I remember getting these at Toys R' Us back in late '83. I think I bought one pack and liked them so much I went back and got a second one. I should have sprung for a third and fourth, because out of the 90 cards I only got half the set and a pile of doubles. It was my own fault though, both times I bought the pack with Muhammad Ali on the top and collation did the rest. The set is absolutely LOADED with legendary athletes like Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Ali. It's also a nice set for boxing fans as it features cards of Floyd Patterson, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Ali. there hasn't been a mainstream Olympics set in a while, it would be nice if one as good as this one came out. Here's a baker's dozen of cards from the set.
25 Doreen Wilbur
Girls in short skirts = sexy. Girls in short skirts wearing glasses = really sexy. Girls in short skirts wearing glasses and wielding deadly weapons with pinpoint accuracy = Super Sexy. Doreen won the gold for the first Women's Archery competition in the 1972 Munich games with a World record second round score.
80 Klaus DiBiasi
Ok, speaking of sexy... check out this hunk o' man. Don't look at those shorts too long though lest you become hypnotized. This is one of the few non-Americans honored in the set. Klaus was a dominant diver in the 60's and 70's and won three straight Gold Medals for the 10 meter platform dive in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. In '76 he faced off with and defeat a 16 year old Greg Louganis, who would go on to dominate the sport himself. But those shorts, man... I just can't stop loo ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOSHORTS
55 Dick Button
Ok, this photo of Dick leaping with the mountain in the background just cracks me up. Dick's a skating legend and won Golds in 1948 and 1952. He's better known today as a skating commentator, but doin't forget that he's the first person to ever pull off a triple jump in competition.
49 Jesse Owens
There's legends and then there's LEGENDS. Winning four gold medals is an amazing achievement for any athlete. But managing to stick it to Hitler at the same time makes it that much more special. Even though he became a symbol of a triumph against racism, he was still treated as a second class citizen at home. Jesse was snubbed by the President after his victory and forced to run exhibition races to make money after his amateur status was stripped.
39 Babe Didrickson
Like I said, this set is loaded. Babe was a pioneer of Women's sports and should be more of a household name than she already is. Babe was good at everything. Basketball All-American, professional baseball player, tennis, roller skating, bowling, she competed in a little of everything. She even won a sewing competition. She was also great in track and field and won two golds at the '32 games in Los Angeles including the javelin as seen on her card. After winning Gold, she then went on to become the most dominating female golfer of all time, and has a tournament named in her honor.
36 Mike Eruzione
Hockey card! You gotta listen to the Theme Song, it's the rule... As everyone knows, Mike captained the team that beat the Russians in 1980 and also scored the winning goal.
18 Sonja Henie
Another pioneer in Women's athletics, Sonja Heine dominated figure skating for a decade. Sonja was a prodigy in the skating world and competed in the 1924 Olympics at age 11. Much like some current gymnasts... After winning three Golds at the Olympics, she parlayed her success into a lucrative film career.
22 Ray Ewry
When Michael Phelps won his 11th Gold medal, he broke Ray Ewry's record. Ray was crippled with polio as a child but exercised to build strength in his legs. This exercise not only allowed him to walk again, but made into the greatest jumper in the world.
35 Bob Seagren
The photo on this card is fantastic, isn't it? Bob won the pole vault in 1968 and probably would have done so again in 1972, had is pole not been banned right before the competition. Like Heine, Bob also tried his hand at acting, and played Billy Crystal's boyfriend on Soap.
94 Wilma Rudolph
Wilma was also crippled by polio as a child but was able to overcome the disease with the support of her family. Once she could walk, she became involved in athletics and a few years later she was running in the 1956 Olympics. She dominated in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, becoming the first woman to win three golds in one Games.
62 Bill Steinkraus
Bill won Gold for equestrian show jumping in 1968. This is another cool looking photo you don't see on cards all that often.
68 Melissa Belote
Melissa won three Gold medals in the backstroke in the 1972 Munich games. As a fifteen year old. Makes that sixteen year old age limit they have now seem silly, eh? Most of the swimming cards I have from this set have one of two types of photos. Either a picture of the athlete gasping for air in mid race, or ones like this where they are caught as they exit the pool. There's a lot of crazy looking swimsuits like this one too.
98 Joe Frazier
Smokin' Joe won Gold in Tokyo fighting with a broken thumb. The boxing legend went on to be Heavyweight Champion, and was only defeated by fellow legends Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in his long career. While he lost two of three in his epic series against Ali, Joe handed Muhammad his first loss in the Fight of the Century.
This was a really really neat set from Topps and I think I'm going to have to try to finish it 25 years later. Here's the checklist, look it over and see just how good a set it really is.