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Recap of the year 1978 in sports.

Auto racing

  • USAC - A J Foyt won final season championship under USAC.
    • CART, Championship Auto Racing Teams open wheel racing established in the United States.
    • Indianapolis 500 - won by Al Unser Snr

Baseball

Basketball

Boxing

  • February 15: Leon Spinks defeats Muhammad Ali by decision in 15 rounds to win the world's Heavyweight title.
  • September 15: Muhammad Ali recovers the world's Heavyweight title, beating Leon Spinks by decision in their rematch. It is the first time a boxer wins the world Heavyweight title for a third time.

Cycling

  • Giro d'Italia won by Johan de Muynck of Belgium
  • Tour de France - Bernard Hinault of France
  • World Cycling Championship: Gerrie Knetemann of Netherlands

Dogsled racing

  • Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Champion:
    • Dick Mackey won with lead dogs: Skipper & Shrew

Field hockey

  • Men's World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • Gold Medal: Pakistan
    • Silver Medal: The Netherlands
    • Bronze Medal: Australia
  • Men's European Nations Cup in Hannover, West Germany
    • Gold Medal: West Germany
    • Silver Medal: The Netherlands
    • Bronze Medal: England
  • Men's Champions Trophy in Lahore, Pakistan
    • Gold Medal: Pakistan
    • Silver Medal: Australia
    • Bronze Medal: Great Britain
  • Women's World Cup in Madrid, Spain
    • Gold Medal: The Netherlands
    • Silver Medal: West Germany
    • Bronze Medal: Argentina / Belgium
  • March 11 - In an international women's field hockey match at Wembley Stadium, London. England drew with the United States of America: 2-2.

Figure skating

  • World Figure Skating Championships:
    • Men's champion: Charles Tickner, United States
    • Women's champion: Anett Pötzsch, Germany
    • Pairs champions: Irina Rodnina & Alexander Saizew, Soviet Union

Football (American)

Football (Australian Rules)

  • Victorian Football League
    • Hawthorn wins the 82nd VFL Premiership (Hawthorn 18.13 (121) d North Melbourne 15.13 (103))
    • Brownlow Medal awarded to Malcolm Blight (North Melbourne)

Football (Canadian)

  • Grey Cup: Edmonton Eskimos win 20-13 over the Montreal Alouettes
  • Vanier Cup: Queen's Golden Gaels win 16-3 over the UBC Thunderbirds

Football (Soccer)

  • Football World Cup: Argentina wins 3-1 (after extra time) over the Netherlands
  • England - FA Cup: Ipswich Town won 1-0 over Arsenal
  • England - League: Nottingham Forest won the championship as well as the League Cup

Golf

Men's golf

  • Grand Slam of golf results:
    1. May - The Masters - Gary Player
    2. June - US Open - Andy North
    3. July - British Open - Jack Nicklaus
    4. August - PGA Championship - John Mahaffey
  • PGA tour's leading money winner for the year: Tom Watson - $362,429

Women's golf

  • US Women's Open - Hollis Stacy
  • LPGA Championship - Nancy Lopez
  • Nancy Lopez: leading money winner on the LPGA tour, earning $189,213.

Thoroughbred horse racing

  • Australia - Melbourne Cup - Arwon
  • Canada - Queen's Plate - Regal Embrace
  • France - Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - Alleged
  • Ireland - Irish Derby Stakes - Shirley Heights
  • English Triple Crown Races:
    1. Two Thousand Guineas Stakes - Roland Gardens
    2. Epsom Derby - Shirley Heights
    3. St. Leger Stakes - Julio Mariner
  • July 13: At Belmont Park, Elmont, New York, star jockey, Ron Turcotte is injured in a racing accident ending his career, leaving him a paraplegic.
  • Affirmed, ridden by jockey Steve Cauthen, wins the United States Triple Crown Races by narrowly defeating Alydar in all three races:
    1. Kentucky Derby - Affirmed, Alydar
    2. Preakness Stakes - Affirmed, Alydar
    3. Belmont Stakes - Affirmed, Alydar

Harness racing

  • United States Pacing Triple Crown races:
    1. Cane Pace - Armbro Tiger
    2. Little Brown Jug - Happy Escort
    3. Messenger Stakes - Abercrombie
  • United States Trotting Triple Crown races:
    1. Hambletonian - Speedy Somolli
    2. Yonkers Trot - Speedy Somolli
    3. Kentucky Futurity - Doublemint
  • Australian Inter Dominion Harness Racing Championship:
    • Pacers: Markovina
    • Trotters: Derby Royale

Ice hockey

  • Art Ross Memorial Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer during the regular season: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
  • World Hockey Championship
    • Men's champion: Soviet Union defeated Czechoslovakia
    • Junior Men's champion: Soviet Union defeated Sweden
    • Note: In the early years of the Junior tournament, Canada did not send a true National Junior team to the event. Instead, the Memorial Cup champions usually went to represent Canada. The exception was 1978 in Montreal, when an "all-star" team was put together.

