Olympics Moments: The Best of the Best

A look back through the decades at some of the big moments in Olympic history.

57 photos
London 2012: Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after breaking the serve of Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon in London at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aug. 2, 2012.
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Sochi 2014: Germany's Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl celebrate winning gold during the luge doubles flower ceremony in the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
London 2012: United States' women's 4x100m relay team members celebrate their gold medal win during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Aug. 10, 2012. The team includes, from left, Carmelita Jeter, Bianca Knight, Tianna Madison and Allyson Felix. They set a new world record with a time of 40.82 seconds.
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Sochi 2014: Members of South Korean short track team celebrate winning the gold medal in the Short Track Ladies' 3000m Relay Final at Iceberg Skating Palace on Day 11 of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Beijing 2008: Michael Phelps, then just 19, made Olympic headlines for scooping up eight medals—six of them gold—at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Phelps proved his staying power four years later in Beijing where he won a staggering eight gold medals, besting Mark Spitz's gold-medal record (seven) set in 1972.
Vancouver 2010: Olympic champion Shaun White reacts following the men's snowboard halfpipe competition. White successfully performed his trademark spiraling Double McTwist 1260 during a victory lap that will go down as nothing short of epic. White wowed the crowd, as well as the judges, defending his men's half-pipe title.
Vancouver 2010: Canada's Joannie Rochette reacts after receiving her bronze medal at the women's figure skating competition on Feb. 25, 2010. Her mother, Therese Rochette, 55, died shortly after arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter compete at her second Olympics.
Vancouver 2010: Korea's Yuna Kim performs her short program at the ISU Figure Skating World championships in Moscow, Russia, April 29, 2011. Yuna set a new world record of 72.24 points in the short program at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver with a clean performance. She scored 116.83 in the free skating program, keeping the lead with 189.07 points overall and winning the gold medal.
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Turin 2006: Sun-Yu Jin of Korea celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the gold medal in the women's 3000m final speed skating during Day 12 of the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 22, 2006 at Palavela in Turin, Italy. South Korean athletes won 10 medals, including six gold in the short-track speed skating events in Turin.
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Nagano 1998: French ice dancers Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat compete to win the bronze. The two would go on to win the gold in 2002.
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Nagano 1998: Kazuyoshi Funaki celebrates winning a gold in the men's K120 ski jump on his home turf in Japan.
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Nagano 1998: The Canadian men's short track speed skating team celebrates after winning the gold in the relay event.
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Nagano 1998: France's Jean Luc Cretier on his way to winning the gold in the men's downhill event.
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Lillehammer 1994: Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden speeds through the downhill section of the women's combined event to win the gold.
Beijing 2008: Team USA's Kerri Walsh, left, and Misty May-Treanor celebrate their 2-0 victory over China in a gold medal women's beach volleyball match. The medal marked their second consecutive Olympics gold. Relive some classic Olympic moments from games gone by.
Atlanta 1996: Muhammad Ali, winner of the light heavyweight gold medal during the 1960 Olympic Summer Games in Rome, lit the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games.
Lillehammer 1994: Tonya Harding passes Nancy Kerrigan during practice without speaking following the discovery of the Harding scandal. Harding's ex-boyfriend attacked Kerrigan with a metal pipe to try to improve Harding's chances in the games. Kerrigan still took the silver in women's figure skating singles.
Lillehammer 1994: Still rebounding from the Nancy Kerrigan scandal, Tonya Harding missed her opening jump because of a broken lace. Harding tearfully stopped mid-program and asked the referee for permission to find a new lace.
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Lillehammer 1994: Oksana Baiul from Ukraine reacts after besting favorite Nancy Kerrigan to win the gold in figure skating.
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Lillehammer 1994: Skating legend Katarina Witt waves to the crowd after her free program to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," said to be a celebration for the freedom of East Germany. Witt represented East Germany in '84 and '88.
Lillehammer 1994: German Franziske Schenk celebrates winning the bronze in the 500m speed skating event.
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Albertville 1992: Korean Ki-Hoon Kim celebrates after winning the gold in the 1,000m event in short track speed skating.
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Albertville 1992: Russian Natalia Mishkutenok is lifted by her partner Artur Dmitriev in a pairs routine that would win the couple a gold medal.
Barcelona 1992: Men's basketball was opened to professional players for the first time in the 1992 Olympic Summer Games. The original "Dream Team" included Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
Calgary 1998: The famous Jamaican bobsled team debuts at the Calgary Olympics, inspiring the movie Cool Runnings. Although they didn't finish the race after losing control of the sled, they famously walked to the finish line with the sled in hand.
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Calgary 1998: American skating star Brian Boitano performs his gold medal winning singles routine. Boitano was known for his technical jumping that revolutionized the sport.
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Calgary 1988: American Debra Thomas twirls during the "Battle of the Carmens." Thomas and East German skating legend Katarina Witt both independently chose to skate to music of Bizet's opera "Carmen" in their long program. Witt won, and Thomas took the bronze.
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Calgary 1988: Tomas Gustafson of Sweden speeds through the final of the 10km speed skating race to win the gold and set a world record time of 13:48:20.
