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Tokyo 2020

10 memorable moments in the history of the Olympics

With the Tokyo Olympics 2020 just around the corner, we turn back the clock to look at the most memorable moments in the history of the Olympics.

Olympic torch and the Olympic logo

Olympic torch and the Olympic logo (Source: Greater Kashmir)


Utsha Roy

Updated: 22 July 2021 5:08 AM GMT

There is something about sports that touches our hearts. We hold our breath, we rally for strangers and despair in the failure of others, so it is hardly a surprise that big tournaments often give us moments that are forever etched in our memories.

Here is a look at a few of those moments that make the Olympics memorable.

1. Peril on the waves:

Lawrence Lemieux (Source: Wikipedia)

In the 1998 Olympics, Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was cruising through the race, and it seemed that he would at least get the silver medal, but then he noticed his fellow competitor's boat capsized by a strong wind. He gave up on the race, realizing that would be the end of his medal dream and helped rescue the sailor.

He waited till the rescuers reached them and then continued with the race, determined to reach the finishing line. However, he still finished 21st out of the 32 racers. He did not win the cup but was awarded an honorary medal for his heroic efforts.

2. The perfect turn:

Jonny Moseley (Source: WSMV)

The 1998 Olympics saw Jonny Moseley create history in the Men's Moguls. He famously cleared a 360-mute-grab on the bumpy terrain of the track. Not only did the 23-year old win the gold, but also had the move named after him. Years later, it is one of the most challenging moves to perform, and only the highly skilful can pull it off.

3. Birth of the Tomahawk:

Shaun White (Source: NBC Sports)

Known for his daring feats, Shaun White was expected to pull something off when he decided to take another shot at the 2010 Vancouver Snowboarding Half-pipes finale. And keeping up with his reputation, he performed the first 1260Double McTwist that the world has ever seen and later named it the Tomahawk.

One of the toughest in the sport, this move bears testimony to the sport's journey since its inclusion in the 2006 Turin Olympics.

4. United we stand:

The South Korea and the North Korea marching together under a united flag (Source: NY Times)

Ravaged by war and insurgency, the nation of Korea, both the South and the North, were able to find common ground and decided to appear as a united nation, marching together under a united flag and matching uniforms in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

This was a political statement showing the world what the people of Korea wanted, and a human story where forgetting about the incidence of greater competition, the athletes from Korea came together to represent their nation.

5. The flare of the merman:

Michael Phelps (Source: Jeff Cunningham)

Micheal Phelps gave a new definition to the adage of 'taking the competition by the scruff of the neck' in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He won 8 gold medals, smashing Mark Spitz's erstwhile previous record of 7 golds in a single Olympic. At the end of his career, Phelps had 22 medals from his four career trips to the Olympics, of which 18 were gold medals.

6. Flash:

Usain Bolt (Source: Michael Spencer/Getty Images)

What Phelps was doing in the water, Usain Bolt was doing on land! In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Jamaican sprinter broke the world and the Olympic records in the 100m and the 200m events. He also set a 4×100-meter relay record with the Jamaican team, making him the first man to win three sprinting events at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984.

Also Read:Here's what Usain Bolt predicts about Tokyo Olympics

7. Beyond colour:

Jesse Owens (Source: Wikipedia)

Jesse Owens was not expected to win anything at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The track and field event participant from America was considered 'sub-human', 'low' by the German authorities, assimilated within the propaganda of the superior Aryan race propagated by Hitler and his Nazi party.

A black athlete like Owens had no place in such a society, and yet, he went on to win gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4*100 relay and the long jump categories, proving that ability had little to do with skin colour.

8. I'll be right by your side:

Derek Redmond with father (Source: Olympics)

The British runner Derek Redmond was one of the favourites to win a medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics; however, half through the semi-finals race, he tore his hamstring and was in excruciating pain. Nevertheless, determined to finish the race, he got up and limped along the track when his father leapt over the railings into the track to help his son finish the race.

The duo progressed towards the finishing line, cheered by the spectators. A few steps before the finishing line, the father let go of his son so that he could finish the race on his own.

A father has always got your back, I suppose!

9. Novices have the final say:

USA Ice Hockey team (Soure: New York Post)

When the 1980 U.S. Ice Hockey team prepared to compete in the Winter Olympics, no one had any expectations of them. The team was entirely comprised of amateur and collegiate players who had little or no experience playing in high-stakes matches.

The men from the U.S beat the favourite Soviet powerhouse, which had won the gold medal in 5 out of 6 previous winter Olympics, in a match termed the 'miracle on ice'. They eventually went on to defeat Finland in the final to win the gold medal.

10. Black Power, Brothers!

Gold medalist Tommie Smith (center) and bronze medalist John Carlos (right) (Source: Wikipedia)

This is probably one of the most empowering moments in the black power struggle in 1960s America. Gold and bronze medalists of the 200m sprint, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, accepted their medals with their gloved hands raised and feet shoeless in the 1968 Olympics to support the African-American society discriminated by the Americans.

This was a symbolic display of the contribution of the black community to American society. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity with his fellow runners while accepting his medal.

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