Top 10 Most Iconic Moments In Olympic History (Part 1)
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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.
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 had succumbed to leukaemia. He wanted to win for Jane, but gave in to grief and left Calgary empty-handed. In 1992 in Albertville, France, he was the favourite again. But Jansen stumbled in both races and won nothing. Lillehammer, Norway was his last chance. He stumbled again in the 500, and most thought he was done for. But in the 1000, fortune smiled upon him as he not only won gold, but also set a world record. Fans across the globe drew strength and pride from his inspirational story. And as he took his victory lap, he held his baby daughter in his arms. She was named Jane.
4. Lawrence Lemieux, Seoul, 1988
Not many know the story of Lawrence Lemieux, a Canadian rower competing in the dinghy class in the 1988 games in Seoul. On that fateful day Lemieux performed an incredible act of bravery. The winds had picked up, and the water became exceedingly choppy. Lemieux was in second place, well on his way to victory when he saw two sailors from the Singapore team fall into the dangerous waters. Lemieux abandoned his race, and his chances at an Olympic medal in order to row over and rescue the sailors, hauling them into his small boat. Though he was out of contention, he finished his race after an official rescue team picked up the sailors. Fortunately, because of his act of bravery, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded him an honorary second-place finish. IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said, "By your sportsmanship, self-sacrifice and courage, you embody all that is right with the Olympic ideal.”
3. Michael Phelps, Beijing, 2008
Michael Phelps gave a whole new meaning to blowing the competition out of the water at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. The American swimmer took home an unbelievable eight gold medals, breaking the previous record of seven gold medals in one Olympics. It will likely be a very long time before somebody beats this extraordinary world record.
2. Abebe Bikila, Rome, 1960
In 1960, 28 year-old Abebe Bikila amazed the world when, unknown and unheralded, he won the Olympic marathon. However, he attracted the world’s attention not only by being the first East African to come first place and win a medal, but also because he ran the entire event barefoot. That’s right… How far do you think you could get with no shoes on? But his story doesn’t end there… Four years later, in Tokyo, he came first place again! – this time he decided to wear shoes.
1. Derek Redmond, Barcelona, 1992
The story of the United Kingdom's runner Derek Redmond has earned a memorable place in Olympic history. In 1988 in Seoul, Redmond was forced to withdraw from the 400 meters just 10 minutes before the race began due to an injured Achilles tendon. Therefore, in Barcelona in 1992, he was thirsting for a medal. As always, his father, Jim, was in the stands. They had agreed earlier that no matter what happened, Derek would finish the race. But in his semi-final heat, just as it seemed certain he would cruise to the final, Derek heard a pop in his right hamstring. He collapsed on the track in tears. But then he got up, and everyone realised he wasn’t going to give in to his injury this time. As he hobbled down the track in agony, his father rushed down from the stands, put his arm around his boy, and helped him to the finish line. Just short of it, Jim pulled back and let Derek cross by himself. The crowd rose to give Derek a standing ovation. This was a shining moment of heroism, and a testament to love between father and son that will be remembered.
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