by Team Snapbac
When it comes to sports and athletes, there is nothing more beloved and iconic than the Olympic Games! Every four years we gather globally to celebrate the best in sportsmanship, physical exertion, extreme talent and the miraculous capabilities of the human body. Each Olympic Games, no matter the season, leaves us with a sense of awe, respect, joy and loss. We watch our favorite athletes put a lifetime of dedicated training to the test; their sweat and tears pouring from the challenge. With only one more year to go before the next Summer Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020, we wanted to take a moment and look back over the years to commemorate some of the greatest moments in Summer Olympics history.
Our first stop will be Paris in 1900. This flashback may not be one of incredible physical prowess, but it is a moment of spectacular human spirit. This was the first modern Olympic Games that allowed women to compete! They put their skills on the line in equestrian, tennis, golf, sailing and croquet. Hélène de Pourtalès of Switzerland was the first female to take home a medal as part of a team, and Charlotte Cooper was the first female to win an individual medal. This started an international movement which finally came to full fruition in 2012 when every country involved in the Olympics had a female athlete in the games.
In 1936, a time of incredible political turmoil in Nazi Germany, Jesse Owens took home four gold medals setting the bar for athletes of any race!
Rome held the 1960 Summer Games when Abebe Bikila ran the Olympic marathon barefoot breaking the record with a new time of 2:15:16, and setting records as the first African athlete to take home the gold medal. During those same games, Muhammad Ali boxed his way to the gold medal.
The 1968 games in Mexico City hold many memories for human rights and feats. It was this moment when Bob Beamon set the Olympic record for the long jump at 8.90 m (29 ft 2 1⁄4 in), and it still holds today!
Jumping forward to 1976 in Montreal, we have to recognize gymnast, Nadia Comaneci from Romania who, at only 14 years old, took home three gold medals and scored the first Olympic score of 10 on the uneven bars!
At the Seoul games in 1988, our hearts flew with Florence Griffith Joyner, or "Flo-Jo," a sprinter on the U.S. team who set world records for the 100 and 200 meter sprints. It’s also when, U.S. diver Greg Louganis took home the gold the day after he had hit his head on the diving board, competing with a minor concussion and stitches on a 2-inch head wound!
Barcelona, 1992, placed basketball in the forefront with the American Dream Team who won gold with an average of 44 points more than opposing teams. This same year was monumental at a humanitarian level. Derartu Tulu, the Ethiopian winner, took the hand of Elana Meyer, a Caucasian sprinter from South Africa, to run a ceremonial victory lap celebrating as South Africa was reinstated to participate after a 32-year apartheid!
The 1996 Olympics were held in Atlanta, and it was gymnast Kerri Strug who redefined determination when she tore her ankle ligaments on her first vault. Determined to have her moment in the competition, she still pushed through the pain and won the gold with a 9.712. She crawled off the mat and was carried out!
The Sydney 2000 games took a wild twist with Eric ''the Eel'' Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea who won the 100m freestyle swim the slowest time in the Olympics and having only learned how to swim eight months prior. He won by default as his competitors were disqualified, but he continued anyway and swam across the finish line. That’s the human spirit, and the spectators enthusiastically cheered him on!
The 2004 games in Athens, had everyone holding their breath as the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Brazil, 2-1, in overtime!
Beijing’s 2008 games broke the Olympic record for the 200-meter dash and the world record for the 100-meter dash with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt claiming both new speeds! He is considered to be one of the greatest sprinters in history. This same year, swimming found its hero in Michael Phelps who took home eight gold medals in eight days!
In London, 2012, Phelps continued his record-breaking taking home his 19th medal.
Then in 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Phelps finished his Olympic swimming with a total of 28 medals, 23 of which were gold! This was also the final games for Usain Bolt who ended his career with nine gold medals, winning all three sprint events in three separate games!
We cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for us!