Summer Olympic Games 2016

The 10 Most Memorable Moments From Olympics Past

These life-changing moments for athletes at the top of their games WILL give you goosebumps. As #Rio2016 is set to kick off, relive 10 inspiring memories from Games gone by

Who: James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens

When: 1936 Summer Olympics, Berlin

What happened: The world converged on Germany during a tumultuous pre-WWII era when Adolf Hitler was trying to use the first-ever broadcast of the Olympics as a way to advance his dangerous and racially divisive agenda. Jesse Owens, a black athlete, served as a pointed counter and he went home with four golds (in the 100m relay, 200m relay, 4x100m relay and long jump). Though Owens was rumoured to have been snubbed by Hitler, who was told to shake the hand of every athlete or none at all, Owens remains one of the greatest track and field athletes who rose to the occasion at a time when the world’s eyes, and immense pressure, were on him.


Who: Bob Beamon

When: 1968 Summer Olympics, Mexico City

What happened: This might actually be the only time the long jump world record was shattered to such a degree. The Team USA athlete jumped 8.90 meters (pardon???), leaving the previous record of 55cm in his dust. Better yet, this guy was a major underdog headed into the games—he barely even qualified for the Olympics. Now, whenever an athlete completely decimates a record, the adjective used is “Beamonesque.”

memorable olympic moments

Comaneci (Photo: Frank Barratt/IOC)

Who: Nadia Comaneci

When: 1976 Winter Olympics, Montreal

What happened: At only 14 years old, the Romanian had a legitimately perfect performance on the parallel bars, and she was awarded the first 10.00 by judges ever! The scoreboard wasn’t even equipped to display such a high number, so it had to be displayed as a 1.00. It doesn’t stop there: the teenager hit 10.00 six more times throughout the games, taking home golds in the balance beam, the all-around and the parallel bars.


Who: Jamaica’s bobsled team

When 1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary

What happened: Despite many fictional additions to the story for the big screen (Cool Runnings is a Disney production inspired by the underdogs), the Jamaican bobsled team IRL is still supes inspirational. The athletes were recruited from the Jamaican Army, and they had very little practice time. Allegedly team member Dudley Stokes first saw a bobsled in September 1987 and then competed at the Olympics in February 1988. They didn’t place, but they were (and still are) widely adored for their perseverance.


Who: The Dream Team

When: 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona

What happened: The 1992 U.S. men’s basketball team was one of the first to include professional players and, unsurprisingly, the team beat its eight opponents by an average of 44 points. The team included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley, so obviously they won every. damn. game. Supposedly, one player from another team used his time playing defence against Magic Johnson to score a fan photo.

memorable olympic moments

Redmond and his dad (Photo: Michael Fresco/ANL/REX/Shutterstock)

Who: Derek Redmond

When: 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona

What happened: The British sprinter was expected to take gold in 400m, and his place in the pack made him a strong contender until his hamstring tore mid-race. Instead of crumpling to the ground and screaming in pain as most people would, Redmond stood up and started limping towards the finish line. With his extremely pain-stricken expression, it didn’t seem like he’d be able to finish, but—HERE’S THE OMG MOMENT—his dad came onto the track, took his son’s arm and helped him finish the race. Goosebumps!!


Who: Jonny Moseley

When: 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano

What happened: If you need motivation to succeed at pretty much anything in your life, we’d highly recommend watching Jonny’s gold medal mogul run. Moguls are difficult enough to begin with, but at the end of his run, Jonny did a 360 mute grab, when you spin in a full circle with your skis making a cross. Needless to say, it was a completely flawless run, and it’s the reason most credit Moseley with forever changing freestyle skiing.


(Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/IOC)

Who: Usain Bolt

When: 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing

What happened: When he ran the 100m final, Bolt (so perfect!) set a record of 9.69 seconds. (Actual physicists are so enthralled with his speed that they use him as a research subject.) His 2008 breakout was impossible to ignore and the world united to cheer him on, even if it meant their home country was losing the race. When he ran the 200m final, he was so far ahead of his competitors that he had a moment to slow down and smile.


Who: Joannie Rochette

When: 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver

What happened: This Canadian athlete took home bronze for a totally stunning and technically impressive ice dance, just two days after the sudden death of her mom. Her moves were full of emotion, and she was completely overwhelmed when she stepped off the ice, dedicating the performance to her late mother.


Who: Sidney Crosby & Team Canada

When: 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver

What happened: The patriotic vibes in this country were already next-level at the time and then came the gold medal hockey game against Team USA. It was 2-2 in overtime, and it seemed like anyone’s game until Sid the frickin’ Kid slipped the puck between the goalie’s legs. Like most Canadians, I can vividly remember exactly where I was at that moment, and the electricity that buzzed across the country while everyone freaked the eff out. Canada finished with 14 gold medals, to date the country’s best Olympic performance in history.

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