S. Grand Avenue opens to the public on August 5, 1925. The venue is built to host boxing, weightlifting & wrestling at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games. During the 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s the auditorium hosts some of boxing’s biggest matches. By the mid 1980s, the venue closes its doors due to low attendance, but reopens in 1993. 50. 1930s: The Great Depression devastates the US. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) employs thousands of citizens in an effort to alleviate the economic downturn. Included in its approximately 12,300 projects is the improvement and construction of tennis courts, athletic fields, horseshoe courts, handball courts, swimming pools, ski trails & golf courses.
1932: The original Corona Athletics Baseball Club is 1st organized. The team consists of Mexican Americans that work in the Corona citrus industry. Participation in baseball gives players an opportunity to attain leadership & organization skills, which they utilize as active community leaders such as Marcelino Barba, Gilbert Enriquez, & Marcus “Mocho” Uribe. 52. 1932: The Olympics are held in Los Angeles. The city constructs the Olympic Village for the Games on 321 acres in Baldwin Hills, offering 2 bedroom portable bungalows for the male athletes, a hospital, post office, library & eating establishments to feed the athletes. Female athletes were housed in the Chapman Park Hotel downtown, which offered more luxuries than the bungalows. The 1932 Olympic Games debuts the first photo-finish cameras as well as the victory platform.
1932: Mildred “Babe” Didrikson, America’s most accomplished athlete in the 20th century, wins numerous medals & sets an array of records in basketball, track & field & golf. At the 1932 Olympic Games, Didrikson wins 2 Gold medals (for the javelin & 80-meter hurdles) & 1 silver medal (for the high jump). Didrikson becomes the 1st woman to win medals in 3 events at the Summer Games. Unfortunately, Olympic rules restrict female competitors to 3 events. Didrikson is also credited with helping start a women’s professional golf tour. Locally, her legacy is commemorated through the naming of a golf course in the City of Industry.
1932: La Asociación Atlética Mexicana del Sur de California, forms on the heels of the Los Angeles Olympics with the collaboration of the Department of Parks & Recreations. The association is well received due to the growing popularity of baseball among second-generation Mexican American youth. The association organizes its own baseball league, the Southern California Mexican Baseball League that has 15 amateur & semi-professional baseball teams. By 1938, the association seeks the participation of Mexican women athletes to partake its 7th Olympics of the Athletic Association.
1930s-1940s: Mary Ann Hawkins (Morrissey) of Venice is recognized as “the greatest woman surfer of the first half of the 20th century.” She begins her career as a freestyle swimmer & in 1936, she earns 1st place in the 1st all female paddleboard competition. In addition, she is the first woman to participate in the Catalina - Manhattan Beach Aquaplane race. Her accomplishments pave the way for female up & coming surfers.
1940: Belle Martel of Van Nuys becomes the 1st female boxing referee & officiates at 8 fights in San Bernardino, California. She is forced to retire by the California Athletic Commission soon after her career begins due to her gender.
1942: Following the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt authorizes the internment of Japanese descents with Executive Order 9066. Shortly after, the War Relocation Authority begins to move people of Japanese descendants living on the West Coast. Many use sports to create a sense of normalcy despite their bleak conditions. In essence, teams are created or transplanted within the internment camps. One example is Manzanar’s Chic-A-Dee softball team, a team comprised of all Japanese American women. The various sports teams hold their own championship game while interned.
1943-1954: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League emerges from the onset of World War II. The Chicago Cubs owner Philips K. Wrigley supplements men’s baseball with women & the league creates multiple franchises throughout Midwestern cities such as the Kenosha Comets, South Bend Blue Sox, Milwaukee Chicks, Peoria Redwings, Springfield Sallies & the Rockford Peaches. The league is a largely segregated until1947, when 11 Latina players begin playing for the league. 2 come from the LA area, Margaret Villa Cryan & Helen Machado Van Sant.
1940s -1960s: Considered the New York Yankees of East LA, the Carmelita Chorizeros of Monterey Park have an array of talented players. Mario López, owner of the Carmelita Chorizo Company, founds the team in 1946. Manuel “Shorty” Perez, manages the team for nearly 35 & leads them to 19 city championships. The team facilitates the preservation of community & strengthens social networks.
1947: Los Tomboys, an all women’s Mexican American softball team in Orange become the reigning Orange County softball champions. Residents of the Cypress Street Barrio & El Modena Barrio join together to form a softball team because as Mexican Americans they are excluded from Anglo American teams such as the prominent Orange Lionettes. The games allow Mexican communities to assert cultural pride & create community solidarity.
