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Vinko Bogataj

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Quote.png Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition... This is "ABC's Wide World of Sports! - Jim McKay[1] Quote1.png

Nobody knew who this guy was, and nobody cared. When the Wild World of Sports came on, everybody just paid attention to the poor dude getting destroyed on a ski slope.

The talk around town was that he died during his tragic ski jump accident. That story was embellished, on and on, with increased damage to Vinko. This lasted almost 20 years until the internet was invented and ruined[2] a bunch of fun stories.[3]


Vinko, returning to the scene of the crime, 53 years later.

Quote.png He remembers that he couldn't see very good. The track was very bad, and just before he could jump, the snow or something grabbed his skis and he fell. From that moment, he doesn't remember anything.[4] Quote1.png

Fans of a certain age almost certainly remember the image of Slovenian athlete Vinko Bogataj wiping out on the takeoff ramp and hurtling toward a gallery of spectators.

Bogataj, then 22 years old and competing for Yugoslavia, suffered a concussion and a broken ankle in a terrifying tumble at the 1970 World Ski Flying Championships in Oberstdorf, West Germany. It wasn't long before ABC began using the clip of the crash to accompany the phrase "agony of defeat" in the "Wide World of Sports" introduction.

With that, Bogataj became famous in the United States -- quite literally by accident.[5][6]


Years later, Vinko and some other competitors visited the site.

After he returned home to Slovenia, Vinko remained in ski jumping, but never advanced beyond the middle ranks. Probably because he was making money from ABC and nobody likes to have their ankle crushed.

But he had become famous as “The Agony of Defeat” guy and when he attended Wide World of Sport’s 20th anniversary celebration in 1981, he reportedly received the loudest ovation at the event and no less a sports legend than boxer Muhammad Ali requested his autograph.

Here is an interview.


Vinko Bogataj is a part of a series on Old Stuff

Dan's Devil's Dictionary | Charles Bukowski | Bookz | New York Yankees | G/tv | Kyleville | Ellen's Hickey | Generic Article | A User's Guide to Article Building | Introduction to English | Salman Rushdie | Rainmeter | Sex Panther | A Pocketknife | Thomas Paine | Wook | Three Or Four Weeks | Internet Relevance | Jim Rome | DMV | Public Library | The Copperhead | Monopoly | Around the House | Marcus P. Kellum’s Personal Journal | Solitaire | Internet Explorer | Billy Ripken | Ka-chunk | Clacka-Clacka | Mickey Mantle | Terry Tate Office Linebacker | Berry | 1guy1jar | Babcock Dairy Farm | Goatse.cx | Old Hoss Radbourn | Rufus Owned A Steam Engine | Blanche Dumas | Thundarr The Barbarian | Superfriends | That Time Is Now | Hong Kong Phooey | Fractured Fairy Tales | Little Twelvetoes | Mullet Girl | Hanker For A Hunk O' Cheese | The Chopper | Yuck Mouth | The Angle Of The Dangle | Michelob | Bulova Computron | Vinko Bogataj | Lower Case, Upper Case, and Shift | Speaking in Texican: A Primer