Great Olympics Moments Of This Generation

The Olympics have been home to some of the greatest feats in sports history. We've all watched clips, seen photos, and heard stories of the American hockey team beating the Soviets in 1980, Jesse Owens dominating the track and defying Hitler, Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10...

But that's just the thing. Clips, photos, stories. This generation -- my generation -- wasn't around for any of that. We get to watch Miracle and scour YouTube for interviews and, while the Internet is great, it doesn't make up for the lack of firsthand experience.

That's why I want to call some attention to the moments that we have lived through. Whether we watched them happen or not, they occurred in our lifetime (and recently enough to be remembered!) and involved athletes that we watch(ed). Just because I think us youngins need a reminder that the NBA isn't the only place to see some cool tricks! Which brings me (rather appropriately) to...

Shaun White's utter domination at Vancouver 2010. If you're unfamiliar with how snowboarding works, each athlete gets two runs in the half pipe. The whole field takes their first run and then they each go again. Shaun went last and, after the rest of the competitors had competed their second run, already had the gold medal with the score from his first run. Ever the overachiever, however, he decided to take his second run anyway. And scored even higher. So, if it were allowed, this guy would've won the gold AND silver medals. Such a boss!

Any discussion involving gold medals would be amiss without a mention of Michael Phelps. He won eight billion medals in Athens and another eight billion in Beijing, with only two bronzes marring his perfect gold record... if you could say a bronze medal mars anything

In this race, he finishes over two seconds before the silver medalist. That's a bonafide eternity in swimming! And he holds so many world records that I'm running out of fingers to count them on.

How about we now talk about much more of an unsung hero?

Rulon Gardner was a heavyweight wrestler set to take on Alexander Karelin of Russia for the gold medal in Sydney. Karelin is basically the wrestling equivalent of Michael Phelps. The guy hadn't lost a match in over ten years and hadn't even conceded a single point in six years. If you don't know wrestling, the winner is the one with the most points at the end of the match, so that should give you some perspective on how dominant he was. Rulon was obviously not expected to win. But he did, and even had the energy to do some gymnastics after his victory. Holy amazing, Batman!

Steve Bradbury is a story unlike any other. Just watch. This is one story that is NOT done justice by words.

He won his first heat convincingly and got through the quarter-finals on a disqualification. Then he and his coach decided that he wouldn't be able to physically compete with some of the favorites, so he'd stay at the back of the pack; he got through the semi-finals due to a crash of the skaters in front of him, and he won the gold medal because the entire rest of the field wiped out. He looks at his medal as a reward for the ten years and two nearly life-ending injuries he'd endured participating in the sport. And hell, talk about skating smart!

And, because there's no way I could feature a race Apolo Ohno lost and not one that he won...

I'm not even being biased here. That was absolutely, flawlessly perfect.

Finally, I couldn't leave off the fastest man in the world!

These are the moments that the 21-year-old Olympics nerds will be talking about 21 years from now. They're the Dan Jansens, the Dorothy Hamills, the FloJos, the Mark Spitzes of our time. So take note and be proud, because one day you'll be able to say you were there, and you were watching.

What moments would YOU have included on this list?

No comments :

Post a Comment