1947: Jackie Robinson integrates baseball at the major leagues. When he begins playing for the Dodgers in 1947, at age 28, he is older than the typical rookie. Baseball fans & players react to Robinson with everything from uncontrolled enthusiasm evident in newspaper headlines, to open hostility expressed in death threats. His athletic abilities prevailed despite the intense pressures caused by breaking the "color line." He wins respect & becomes a symbol of black opportunity. The Sporting News, which has opposed blacks in the major leagues, gives Robinson its 1st Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, the award is renamed in Robinson's honor in 1987. After a few seasons of playing well while tolerating racial insults, Robinson stepped up his playing style & spoke out often. He stirs controversy by protesting - umpires' calls, hotels that refuse to let him stay with his teammates, & teams that refuse to hire black players.
1947: The United Autoworkers threaten to withdraw its sponsorship of bowling leagues & tournaments if the white bowling association did not allow open competition among people of all races. The economic threat of this organization made the American Bowling Congress re-think its racial organization of bowling. This is an example of a local impact on “racial” bowling that affects bowling on a national level.
1948: Introduced to tennis at the young age of 12, Richard “Pancho” Alonzo Gonzalez goes on to win both amateur & professional tennis titles. Despite the lack of formal tennis lessons, the Los Angeles native possesses a trademark serve that propels him to victory. In 1948 & 1949, he captures the United States single’s tennis championship. However, early in his career he is met with negative responses by the elite tennis establishment because of his Mexican American background.
1948: Highland Park’s Sammie Lee dives into Olympic history by becoming the first Asian American to win a gold medal. He later coaches Olympic diving champions Pat McCormick, Greg Louganis, & Bob Webster. In 1932,12 year-old Sammy Lee is inspired after watching a diver propel himself into the public swimming pool. He wants to try diving, but the Korean American boy, like any person of color in Los Angeles, is only allowed to use the pool one day a week. Nothing deters Lee from his goal.
1949: Marcenia Lyle Alberga (who plays under the name Toni Stone) is the 1st woman to play on a professional men's baseball league. She begins her career playing for the American League championship team in San Francisco, the Sea Lions, a black semiprofessional barnstorming team between 1945 - 1947 when unhappy with her salary, she joins the Black Pelicans in New Orleans. In 1949, she accepts an offer by the New Orleans Creoles, where she makes $300 a month. Even though she begins her baseball career at the peak of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League racial segregation restricts her participation in the league.
1951: Althea Gibson becomes the 1st African American player to compete at Wimbledon.
1951: Florence Chadwick, a 32 year-old from San Diego, becomes the 1st woman to swim the English Channel in both directions breaking Gertrude Ederle’s record in 13 hours, 20 minutes. Chadwick’s 40 year long-distance swimming career includes a 26 mile swim to Catalina Island from San Diego, crossing the straits of Gibraltar, & a round trip swim between Europe & Asia. Through the decades, she promotes sports for women.
1960: San Diego native, Donna de Varona becomes the youngest member of the 1960 US Olympic swimming team at the age of thirteen. At the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, she earns two gold medals, for the 400-meter Medley & the 100-meter freestyle relay (setting a new world record of 4:03.8). Her tenacity continues after her swimming career ends by working to push the passage Title IX (1972) & the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. De Varona becomes the first female sports broadcaster for network television for ABC & later founds the Women’s Sports Foundation.
1960: Judy Seki Sakata Kikuta is the 1st woman west of the Mississippi to bowl a sanctioned 300 game, a member of the Tournament Bowl team, which wins the 1960 National Women's Team Championship, & is named the 1960 Southern California bowler of the year.
1960s: Mohammed Ali refuses the draft & is severely punished. Born Cassius Clay, in Louisville, Kentucky, he begins his boxing career. Ali’s hand & foot speed captivated attention. In 1960, Ali competes in the Rome Olympics, where he wins a gold medal in the light heavyweight division. Moving up in weight, Ali captures the Heavyweight Championship from 1964-67, 1974-78, & 1978-79. However, his refusal to partake in the armed forces during the Vietnam War results in the stripping of his world title, his barring in boxing, & imprisonment in 1967. By 1971, the US Supreme Court rules in his favor. 71. 1960s: Skateboarding originates as “sidewalk surfing” in Venice, California, during the late 50s & early 60s. The 1st skateboards are constructed out of 2 by 4s & roller-skate wheels. By the mid 60s, skateboards begin to be mass-produced.
1967: The Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) is established by Dr. Harry Edwards & threatens to boycott the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The OPHR demands the restoration of Ali’s Olympic gold medal, the removal of Avery Brundage (a notorious white supremacist) as head of the US Olympic Committee & the disinvitation of South Africa (an apartheid state).
