CHICAGO (Monday, September 15, 2003) - On the eve of the 2003 Women's World Cup, ESPN Classic brings fans the ultimate tune-up for the tournament - "Classic Big Ticket: 1999 Women's World Cup". The program - which airs Wednesday, September 17th at 9 p.m. ET - combines the original ABC telecast of the landmark 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final with exclusive interviews of six participants from the game - Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Briana Scurry and Joy Fawcett. All six players will again be on the field for the United States in the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003.
In a series of original interviews with U.S. National Team members, Classic Big Ticket brings fans beyond just the game itself, allowing access to the thoughts of those that helped shape a historic sporting event. Among the issues discussed:
- The formation of the team and its growth towards a cohesive unit during the early years of women's international soccer;
- The groundswell of popularity created by the tournament being in the United States, and how it led to the current growth in women's soccer;
- The conditions of that day - oppressive heat, packed Rose Bowl, national television audience - and how that manifested into first-time nervousness for the team;
- The courageous performance of team leader Michelle Akers, who was suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome;
- Specific memorable moments - Lilly's game-saving play to prevent a Chinese goal off a corner-kick, the decision about the penalty shooters lineup, Scurry's controversial save, and the reaction to Chastain's memorable game-ending pose;
- The lasting impact of the game - how it affected the image of female athletes and how it added to the growth of women's sports.
Highlights of Classic Big Ticket: 1999 Women's World Cup
- "It had a huge impact on women's sports, and giving young girls the opportunity to play and dream that they can do big things."
- Joy Fawcett, on the impact of the 1999 Women's World Cup
- "You have this great anticipation, when you go into the stadium for the first time and you see those thousands of people. Of course your heart starts beating really fast, and you get this adrenaline rush."
- Brandi Chastain, on her feelings as she walked into the Rose Bowl for the final
- "July 10, 1999... the spot on the planet - If you were a sports fan - that you had to be was the Rose Bowl, for the women's final - the U.S. versus China."
- Christine Brennan, USA Today columnist, on the significance of the 1999 Women's World Cup final
Classic Big Ticket: 1999 Women's World Cup will also be aired Thursday, Sep 18th at 9 p.m. ET and Friday, Sep 19th at 11:30 p.m. ET.
The 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup will mark the third straight time that ESPN and ESPN2 have televised the international competition. In 1999, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports televised all 32 matches of the USA ‘99 World Cup. The two networks combined to present six matches of the 1995 World Cup from Sweden.