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FLASHBACK


AS A TRIBUTE TO RUNNERS AND CYCLISTS OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN THE CHICAGO MARATHON DREW HUNDREDS, NOT TENS-OF- THOUSANDS, CHICAGO ATHLETE IS INTRODUCING A NEW SECTION DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO MEMORY LANE. EVERY MONTH, WE PICK A SIGNIFICANT YEAR IN CHICAGO ENDURANCE SPORTS HISTORY TO REMIND OUR READERS JUST HOW MUCH AMATEUR SPORTS HAVE GROWN IN A FEW SHORT DECADES.


1988 Nostalgia:


Baseball


Both sides of town finished well out of first place and with very disappointing seasons. The one highlight came with a new addition to historic Wrigley Field forever changing it. For the first time in the stadiums history, lights were brought to the corner of Clark and Ad- dison to allow for night baseball. The lights were introduced for the August 8 game against the Phillies, however the game was rained-out in the fourth inning making many fans think the “baseball gods” didn’t like the lights at Wrigley. Despite the ominous signs, the first full game under the lights did occur the following night resulting in a six-to-four victory over the Mets.


1988 Notable Endurance Events:


Chicago Marathon Returning to Chicago after missing a year due to a lack of sponsorship, the marathon was run in unseasonably cold weather. Now sponsored by Old Style, the health of par- ticipants was an issue (the temperature never got out of the 30’s). However, despite the cold weather, 8,700 runners registered and attempted to fight-off poor circulation and muscle tightness.


Winner of the men’s division, Alejandro Cruz set a Mexi- can marathon record finishing in 2:08:57. At age 20, Cruz became the youngest Chicago winner.


Te women’s winner was Seattle native Lisa Weidenbach who became the fifth American woman to break the 2:30 mark with a time of 2:29:17. Tis was the first of back-to- back victories for Weidenbach who set a personal record in her 1989 win and is still the eighth fastest American woman on record.


With new sponsorship came big prize money as both winners took home $50,000 in winnings, a record


Quote of the Year


“This is kind of bittersweet,” Weidenbach told the Chicago Tribune after winning the 1988 marathon. “Nothing can make up for not making the Olympic team. It is my goal and ultimate motivation.”


32 JANUARY 2012 MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM


amount at the time, with over $350,000 in total purse money handed out.


Triathlon


Te craziness of the late 80’s Chicago triathlons continued. One year after the fallout from the ’87 split, effectively ending the huge popularity of the Chicago Triathlon, there were now three triathlons dubbed as “Chicago” all competing against each other. However, only two of the three races were actually staged, the “Jeep Tripex-Chicago Triathlon” was canceled at the last second due to a lack of funds. Jeep’s race attempted to separate itself from the other two by billing it as a professional race. By focusing their attention on getting all of the big tri- athletes, they lost the local attention and, eventually, the race.


Te first race that actually took place was the “Chicago Bud Light Triathlon” in early August followed by the “Sun-Times Chicago Triathlon.”


Both races had more


than 3,000 paying participants and both courses jogged along the Lake Shore for the run and bike events along with a dip in Lake Michigan for the swim.


Football For the fifth straight year, the Bears finished as North Division champions with a 12-4 record. Despite a midsea- son heart attack, head coach Mike Ditka was named the NFL “Coach of the Year” for the second time in his career. The team won their first playoff game in two years beating the Philadelphia Eagles in what was known as the “fog bowl” and advancing to the NFC Cham- pionship game. The Bears were then blown-out by the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers.


Basketball


Michael Jordan again led the Bulls as the league’s scoring champion. Despite coming in fifth place in the central division, the team still made the playoffs. The most memorable moment of the season came when Jor- dan hit a series-winning shot over the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Craig Ehlo. The Bulls would go on to beat the New York Knicks before losing to the Detroit Pis- tons in the Eastern Conference Finals.


Movies


The top grossing movie in ’88 was the Tom Cruise classic “Rain Man” raking in $173 million. In addition to “Rain Man,” top movies included “Die Hard” and comedy classics “Big” and “Coming to America.”


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