1968: The global Special Olympics movement starts on July 20, when the 1st International Special Olympics Games are held in Chicago. The concept grows from a day camp started by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962.
1970s: Katherine Switzer opens up marathon racing. In 1967 she runs the Boston Marathon. Because it is still a male-only event, she registers as K. Switzer & runs the entire route with officials attempting to tear her number from her back & estimates her time at just over 4 hours & 20 minutes. Her run creates such a stir that the AAU, the Amateur Athletic Union of the US, rallies to get the rules changed. In 1972, after a long & hard five year battle, Switzer becomes one of nine women to run officially & legally in the Boston Marathon.
1970 - 1971: Dusty Mizunoue wins back-to-back Western Women's Bowlers Opens in 1970 & 1971 & bowls in the Lady's Professional Bowlers Association. She wins every individual, team championship at the national JACL/JANBA tournaments, & takes part in goodwill tours of Hawai’i (1959) & Japan (1967-68).
1972: Congress passes Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.” When President Nixon signs the act on July 23, about 31,000 women are involved in college sports; spending on athletic scholarships for women is less than $100,000; & the average number of women's teams at a college is 2.1.
1974: Henry “Hank” Aaron sets a new home run record. On April 8 1974, he breaks Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714. However, Aaron’s triumph is met with death threats & hate mail from people not wanting an African American to break Ruth’s record. His career spans 23 years, earning various records such 1,477 extra-bases bits & 2,297 runs batted. He is most recognized for his home run record of 755, which he holds for over 33 years. On August 7, 2007, slugger Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants breaks the home run record, but not without encountering allegations of using muscle enhancement drugs.
1977: Lucy Harris is the 1st woman to be drafted by an NBA team (New Orleans Jazz) & then in 1979, Ann Meyers signs an NBA contract for $50,000 for one year with the Indiana Pacers. Neither ever appear in a game.
1981: Fernando Valenzuela joins the Dodgers. This Mexican left-handed star is sought out by the Dodgers & Dodger Stadium is transformed into a Mexican fiesta on the nights he pitches. Valenzuela becomes an instant media icon, a huge drawing card to the Los Angeles Hispanic community, triggering a mad race to acquire his rookie baseball cards.
1982: Cheryl Miller, senior at Riverside Polytechnic High School – scores a record-breaking 105 points in a single game. Miller goes on to play for USC & fosters the success of women’s basketball.
1984: The 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles introduce the women’s marathon to the games. Joan Benoit Samuel earns the gold medal, despite knee injuries. During the 1980s, Samuelson is considered a leading long-distance runner, setting a record in 1983 with her finish time of 2:22:43 in the Boston Marathon. This is a monumental moment for women around the world because Olympic officials in 1928 have restricted women from competing in races longer than 200 meters on the assumption that the longer distance might be too strenuous on the female body. The LA Olympics are the 1st privately financed Games ever & made an unheard of profit of $215 million. Time Magazine is so impressed it named organizing president Peter Ueberroth its Man of the Year.
Late 1980s -1990: Dogsled musher Susan Butcher is a 4 time winner of the Iditarod, a 1,151 mile dog race across Alaska. She wins the race in 1986, 1987, 1988, & 1990.
1988: Congress enacts the Civil Rights Restoration Act over President Ronald Reagan's veto. It prohibits sex discriminations throughout educational institutions receiving federal funds, restoring Title IX.
1990: Americans with Disabilities Act is passed by Congress. This is the nation's first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, & telecommunications.
1992: Boxer Oscar “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya from East LA earns a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
1996: Women’s soccer finally becomes an Olympic sport & the US team wins the gold medal.
1996: Figure Skater Michelle Kwan wins her 1st world championship in 1996 at the age of 15. She wins the title again in 1998, 2000, 2001, & 2003. Her victory in the 2005 U.S. Figure Skating Championships is her 8th consecutive & 9th overall. 88. 1999: The Staples Center opens its doors on October 17 & becomes the home to five professional sports franchises the Lakers (NBA), the Clippers (NBA), the Sparks (WNBA), the Kings (NHL), & the Avengers (AFL).
2002: The 2002 World Series features the Anaheim Angels (American League) & the San Francisco Giants (National League) competing for the championship, representing the 1st time two wild card teams would vie for the title. The Angels, a Major League club since 1961, have never before played in the World Series. The Angels cruise to an easy 4-1 victory in the final game of a 7 series set. 90. 2005: Lance Armstrong earns his seventh consecutive tour de France.
2007: USC makes their 31st Rose Bowl appearance of which 22 are won. This accomplishment makes USC the most winningest team.