Throwback Thursday: Chicago’s big moment on June 17, 1994

WGN News Now

CHICAGO – It’s one of the most famous and infamous days in the history of American sports for a number of reasons.

Arnold Palmer played in his last US Open as the New York Rangers celebrated their first Stanley Cup title in 54 years. Also in the “Big Apple,” the New York Knicks were playing Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets in Madison Square Garden while Ken Griffey Jr. tied Babe Ruth for the most homers in the MLB before June 30th.

Yet dominating the news that day was the Bronco chase involving NFL Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson, who was charged earlier in the day with double murder in Los Angeles.

While all that was going on around the country, Chicago had a major event of their own that day that caught the attention of the entire world.

World Cup USA ’94 opened early that afternoon at Soldier Field with a grand opening ceremonies that was emceed by Oprah Winfrey. Hundreds of performers paid tribute to the participating nations, who were greeted by a speech from President Bill Clinton.

Not everthing went perfect, with Winfrey along with singer Jon Secada suffering injuries from falls during the ceremony. Diana Ross, who was the primary performer for the event, missed the net on her “penalty kick” attempt as part of the opening of her act. Yet she continued on and put on a great show for the world before Germany and Bolivia kicked off the month-long tournament.

In that opening game on a warm day at Soldier field, Germany won 1-0 on a 61st minute goal by Juergen Klinsmann.

Larry Hawley wrapped up the day in WGN News Now’s “Throwback Thursday” segment which you can watch in the video above.

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