Here’s a measure of progress in the last 20 years: when Greg LeMond won the 1989 World Championship (in an amazing finish), we had to grovel for token TV coverage and scraps of news buried on page 10 of the sports section. 20 years later, on a rainy Sunday morning, I sat and drank coffee and watched the race LIVE via the Internet (http://www.universalsports.com).
Also in 1989 — the year LeMond won his 2nd Tour de France — I remember going out at lunch to pick up the New York Times to get Samuel Abt’s reports on the race. That was as good as it got back then. I never imagined we would ever be able to actually WATCH it, other than on condensed, tape-delay summary shows.
Pretty amazing when you sit back and consider the explosion in information availability and connectivity. We’re getting close to the point where we take it for granted. What, no Worlds streamed live on the Internet? We’d be PO’d. We just expect that now.
And that Worlds race in 1989? Yeah, you can find and watch the finish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJSgzHTRg38. It’s an awesome finish, too. As good as the 2009 race was, this was better. No one really thought LeMond would win, and he came out of nowhere on the final climb, covered the attacks on the run to the finish, then won the sprint against no less than Sean Kelly. I don’t recall seeing a more exciting finish.