Skiing

  • Alpine Skiing
    • The men's overall season champion: Ingemar Stenmark, Sweden
    • The women's overall season champion: Hanni Wenzel, Liechtenstein

Snooker

Speed skating

  • First ISU Short Track Speed Skating Championships for men and ladies held in Solihull, UK

Tennis

  • Grand Slam in tennis men's results:
    1. Australian Open - Guillermo Vilas
    2. French Open - Björn Borg
    3. Wimbledon championships - Björn Borg
    4. US Open - Jimmy Connors
  • Grand Slam in tennis women's results:
    1. Australian Open - Chris O'Neil
    2. French Open - Virginia Ruzici
    3. Wimbledon championships - Martina Navratilova
    4. US Open - Chris Evert
  • Davis Cup: United States won 4-1 over Great Britain in world tennis.
  • US Open moves to hard courts of the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.
  • Total prize money at US Open exceeds US $500,000.

Triathlon

  • First Ironman Triathlon held in Hawaii

Water Polo

  • Men's World Championship in Berlin, West Germany
    • Gold Medal: Italy
    • Silver Medal: Hungary
    • Bronze Medal: Yugoslavia

General sporting events

  • Third All-Africa Games held in Algiers, Algeria
  • Eighth Asian Games held in Bangkok, Thailand
  • British Commonwealth Games held in Edmonton, Canada
  • Ninth Winter Universiade held in Špindlerův Mlýn, Czechoslovakia

Births

January

  • January 4Dominik Hrbaty, Slovakian tennis player
  • January 8Gennaro Gattuso, Italian football player
  • January 12Bonaventura Kalou, Ivorian football (soccer) player
  • January 14Shawn Crawford, American athlete
  • January 17Petra Mandula, Hungarian tennis player
  • January 18Thor Hushovd, Norwegian cyclist
  • January 18 — Bogdan Lobont, Romanian football (soccer) player
  • January 18 — Stev Theloke, German swimmer
  • January 19Zbigniew Malkowski, Polish football (soccer) player
  • January 19 — Megan Sargeant, Australian field hockey player
  • January 20Lim Jung-Woo, South Korean field hockey player
  • January 25Derrick Turnbow, Major League Baseball player
  • January 26Corina Morariu, American tennis player
  • January 27Dipsy Selolwane, Botswana football (soccer) player
  • January 28Gianluigi Buffon, Italian football (soccer) player
  • January 28 — Takumo Sato, Japanese Formula 1-driver
  • January 28 — Paul Wettlaufer, Canadian field hockey player
  • January 31Clemens Arnold, German field hockey goalkeeper

February

  • February 3Beat Hefti, Swiss bobsledder
  • February 6Rustam Saidov, Uzbek boxer
  • February 17Amir Hadad, Israeli tennis player
  • February 28Benjamin Raich, Austrian skier
  • February 28 — Mariano Zabaleta, Argentinian tennis player

March

  • March 8Johanna Sjöberg, Swedish swimmer
  • March 14Pieter van den Hoogenband, Dutch swimmer
  • March 18Brooke Hanson, Australian swimmer
  • March 21Ronnie Jagday, Canadian field hockey player
  • March 24Eric Pacome N'Dri, Ivorian athlete
  • March 26Ron van der Hoff, Dutch archer

April

  • April 2Chiel Warners, Dutch athlete
  • April 3Tommy Haas, German tennis player
  • April 5Franziska van Almsick, German swimmer
  • April 7Vladimir Voltchkov, Belarussian tennis player
  • April 11Victor Sikora, Dutch football player
  • April 13Carles Puyol, Spanish football player
  • April 13 — Raemon Sluiter, Dutch tennis player
  • April 16Noam Okun, Israeli tennis player
  • April 20David Sánchez, Spanish tennis player
  • April 29Bob and Mike Bryan, American twins and tennis players

May

  • May 1Tracey Larson, American field hockey midfielder
  • May 2Matthew Wells, Australian field hockey defender
  • May 3Dai Tamesue, Japanese athlete
  • May 7Peter Wessels, Dutch tennis player
  • May 15Sue Rolph, British swimmer
  • May 26Dan Parks, Scottish rugby union footballer
  • May 29Sebastien Grosjean, French tennis player

June

  • June 1Aleksandar Šapić, Serbian water polo player
  • June 7Tomás MacCormik, Argentine field hockey midfielder
  • June 15Wilfred Bouma, Dutch football player
  • June 18Pablo ("Pol") Amat Escudé, Spanish field hockey striker
  • June 19Dirk Nowitzki, German NBA player
  • June 22José Meolans, Argentinian swimmer
  • June 24Shunsuke Nakamura, Japanese football player
  • June 24 — Juan Román Riquelme, Argentinian football player
  • June 26Mark Veens, Dutch swimmer