Seoul 1988: U.S. diver Greg Louganis reaches for his toes during a practice dive for the springboard finals competition. Louganis hit his head on the springboard in one of the diving finals that year, bleeding into the pool. It sparked a controversy years later when Louganis revealed he has AIDS, and had been HIV positive at the time of the incident.
Los Angeles 1984: U.S. runner Carl Lewis, center, leads Thomas Jefferson, left, and Kirk Baptiste, right, in a prayer after they gave the U.S. a sweep of medals in the men's 200m race. Carl Lewis took home four golds—for the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump—and matched the record wins set by Jesse Owens in 1936.
Los Angeles 1984: President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan are shown with U.S. Olympic medalists at a breakfast meeting at the Los Angeles Century Plaza Hotel. Reagan, whose home state was California, officially opened the games.
Calgary 1988: Joakim Karlberg of Sweden falls as he is passed up by USSR skater Andrey Bobrov.
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Sarajevo 1984: American skating superstar Scott Hamilton performs in his gold medal winning routine. Hamilton later gained even more fame after battling testicular cancer and returning to skating after treatment.
Montreal 1976: At age 14, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the first to receive a perfect 10 score. She won three gold medals—in the individual all round, uneven bars and balance beam.
Montreal 1976: USA boxer Howard Davis slugs it out with Yugoslavian Ace Rusevski in lightweight boxing action. Davis and four other American boxers—Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and Leo Randolph—won gold medals that year, marking them perhaps the greatest Olympic boxing team in U.S. history.
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Innsbruck 1976: American skating star Dorothy Hamill glides across the ice to win a gold medal in the women's single event. Hamill is credited with creating a camel/sit spin move now called the "Hamill camel."
Mexico City 1968: Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos, right, wear black gloves on upraised right hands as they bow their heads during the U.S. national anthem after their first and third-place wins in the 200 m dash. The gesture was intended to show their disfavor with race conditions in the U.S.
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Grenoble 1968: France's skiing legend Jean-Claude Killy relaxes between events. Killy swept the alpine events, winning gold medals in giant slalom, slalom and downhill.
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Grenoble 1968: Skiers Herbert Huber and Karl Schranz of Austria and Jean-Claude Killy of France wave to their fans between events.
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Grenoble 1968: American skating star Peggy Fleming performs during her gold medal winning routine. Fleming's medal was the only gold the United States won that year, partially because the the tragic 1961 plane crash that killed the whole U.S. figure skating team.
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Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956: Sweden's star skier, Sixten Jernberg, was the record winner of nine medals in three Olympic Winter Games.
Berlin 1936: A cameraman working from a crane outside the stadium is shown filming the 1936 Olympic Summer Games in Berlin, the first to have live television coverage. More recently, NBC paid the International Olympic Committee $1.18 billion for broadcasting rights to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Berlin 1936: Although Nazi Germany didn't allow most of their Jewish athletes to participate in the 1936 Summer Games, fencer Helene Mayer, whose father was Jewish, was allowed to compete. She won the silver medal.
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Garmisch 1936: The British ice hockey team went on to win the gold.
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Garmisch 1936: Norwegian speed skaters Ivar Ballangrud and Charles Mathiesen pose for a photo between events. Ballangrud won gold medals in the 500 m, 1,500 m and 10,000 m and Mathiesen won a gold in the 5,000 m.
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Garmisch 1936: German skier Christl Cranz speeds past a Nazi flag during the alpine combined event to win the gold medal in the event.
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Garmisch 1936: German Nordic skier Willy Bogner takes the Olympic oath during the Opening Ceremony.
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Lake Placid 1932: A rider competes in the dog sled racing exhibition event, which was the only time dog sled racing has been included in the Olympic Games.
Los Angeles 1932: Los Angeles was the only city to bid on the 1932 Summer Olympics, held in the midst of the Great Depression. The 400 m relay swimming event was won by USA athletes (from left) Josephine McKim, Helen Johns, Eleanor Garrati Saville, and Helene Madison. Madison won three gold medals in swimming that year.
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St. Moritz 1928: American John O'Neil Farreil won the bronze during the 500 m speed skating event despite the event being canceled in the fifth heat due to the ice thawing.
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St. Moritz 1928: French figure skaters Andree Joly and Pierre Brunet are on their way to winning the gold in the pairs figure skating event. Costumes have come a long way since then.
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St. Moritz 1928: French and British hockey teams are seen back in the day when protective wear meant two thin shirts and winter hats. France won against the British, 3-2.
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St. Moritz 1928: The skijoering event, an event where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, was a demonstration and marked the only time the sport has been included in the Olympic Games.
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St. Moritz 1928: The Polish four-man bobsled team crashes after failing to corner.
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St. Moritz 1928: Austrians Lilly Scholz and Otto Kaiser compete during the pair's figure skating event in a routine that would win them the silver medal.
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St. Moritz 1928: The Earl of Northesk, of Britain, and American Jennison Heaton prepare for the skeleton bobsleigh event. Heaton won the gold and the Earl won the bronze.
Paris 1924: The 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris were the first Olympic Games to feature an Olympic Village.
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