By Jacob Kornhauser on July 24, 2014
On the global stage, some athletes step up and make history. Whether it's a record-breaking performance, political statement or moment, here are 20 performances/moments that are unmatched in Olympic history to this point.
In one of the more dramatic moments of a team sport, the USA Women's soccer team claimed the gold medal by scoring in extra time. With a dramatic finish, women's soccer in the United States began to grow in popularity.
Despite not winning a medal, getting to the Olympics as Jamaica's first Winter Olympics team was inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that a Disney movie has been made that documents the bizarre run of the tropical country to the Winter Games.
Even though he had already essentially clinched the gold medal in the snowboard halfpipe competition, Shaun White decided to go for his last run and he didn't disappoint. If there was any doubt about his gold medal before the run, there wasn't anymore. He made it very clear just how deserving he was of the gold medal he received.
The Jamaican sprinter once again showed how he was the fastest man in the world in the 2008 Olympics. He took home three gold medals and was the first sprinter to pull off that feat since 1984.
For a track-and-field star to win one gold medal is impressive. Lewis did a little more than that, winning three sprinting events as well as the long jump. This performance helped him go down in history as one of the best Olympic athletes of all time.
Overcoming several complications from being born prematurely, Rudolph shocked the world in 1960. She put herself on the map by blowing away her competition and claiming three sprinting gold medals in those Olympics.
Flo-Jo had a great personality and flare for the dramatic. She put that on display along with her great sprinting talent in the 1988 games in order to claim three Olympic gold medals. This performance made her an idol around the country.
Johnson didn't just win the 200 and 400-meter races in Atlanta in 1996, he dominated them. He set world records in both races, and each of those records lasted for almost two decades before Usain Bolt came along.
In the previous Olympics, Jansen was distracted by the death of his sister Jane. In Calgary, however, he recovered and dedicated the race to his sister. Making an inspiring run, Jansen won the gold medal and dedicated that to his sister as well.
This Russian gymnast made history when she performed a flawless routine in the 1976 Olympics, receiving the first-ever perfect 10 score in Olympic history. This performance lives on in gymnastics and Olympic lore, and will continue to do so.
Proving to be Mr. Endurance, famous athlete Jim Thorpe competed in both new Olympic sports in 1912 and dominated. He won the gold medal in both endurance events and left his mark on the Olympic games forever.
Before there was Michael Phelps, there was Mark Spitz. It's hard to believe, but Spitz was just about as dominant in 1972 as Phelps was in 2008. It was Spitz's record that Phelps edged in those games, and there's a reason why that record for gold medals stood for almost 40 years.
Even though this wasn't technically a performance, it was too inspiring a moment to be left off the list. Ali lit the Olympic torch for the 1960 games when he was just 18. Then, suffering from Parkinson's, Ali again lit the torch when the games were back in the U.S. in 1996.
Phelps was as dominant as any Olympic athlete in history in 2008. He kept fans on the edge of their seats as he won one race by just .01 seconds while dominating some of his other races. His ascent to Olympic superstardom was one of the key storylines of those games.
In the first year the NBA allowed its players to participate in the Olympics, the USA put together the Dream Team. With several Hall-of-Famers on the roster, the USA cruised through the games and got the gold medals everyone expected them to.
In 1988, diver Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board during a test run, which gave him a concussion. Remarkably, he came back during the games to put on a near flawless performance and land himself a gold medal in the high dive.
It wasn't until Mary Lou Retton did it in 1984 that any American athlete, man or woman, won a gold medal in a gymnastics all-around competition. During her inspiring run, the very marketable Retton put on the performance of a lifetime and sent American gymnastics into a new era.
After taking the gold and bronze medals, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists to represent the Black Power movement at the medal ceremony. Even though this also didn't have to do with a performance, it made a huge statement back home, where the civil rights movement was in full swing.
To the embarrassment of Adolph Hitler, Jesse Owens dominated his German sprinters to take the gold medal in 1936. It was an iconic moment in history as the African-American proved Hitler's prejudicial theories wrong in the sports arena.
The least likely Olympic moment in history came when a young team full of amateurs on Team USA rallied to beat the mighty USSR hockey team. Taking place during the Cold War and on American soil, this may have been the most significant sporting event in history in terms of political importance.
November 25, 2015 by Alex McGeeney
Charge anywhere around your house with this 10-foot-long lifesaver. Read More
November 25, 2015 by Jeff Shull
It appears Stephen Curry is in the Bay Area for the long term. Read More
November 25, 2015 by RanterX
UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste is at it again, this time with a smokin' hot lingerie shot. Read More
November 24, 2015 by RanterX
We should always be thankful for the beautiful female athletes we've been graced with, especially on Thanksgiving. Read More
November 24, 2015 by Alex McGeeney
This compact kit fits in your pocket with a high-tech vape design. Read More
November 24, 2015 by Jacob Kornhauser
This time of the year, we all reflect on what we're thankful for. As sports fans, these are 15 things we should count ourselves fortunate to have. Read More
This wallet is a potent combo of sleek design and premium tech. Read More
November 21, 2015 by Michael Compton
Find out why Miguel Cotto's experience will trump the younger and stronger opponent in Canelo Alvarez. Read More