The triumph of the human spirit…pfft. More like triteness of the human spirit. I can relate more to putting in a modest amount of effort and then not just coming up short, but failing…catastrophically…in front of a sizable audience. I think most of us, therefore, are “Agony of Defeat” people.
ABC Wide World of Sports interposed various other symbolic clips and stills of the show’s intro over the course of decades, but they left the footage of “agony of defeat” static because the portrayal was so spot-on. So, the initial humiliation had interest compounded for a small lifetime, week after week, until the wretched soul epitomized epic failure.
His name is Vinko Bogataj. He was competing for Yugoslavia in the Ski-flying World Championships in Oberstdorf, West Germany (now Germany) on March 21, 1970 when his third run’s adjustment for excessive speed turned him into a self destructing cyclone of limbs and personal dignity. He only received a concussion that day, but retired from competition. According to various Internet sources, he transitioned into coaching, painting, and driving a forklift.
A rare blessing from the Cold War is he was unable to endure a televised lifetime of shame from across the Iron Curtain. Imagine his surprise in 1991 during the Wide World of Sports’ 30th anniversary show when he was mobbed by such luminaries as Muhammad Ali who wanted HIS autograph.
Vinko Bogataj, we salute you.