There is no athletic competition more absolutely enrapturing than that of the Olympics. The Olympics have been the place for the greatest athletes in the world to show off their skills and their competitive drive. Today we are going to look at 22 of the most incredible and mesmerizing moments in Olympic history. Get your tissues ready — these feats are powerful and emotional!
Jim Thorpe Wows the World
Depending on your generation you might consider Jim Thorpe to be the greatest athlete who has ever lived. While modern students and athletes are worried about free online dating services or what’s going on Facebook, Thorpe was committed to dominating the 1912 Olympic Games. Thorpe scored first place in eight of the 15 events he competed in, bringing home a pair of Gold Medals along the way.
1900 Olympic Games
What’s so special about the 1900 Paris Olympic Games? Well, it was the first year that women were allowed to compete in the Olympics. The Games opened their doors to women in both lawn tennis and golf. More recently in 2012 the Olympics added Women’s Boxing as well. These are huge steps for gender equality so quit looking for a dating site to find you a girl and start watching the Olympics!
Jesse Owens Stands Tall
The 1936 Olympic Games were tense affairs thanks to the presence of a man by the name of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was trying to showcase the power of ‘Aryan Men’ in the Olympics but Jesse Owens, an African American athlete, had other ideas. Owens would break records, win Gold Medals, and even befriend his German opponent — Luz Long.
Derek Redmond Finishes the Race
Derek Redmond entered the 1992 Olympic Summer Games as a gold medal hopeful for the 400 meter run. Redmond had been rounding a corner halfway through the race when his hamstring popped and he collapsed. Redmond refused a stretcher and hobbled to the finish line while his father fought through security to help him reach the end. We don’t think you’ll find men like that dating online unless there is an ‘Olympic Hero’ section.
Joannie Rochette’s Bravery
Joannie Rochette was set to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when her mother died of a heart attack days prior to the game. Still, Rochette competed with a heavy heart — winning a bronze medal in front of millions of people while dedicating the performance to her mother.
Eric Moussambani’s Big Race
Moussambani made the 2000 Summer Games through a specialized entry by way of Equatorial Guinea. The process was meant to allow competitors from developing countries a chance to compete. While Moussambani lost in his qualify race, his tale of taking up swimming just months prior to the games served as a huge source of inspiration.
1960 Games Are Televised
The Olympics changed forever in the 1960s thanks to the Rome Games. Having the games televised for the first time ever brought a whole new wave of popularity to the competitions. Of course there were a few doping scandals that year as well, so it wasn’t all good. Oh well, when you go on those free online dating services you aren’t always guaranteed to win, right?
Tommie Smith and John Carlos Call for Equality
The 1968 Summer Games saw a flash of future conflicts in the United States when African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the winner’s podium. Smith and Carlos bowed their head during the Star Spangled Banner and raised their fists high in a call for racial solidarity and true equality. At the height of the Civil Rights movement — this moment was huge.
Abebe Bikila’s Big Win
Bikila is a huge name in the pantheon of Olympic legend thanks to his becoming the first black African to win a gold medal in the history of the games. Bikila won the 1960 Marathon with a time of 2:15:16.2 without wearing any shoes.
Lawrence Lemieux Saves a Life
It was the 1988 South Korean Olympics when Lemieux turned away from his event, sailing, in order to help a capsized boat. Lemieux would help to save two injured sailors while in the process forfeiting himself from a top spot. Lemieux was given an honorary medal for this act.
Liberty Bell Classic
At the height of the Cold War the United States pulled out of the 1980 Moscow Games in order to host their own alternative competition: the Liberty Bell Classic. The message was loud and clear and many athletes turned instead to this game. This was at a time that if there had been dating online you would have had to red flag certain people from certain countries. Times have changed.
Taekwondo Fighter FLIPS Out
Angel Valodia Matos, from Cuba, was disqualified during his bronze medal bout during the 2008 Beijing Games. Instead of taking the DQ in grace, Matos instead lashed out and kicked the referee in the face. Matos is now banned from all TKD events for the rest of his life. That’s probably a good thing.
Bob Beamon’s Olympic Upset
During the 1968 Games in Mexico we saw Bob Beamon come in to the long jump as a huge underdog. In fact, Beamon barely even qualified for the event. The New Yorker would go on to jump 29 feet and 2.5 inches, setting the Olympic record by an additional 2 feat. ‘Beamonesque’ now belongs in the sports dictionary as a shocking feat of skill.
Michael Phelps Arrives
There was a time before Michael Phelps was a household name. The 2008 Beijing Olympics brought Phelps into the history books when he scored 8 Gold Medals in a singe Games, breaking the record. Phelps now has 18 Golds in his career and 22 total medals.
1992 Dream Team
Basketball in the Olympics changed forever when a trio of guys named Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley all decided to compete together for the Olympic team. This was the first time that active NBA stars competed and it set the tone going forward.
Ali Wins Gold — under a Pseudonym
A young fighter by the name of Cassius Clay competed in the 1960 Summer Games where he would win the light-heavyweight Gold Medal over Zbigniew Pietrzykowski. Clay, who was actually Muhammad Ali, would later lose his medal for refusing to be drafted to fight in Vietnam.
Spitz Goes for Seven
Before there was Michael Phelps there was a guy named Mark Spitz. Mark Spitz would go into the 1968 Olympic Games where he would set multiple world records for various swimming competitions. Spitz would land seven gold medals, setting a record that would be held until Michael Phelps would take it so many years later.
Jamaican Bobsled Team
You probably remember the Disney movie, Cool Runnings, right? Well, this is the true story that inspired the film. The Jamaican Bobsled team captivated the viewing world during the 1988 Calgary Games and the competitors were applauded for their heart and dedication despite going without a medal.
Ali Lights the Torch
In 1996 the Olympic Games turned 100 years old and Muhammad Ali was there to light the Olympic Flame during the opening ceremony. At this point in time Ali was already struggling with Parkinson’s. Still, the Greatest was there and his presence brought a level of awe to the already prestigious competition.
The Korean Peninsula Unites — Momentarily
The divide between North and South Korea has been famously documented but, at one point in time, there seemed to be a ray of hope. It was the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia when representatives from both North and South Korea would walk hand in hand with a special flag dedicated to uniting the countries.
Carl Lewis Wins Big
In the 1984 Olympic Games there was a track athlete by the name of Carl Lewis. Lewis was one of the greatest competitors in the world but he was disliked for his show boating style. Still, Lewis aspired to match legendary Jesse Owens by taking down four Gold Medals. Lewis accomplished that task despite only taking two of his allowed six jumps in the long jump.
Miracle on Ice
The 1980 Men’s Olympic Hockey team from the United States wasn’t expected to do much of anything. Instead, they went on to bruise past Russia for a 4 to 3 win in the Semi’s before going on to beat Finland for the Gold. This is the greatest story in professional sports and the greatest story in Olympic competition.