Top 10 Most Iconic Moments In Olympic History
What makes for an inspiring Olympic moment? Is it the years of hard work and sacrifice that culminate in a gold medal? Is it competing because you love your sport, even though it's unlikely you'll ever win? Many factors play a part in the great moments of Olympic history. Some of these names you'll know, some will jog your memory, and some may even surprise you. Here are (what we think are) the Top 10 Most Iconic Moments In Olympic History.
10. The Jamaican Bobsled Team, Calgary, 1988
It sounded like a joke. After all, how could Jamaica, a country known for its year-round sunshine and beach culture, possibly have a team in bobsledding, an event normally won by teams from snowbound places like Switzerland and Norway? Nevertheless, during the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, the Jamaican bobsled and their coach held their own, winning respect and admiration from their peers. They were even celebrated in the film "Cool Runnings," where the snowless country managed to put together a legitimate bobsled team, and in doing so reminded the world that the Olympics aren't just about sheer athleticism--they're about drive, determination, and heart.
9. Eddie the Eagle, Calgary, 1988
He won no medals (in fact, he finished dead last), but British ski jumper Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards made a lasting mark at the 1988 games in Calgary. What the goofy, bespectacled athlete lacked in skill was made up for in enthusiasm. Though fans enjoyed his antics, some say that he was belittling the sport to gain attention for himself. Nevertheless, every time Eddie awkwardly soared into the sky, the crowds at Calgary and around the world went wild. Eddie's joyous performance reminded fans that sports requires love as well as skill.
8. Nadia Comaneci, Montreal, 1976
Born in communist Romania, Nadia Comaneci began training in gymnastics as a young girl. By the age of 14, she was probably the greatest gymnast in the world. In Montreal, for the first time in the history of the modern Olympics, Nadia scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars event. Because the scoreboards did not even have enough space to show a 10, Nadia's score appeared as 1.00. By the time the Games were over, Nadia had scored a grand total of seven perfect 10s, winning an all-around gold medal and helping her team to win silver. Nadia's perfect score has been matched by few others, and she set a record as the youngest-ever Olympic medallist in history. A rule passed after 1976 requiring any Olympian to be at least 16 years old, which means that Nadia's record will never be broken.
7. Greg Louganis, Seoul, 1988
It was the television moment replayed over and over, causing cringes and gasps around the world. In the preliminary rounds of the 1988 games in Seoul, American diver Greg Louganis bounded off the springboard into a reverse 2 1/2 pike, only to hit the back of his head on the board and flop into the water. Everyone watching was shocked as the athlete was helped out of the water. Then, in a stunning turn of events, Louganis, though suffering from a concussion, finished the preliminaries and went on to repeat the same dive in the finals. He earned near-perfect scores, the gold medal, and the admiration of the world for his guts and coolness under pressure. Louganis continues to be a memorable Olympic athlete, showing that nothing can stop somebody who’s determined to win.
6. Muhammad Ali, Atlanta, 1996
Of course most inspiring moments happen during Olympic competition. But at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, one of the most touching moments came during the opening ceremony. The ceremony traditionally ends with the lighting of the Olympic flame, which remains lit throughout the entire Games. In Atlanta, celebrated former Olympians took turns carrying the torch. But at the end, swimmer Janet Evans passed it to boxing great Muhammad Ali, who had won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Ali, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, shook and shuddered as he lifted the torch. The world held its collective breath and watched Ali light the flame. Though his hands were shaking, his gaze never faltered, reminding everyone that an illness could not prevent him from remaining the consummate athlete he had always been.
5. Dan Jansen, Lillehammer, 1994
After speed skater Dan Jansen fell in both the 500 and 1000 meter events at the 1988 Games in Calgary, an editorial cartoon ran showing him sitting on the ice, head in his hands. The caption had a single word: "Hero." Jansen's story is one of tragedy, perseverance, and ultimate victory. In 1988, moments before the start of the 500 meters, he was told that his beloved sister Jane ...
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