Superstars is an all-around sports competition that pits elite athletes from different sports against one another in a series of athletic events resembling a decathlon.
On the original ABC version, an athlete could compete in up to seven events, but no athlete was permitted to compete in the sport(s) of his or her profession. In the World, International, European and British versions of the contest, athletes would compete in 8 out of 10 events, with no-one generally allowed to take part in their own sport, although some handicapping rules did apply.
The idea was developed by 1948 and 1952 Olympic figure skating champion Dick Button. He shopped the idea to all three U.S. television networks, and ABC bought it as a special for the winter of 1973. The first Superstars competition was held in Rotonda West, Florida in March 1973 and was won by pole vaulter Bob Seagren. The BBC covered the competition and aired their own programme, featuring British athletes on 31 December 1973, which was won by 400 metre hurdles Olympic champion David Hemery. Television broadcasts of the competitions were popular both in Europe and North America in the 1970s and 1980s.
Competitors participate in ten different sporting events, including a 100 yards (91 m) dash, 800 metres (0.50 mi) run, obstacle course, weightlifting, bowling, rowing, tennis, basketball, bicycle racing, shooting and swimming. The sports used have varied over time and between the European and American competitions (for example, in the first USA competition, there was no obstacle course, but there was table tennis and baseball), while the European versions featured a 600m Steeplechase.
Points are awarded for the position in which the competitor places in each event. The competitor with the most points at the end of all ten events is declared the champion.
Canadian Association Football player Brian Budd was unbeaten in Superstars contests, winning the World Championship three times from 1978 to 1980, making him the most successful Superstar of all time.