Ten Of The Greatest Ever Moments From The Olympic Games

With Tokyo 2020 nearly fully underway, we take a look back at ten of our favourite moments from the Olympic Games
08:55, 22 Jul 2021

The Olympic Games always provide incredible memories for athletes and watchers around the world and this year’s belated edition in Tokyo will likely be no different.

They provide some of sport’s greatest ever moments, so it's the perfect time to reflect on some of the best occasions the Games have provided to the world over the years. Here are ten of our favourites from the past Olympics.

Derek Redmond’s emotional finish in Barcelona 1992

At the 1992 Olympic Games, Great Britain’s 400m runner Redmond suffered a heart-breaking injury in the semi-finals as his hamstring snapped. The snap occurred around the 250m mark and crashed to the floor alongside his Olympic dream. 

Derek Redmond
Derek Redmond

While he did not win a medal, his drive to finish the race has never been forgotten.

He got up to his feet in pain as he had promised his father that he would finish the race ‘no matter what’. Halfway to the finish line, crying in pain and desperation, Redmond’s father Jim came to his son’s aid to see him over the line. As the pair crossed the finish line the stadium spectators erupted in a standing ovation.

Michael Johnson’s double gold in Atlanta 1996

Michael Johnson dazzled at his home Olympics as he captured the gold medals in the 400m and the 200m. His 400m time of 43.49 seconds was an Olympic record time and he smashed the world record time for the 200m when he ran it in 19.32 seconds. He delivered for his nation on the biggest stage, becoming a homeland hero.

Cathy Freeman secures the 400m in front of home crowd at Sydney 2000

As the golden girl of the Australian Olympic team, Cathy Freeman was the athlete who lit the Olympic torch to begin the Games. 

She was the favourite for 400m and she did not disappoint her fans and her nation. Having lost her main rival Marie-Jose Perec, who left the Games as a result of harassment, Freeman claimed the gold in a time of 49.11 seconds. As a result of her triumph she became only the second Australian Aboriginal Olympic champion.

The Dream Team wins gold at Barcelona 1992

This was the first time the US sent a team of active NBA players to compete at the Olympics.

The Dream team
The Dream team

The team was headlined by all-time great Michael Jordan and he was joined by Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson, to name a few. They headed into the Games as undeniable favourites and they secured the gold medal against Croatia with an average winning margin of 44 points across the eight games.

Michael Phelps creates history in Beijing 

At the 2008 Olympics, Phelps made history which helped cement him as one of, if not the greatest Olympic athlete of all time. The swimmer won eight gold medals in Beijing, breaking the 1972 record set by compatriot Mark Spitz with his seven golds in Munich. It was the greatest single sporting accomplishment on the Olympic stage which made him a household name.  

14-year-old Nadia Comaneci scores perfect 10 at Montreal 1976

The young Romanian made her competitive Olympic bow in Montreal. Here she became the first Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10 for her routine on the uneven bars. She went on to record six more perfect 10s before finishing the Games with three gold medals. An incredible achievement for someone so young.

Jesse Owens steals the spotlight from Adolf Hitler at Berlin 1936

While Germany was plunged into the darkness of the Third Reich, African American Jesse Owens completely shut down Hitler’s Aryan race philosophy as he claimed gold in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4x100m relay.

Great Britain’s ‘Super Saturday’ at London 2012

One of the fondest memories for Brits in the wonderful home games as Brits were claiming gold medals throughout the historic day. Super Saturday is mostly remembered for the evening entertainment in the Olympic Stadium, but it all started at Eton Dorney early in the day. The men’s four (rowing) of Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Tom James and Andrew Triggs Hodge won gold and then 10 minutes later women’s double sculls pair Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking did the same to kick off an historic day.

The Velodrome was the scene of huge success for Team GB at London 2012 – Super Saturday had its share. Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell broke the world record in their heat against Canada, then smashed it again in the final as they easily beat the United States in the women’s team pursuit.

Mo Farah
Mo Farah

The evening entertainment sealed Britain’s best day at the Olympics for 104 years when Jessica Ennis-Hill won the heptathlon before Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah won the long jump and 10,000m respectively.

Usain Bolt rises to stardom at Beijing 2008

The Jamaican sprinter is now considered the most famous Olympian of all-time, but Bolt’s name first entered households during the Beijing Games with a show-stealing performance on the track. He became the first man to hold both the 100m and 200m records (since fully automatic time became mandatory) on his way to securing gold in both events. 

Chris Hoy’s impressive Beijing Games

Hoy stole the spotlight for Team GB in Beijing as the cyclist became the first British Olympian for 100 years to claim three gold medals during one Games. His three accolades came in the men’s keirin, the men’s team sprint and the men’s individual sprint.

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