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Olympics-Facts

Most memorable and iconic photographs in the history of the Olympics

These moments are etched in sporting folklore and will continue to inspire millions more in their pursuit of Olympic Glory

Milkha Singh Rome Olympics
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The Famous Race of 1960

By

C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 2021-07-22T12:36:50+05:30

Given that the Olympics have been going on for more than a century, there is ample amount of information available on various sporting events, timelines, incidents and photos that made history. The Bridge takes a look at a few of the most notable instances that were captured on film and will forever be etched in the memory of those who were witness to it.


Black Power Salute

One of the iconic images that signified the oppression of African Americans in modern day America. The two athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith stood with their hands raised as their national anthem played. The third athlete named Peter Norman never made a move but was subject to abuse back in Australia for supporting the event. The picture represents more than just racism in America and is a symbol of solidarity of sportspersons across the world.

The Black Power Salute(source-history.com)

Derek Redmond

Many people might have seen the same video on YouTube with a backtrack of 'You Raise Me Up' playing in the background. The entire event is enough to make grown men cry. Heading into the race, Derek Redmond was one of the favourites to win the 400m. Past the halfway mark, Derek suddenly pulled up due to a sudden pain he felt on his leg. He knelt and the attention of the entire stadium was on him.

He was visibly distraught and it was definitely over for him. The unexpected happened when he got up and began hobbling towards the finish line. It was at this time that a man ran from the crowd to help him. Derek seemed to brush him off a first but realised it was his father. It was and is still one of the most emotional moments of all time in sport. They both made their way to the finish line together.

An iconic father and son moment(source-littlethings)

Usain Bolt

He was only seen with a broad smile before and after his races because that was what signalled his confidence and pride at competing and winning the numerous Gold medals he won at three consecutive Olympics. However, Bolt seemed to do the unthinkable again when he seemingly smiled for the camera during his 100m semi-final heat at the Rio 2016 Olympics. He had done it previously in the 200m race and it was another cakewalk for him again.

Just another race(source- guardian)

Jesse Owens

The man who proved Hitler wrong. One of the fastest men in the 20th century, Jesse Owens won 4 Gold medals for the USA at Hitler's very own propaganda Olympics in Berlin. He proved his doubters wrong, but more importantly, he proved the Aryan Race theory wrong by simply through his power of running.

Owens triumphed over the Nazi's(source-history.com)

Nadia Comaceni

There is only one gymnast who has scored a perfect 10 till date. Nadia Comaneci did it at the age of 14 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. It was almost a habit for her and she picked up a total of 3 more Gold Medals during her career.

Nadia Comaceni(source-india.com)

Greg Louganis

The ace diver was all set to compete in an event he was favoured to win Gold in. Disaster struck when his head smacked the board while he jumped off the board. The injury resulted in a deep wound and a concussion, both of which were not good signs for him. He returned the next day to win a gold medal and defeated all the odds stacked against him.

Greg Louganis(source-scroll)

Kerri Strug

Even a ligament tear was not enough to dissuade the young Gymnast from America from competing at the Olympics. She attempted her vault final and in the first attempt itself broke her ligaments. It was down to her second attempt that would win the US team the Gold and she nailed it with a score of 9.712.

Before and after(source-inspire my kids)

Michael Phelps

Sharkman was expected to win several medals at the 2008 Olympics but no was expecting the feat that he would manage to achieve. In the span of 8 days, he managed to win 8 gold medals, a record that stands till today and seemingly will be impossible to break ever.

Phelps celebrating another Gold(source- swimming world)

Abbey Agostino and Nikki Hamblin

As recently as 2016, this incident is another show of sportsperson spirit. In a disastrous mid race collision that finished the race for both athletes, it seemed as though one or the other would either bow out or continue. Surprisingly, they got up together and motivated each other to finish the race.

Abbey Agostino and Nikki Hamblin

South and North Korea

It doesn't take much for an individual to be interested in politics to know the tension that exists between South and North Korea. But for a brief time, the two countries came together at the Sydney Olympics in a show of solidarity. They marched out together under the same flag to the surprise of the audience and the world.

Ironic but iconic(source -korea herald)

Dick Fosbury

The man who hanged the High Jump forever. It seemed strange that the 1968 Olympics saw several iconic moments but it was even more strange for High Jump organisers who were witness to the iconic back flip that Fosbury invented. He did his regular run up and then all of a sudden just turned around and did a back flip. That technique is the permanent High Jump routine till this day.

Game changer(source- albany-democrat)

Abhinav Bindra

It was an iconic moment for 1.3 billion people. Bindra put his rifle down and pumped his fist to signal the first time India had won an individual Gold medal at the Olympics. It was a picture plastered all over the India national media for days on end and to this day is told of in fondness by all those who remember where they were on that iconic day.

History maker(source-olympics.com)


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