July

  • July 1Vladimer Tchanturia, Georgian boxer
  • July 4Fatima Moreiro de Melo, Dutch field hockey player
  • July 4 — Peter Mankoc, Slovenian swimmer
  • July 7Jana Toepel, American field hockey midfielder
  • July 11Massimiliano Rosolino, Italian swimmer
  • July 12Florien Cornelis, Dutch field hockey player
  • July 15Kim Baker, Canadian field hockey player
  • July 22Ishe Smith, American boxer
  • July 29Joseph Batangdon, Cameroonian sprints athlete
  • July 29 — Caroline Jack, South African field hockey goalkeeper

August

  • August 5Kim Gevaert, Belgian athlete
  • August 5 — Harel Levy, Israeli tennis player
  • August 9Wesley Sonck, Belgian football player
  • August 11Jermain Taylor, American boxer
  • August 12Jesse Mahieu, Dutch field hockey player
  • August 20Alberto Martin, Spanish tennis player
  • August 22Kutre Dulecha, Ethiopian middle distance runner
  • August 23Kobe Bryant, American basketball player
  • August 26Hestrie Cloete, South African high jumper
  • August 29Jens Boden, German speed skater

September

  • September 3Sam Oud, Dutch canoer
  • September 6Amy Agulay, Canadian field hockey player
  • September 10Jyoti Sunita Kullu, Indian field hockey player
  • September 13Jill Orbinson, Irish field hockey midfielder
  • September 15Kew Jaliens, Dutch football (soccer) player
  • September 21Alexander Heath, South African alpine skier
  • September 24Wietse van Alten, Dutch archer
  • September 26Gert-Jan Liefers, Dutch athlete
  • September 26 — Judith Meulendijks, Dutch badminton player
  • September 29Karel Klaver, Dutch field hockey player

October

  • October 3Claudio Pizarro, Peruvian football (soccer) striker
  • October 4Daniël Mensch, Dutch rower
  • October 8Ewout Holst, Dutch swimmer
  • October 9Jacob Carstensen, Danish swimmer
  • October 9 — Kristy Kowal, American swimmer
  • October 10Caroline Evers-Swindell, New Zealand rower
  • October 14Paul Hunter, British snooker player
  • October 16Andria Shannon, Canadian field hockey player
  • October 19Ruslan Chagaev, Uzbek boxer
  • October 20Virender Sehwag, Indian cricketer
  • October 25Matt Shirvington, Australian athlete
  • October 29Alwin de Prins, Luxembourgish swimmer
  • October 31Emmanuel Izonritei, Nigerian boxer
  • October 31 — Martin Verkerk, Dutch tennis player

November

  • November 1Andrew Smith, Australian field hockey striker
  • November 2Christian Gyan, Ghanaian football player
  • November 2 — Alexander Östlund, Swedish football player
  • November 6Dean Kent, New Zealand swimmer
  • November 7Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Dutch football player
  • November 8Tim de Cler, Dutch football player
  • November 12Eric Addo, Ghanaian football player
  • November 15Paul Miller, Australian boxer
  • November 22Francis Obikwelu, Nigerian-born athlete
  • November 27Radek Štěpánek, Czech tennis player

December

  • December 2Sven Coster, Dutch sailor
  • December 2 — Louisa Walter, German field hockey goalkeeper
  • December 9Gaston Gaudio, Argentinian tennis player
  • December 12Kassim Ouma, Ugandan boxer
  • December 14Patty Schnyder, Swiss tennis player
  • December 15Christophe Rochus, Belgian tennis player
  • December 16Rachel Imison, Australian field hockey goalkeeper
  • December 20Lechedzani Luza, Botswanan boxer
  • December 21Emiliano Brembilla, Italian swimmer
  • December 21 — Jackie Stiles, WNBA player
  • December 22Kristal Timmer, Canadian field hockey player
  • December 27Antje Buschschulte, German swimmer
  • December 29Kieron Dyer, English football player
  • December 29 — Wayne Fernandes, Canadian field hockey player
  • December 29 — Brian Pinas, Dutch football player

Deaths

  • January 13Joe McCarthy, baseball manager
  • January 21Dit Clapper, NHL player, Boston Bruins
  • March 20Jacques Brugnon, French tennis player (b. 1895)
  • March 27Sverre Farstad, Norwegian speed skater (b. 1920)
  • September 3Alexander Belov (26), USSR Olympic basketball player
  • September 15Ricardo Zamora (77), Spanish football player
  • September 23Lyman Bostock, Major League Baseball player
  • November 28Fernando Peyroteo (60), Angola-born Portuguese football player (b. 1918)
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