Every two years, either a summer or winter Olympics rolls around. In the two weeks that follow, spectators everywhere enjoy getting lost in the patriotism, competition, and pageantry that comes with them. The Olympics have provided us with many unforgettable moments over the years. These include record-breaking performances and phenomenal displays of athletic skill. But some also transcended sport.
Given that the Olympics have been going on for more than a century, there is ample amount of information available on various sporting events, timelines, incidents and photos that made history.
Lets take a look at a few of the most notable instances that were captured on film and will forever be etched in the memory of those who were witness to it.
Here are the iconic moments we remember most.
Black Power Salute
Black Power Salute, one of the iconic images that signified the oppression of African Americans in modern day America. The two athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith stood with their hands raised as their national anthem played.
The third athlete named Peter Norman never made a move but was subject to abuse back in Australia for supporting the event. The picture represents more than just racism in America and is a symbol of solidarity of sportspersons across the world.
1900 Summer Olympics in Paris
After years of being excluded from competition, the 1900 Olympics introduced five events for women—tennis, equestrian, croquet, sailing, and golf.
British tennis player Charlotte Cooper Sterry became the first female Olympic tennis champion, after winning both the mixed doubles and singles competitions.
1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin
Jesse Owens, the man who proved Hitler wrong. One of the fastest men in the 20th century, Jesse Owens won 4 Gold medals for the USA at Hitler’s very own propaganda Olympics in Berlin. He proved his doubters wrong, but more importantly, he proved the Aryan Race theory wrong by simply through his power of running.
1960 Summer Olympics in Rome
Abebe Bikila set an Olympic marathon record with a time of 2:15:16, becoming the first African athlete to win a gold medal. And he did it barefoot—just like he trained in his home country of Ethiopia.
1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City
To protest racism in the States, sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos put on scarves and beads—to represent lynching—and took off their shoes—a symbol of poverty—before taking the podium. During the national anthem, they bowed their heads and raised their fists in the Black Power salute. Their protest is one of the most iconic sports moments of all time.
1972 Summer Olympics in Munich
Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut performed the “Korbut flip” during her uneven bar routine in 1972—a move where the athlete stands on the high bar and backflips off of it only to re-grasp the bar again. The move is now banned from competition, because it was deemed too dangerous.
1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal
At just 14 years old, Nadia Comaneci of Romania became the first Olympian to nail a perfect 10 gymnastics score, on the uneven bars. Then, she did it six more times to get three gold medals.
1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow
While competing in Moscow, Polish pole vaulter Władysław Kozakiewicz took his gold medal win as an opportunity to show his discontent for the host country. Kozakiewicz turned and made a bras d’honneur gesture (similar to the American middle finger) to the USSR crowds in the stadium, for which he was almost stripped of his medals.
1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid
Also known as the “Miracle on Ice,” a team of nobodies with a coach from Minnesota were able to beat the seemingly unstoppable Soviet hockey team 4-3 and advanced to the final round, where they beat Finland to take home the gold.
1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles
American gymnast Mary Lou Retton became one of the most popular Olympic athletes when, at only 16 years old, she took home five medals and became the first American to earn an all-around gold medal in the sport of gymnastics.
1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul
In preliminary competition, U.S. diver Greg Louganis smacked his head on the diving board, suffering a concussion and a 2-inch scalp wound. But a day later, he returned to competition, stitches and all, to snag gold.
1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona
British sprinter Derek Redmond’s story is a heartbreaker: He tore his Achilles tendon in the ’88 Olympics and returned in ’92 determined to medal, but his hamstring popped. His father Jim dashed past security to help him cross the finish line anyway, medal or no.
2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney
For the first time in Olympic history, South and North Korean delegates united under one flag for the opening ceremony.
2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing
Usain Bolt thundered onto the Olympic podium in 2008, breaking the 200m dash Olympic record and 100m dash world record.
2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
The world applauded Joannie Rochette when she took home the bronze medal in women’s figure skating in 2010—but it wasn’t just her routine they were moved by. The figure skater took to the ice days after her mother, Therese Rochette, died from a sudden heart attack. Joannie dedicated the medal to her mother.
2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Bolt competed in his last Olympics in Rio, becoming the first man to win all three sprint events in three separate games:Rthe 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay. He finished with nine gold medals.