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COLUMN: The top-10 Olympic moments

assistant sports editor

Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 23:02

Jeff Dahdah

Mikayla Kapp

The Olympic games across history has been a stage for individuals from every country to make a statement, captivate the world and, in some cases, move millions to tears. Here are the top-10 moments in Olympic history.

1. Derrick Redman

In the 1992 summer games in Spain, British sprinter Derrick Redman tore his hamstring on the third lap of the 400 meter semifinal. Redman collapsed on the track then shook off helpers as he hopped along the track, determined to finish the race. Redman’s father pushed through security to help his son cross the finish line to the applause of the crowd, shaking off security members all the way.

2. Jessie Owens

Germany hosted the Olympics in 1936, and the games were overseen by Adolf Hitler. Hitler was eager to see his German athletes dominate and prove his Aryan race was the greatest. Owens, an African-American, proved Hitler wrong. He racked up four gold medals, including the 100 and 200-meter races, proving that a black man was the fastest man in the world at the time.

3. Dan Jansen

Jansen was favored to win the 500 and 1000-meter speed skating races in 1998. Just before the 500-meter race, he was informed that his sister Jane had fallen to leukemia. He fell in both races. He fell again in 1992 in both races. Then in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, he took gold in the 1000-meter race and took a victory lap holding his infant daughter, named Jane.

4. Kerri Strug

Strug needed a solid performance on the vault to secure the United State’s first gymnastics team gold in the Olympics. On her first attempt, she badly injured her ankle. She elected to go again, doing so on her one good leg. She managed to score high enough to secure the gold and be carried up to the podium.

5. Tommie Smith and John Carlos

The image of Smith and Carlos each raising a hand in a fist during the medal ceremony has become iconic. They were ejected from the games for doing so and supporting the Civil Rights Movement in the 1968 games in Mexico City.

6. Muhammad Ali

Although Ali did participate in the Olympics, his moment was during the 1996 opening ceremonies in Atlanta. Ali has parkinson’s disease but took the stage, shaking and trembling, to light the Olympic torch in front of the world.

7. “Miracle on Ice”

The 1980 U.S. hockey team was comprised of college athletes and semi-pros who had to take on the perennial power of hockey, the Soviet Union. The rest is history, with the final seconds of that match forever etched in American minds. It was the ultimate display of a sports team representing the pride of a country.

8. Matthias Steiner

In the months before the 2008 Beijing games, Steiner’s wife passed away in a car crash. Steiner had promised her he would win Olympic gold one day. On the last lift in the competition, he wielded a weight 10 kilograms heavier than he had ever lifted above his head to win gold. Steiner broke down in tears and went to the podium holding a picture of his late wife.

9. Michael Phelps

Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history. His moment came in 2008 when he won eight gold medals, one by a fraction of a second. The memorable image from the games is Phelps screaming in triumph as teammate Jason Lezak chases down the French team in the final leg of the 4x100 freestyle relay to keep his hopes of eight gold medals alive.

10. Derartu Tutu

Going into the 1992 games, an African women had never won an individual gold medal. That changed when Tutu, an Ethiopian, took gold in the 10,000 meter race. She then held hands with South African runner and silver medalist of the event, Elana Mayer, for her victory lap. The two stood as a symbol of hope for a unified Africa at the time.

– Jeffrey Dahdah is a sophomore studying statistics and journalism. He is a die-hard Cardinals, Rams, Jazz and Aggies fan. He loves sports statistics and loves using them to analyze a sports and prove his points. If you have something to say to him, feel free to email him at or tweet at him @dahdahUSU. 

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