On my birthday several friends and I were having a conversation about the greatest athlete of our lifetime at Frank’s Lounge. We were all in our 50s. Larry had seen Ali, Homer claimed for Magic Johnson, AP proposed Andre the Giant, then I said, “Evel Knievel.”
“No way.” Larry shook his head. AP and Homer called me a fool, but I stood by my choice.
Evel Knievel broke over 400 bones broken in the pursuit of aerial excellence, but his most heroic leap was the attempt to clear the Caesar’s Palace pool in Las Vegas.
That New Year’s Eve in 1967 on New Evel dropped $100 at the blackjack table. He zeroed out his chips, then had one shot of Wild Turkey before exiting the casino to climb on his Triumph Bonneville 650 cc.
Linda Evans filmed the crash at Caesar’s pool for the Wide World of Sports.
His approach is perfect, but somehow the engine cut out on the ramp. The bike’s rear tire caught the receiving ramp. Evel tumbles a football field into the casino. Linda Evans caught every agonizing second. Evel was comasized 29 days.
Successful both times.
The Greatest of the Great.
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