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Olympic moments which stopped the nation

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Eleanor Oldroyd Eleanor Oldroyd | 14:37 UK time, Monday, 25 July 2011

At every Olympic Games, there are moments when you know you've just witnessed sporting history - events you know you'll be talking about in 10, 20 even 30 years' time.

Some are predicted - hyped, even; others take you completely by surprise. They can be moments when everything goes perfectly right, or moments when everything goes horribly wrong.

As the one year countdown to London 2012 begins on 5 Live Sport this week, we've picked out eight of them to feature in a special programme.

We're calling it, "Moments Which Stopped the Nation".

Where were you when Kelly Holmes won double Olympic gold in 2004?

Kelly Holmes wins double Olympic gold in Athens in 2004 Photo: Getty

Of course, there's Steve Redgrave in Sydney in 2000. As viewers and listeners at home cowered under their duvets and prayed, the man hailed in many quarters as Britain's greatest ever Olympian defied his ageing body and the fast-finishing Italians to secure his fifth title, 16 years after his first.

In Athens four years later, it was Kelly Holmes's last chance to fulfill her destiny. After so many near misses, she was actually fully fit at last - and fulfill it she did, not once, but twice. But as she cruised to victory in the 1500ms, four more proud Brits were oblivious.

The men's 4x100m relay squad were in the warm up room preparing for their final. As you'll hear from Darren Campbell on Tuesday night, the only thing on their mind was beating the mighty USA team. It turned into not just a moment, but a whole evening which stopped the nation.

When Mary Peters won her pentathlon gold in Munich in 1972, she not only stopped a nation, but united it. Protestants and Catholics in conflict-torn Northern Ireland came together to celebrate as she brought her medal home to Belfast.

We've moments of triumph then, but also of despair.

I remember on a warm evening in Athens waiting with a bunch of 5 Live colleagues in the Panathinaikon stadium for Paula Radcliffe. She was overwhelming favourite for the women's marathon - but she never got to the finish. Her friend Allison Curbishley will join us in the studio to tell us what went so wrong for Paula that day.

In 1992, Derek Redmond and his father Jim produced one of the most iconic images of the modern Olympics. Derek's hamstring popped half way through the 400m semi-final, and Jim's comforting paternal arm as he helped his stricken son to cross the finish line in front of the packed Barcelona crowd has become an illustration of the Olympic spirit, cited by Barack Obama in a speech endorsing Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games.

I visited the Redmonds in Northampton a couple of weeks ago and I also went to chat to Kay and Steve Adlington. They told me all about their double celebration - in Mansfield and Beijing - as their teenage daughter Rebecca became a national heroine, the most successful British swimmer in a century.

And we'll recall two great track and field rivallries, through the eyes of two people who shared the track on two memorable nights.

When Seb Coe and Steve Ovett staged the first of their epic battles in the 1980 Olympics, in the 800m, the other British runner in the race was Dave Warren. You'll hear how Ovett won the psychological battle in the warm-up room, as well as the physical battle on the track.

And when the eyes of the world focussed on two women, Zola Budd and Mary Decker, in the 3,000m at the LA Olympics, few were taking much notice of another British runner, Wendy Sly. Yet she was the one who would go on to take a silver medal in that race. She's been giving me her perspective on a confrontation which still causes controversy, and recalling her own Olympic triumph.

So we'll be remembering eight very special sporting moments which captivated the watching and listening public.

We'd love to know how you remember them - where were you, and what were you doing as history was being made?

And of course, in a two hour programme we won't have time to nominate every single stand-out point in our collective Olympic memories. So feel free to tell us which ones we've missed.

Moments Which Stopped the Nation is on 5Live Sport from 1900 BST on 26 July


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Usain Bolt - Beijing 2008, enough said.

  • Comment number 2.

    Linford Christie's 1992 100m win, made all the more exciting by David Coleman's animated commentary!

  • Comment number 3.

    If we're going to refer to David Coleman, my abiding memories are 1964, Ann Packer, 800m, world record, with DC going partly insane with excitement, and 1968, David Hemery, 400m hurdles world record, Coleman now completley losing it with "and who cares who's third".........John Sherwood, GB!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Daley Thompson - Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984

  • Comment number 5.

    Being a teenager, waiting up until gone 0030 on that Saturday morning to watch the Olympic Final of Steve Redgrave winning his 5th gold. Immense.

    Being in the Olympic Stadium to see the 4x100m team win gold in Athens in 2004. From where we were sat, there appeared to be miles between us and the USA team - but we had to wait for confirmation in the stadium.

    Being on holiday in Edinburgh and flicking over to see Nicole Cooke win the first gold for Team GB in Beijing.

    All made the world stop; but nothing will be comparable to Redgrave.

  • Comment number 6.

    Jonathan Edwards World Athletics Championships when he broke the world record, a truly amazing performance!

  • Comment number 7.

    6.At 17:27 25th Jul 2011, DeanCollins1984 wrote:
    Jonathan Edwards World Athletics Championships when he broke the world record, a truly amazing performance!

    Good - but just not an Olympic one. Jonathan had to wait another 5 years to finally land Olympic Gold.

    I like the Barry Davies Quote "And where were the Germans? Frankly who cares?"

    The Searle Brothers (plus Garry Herbert coxing) coming from behind in 1992.

    Derek Redmond's pulled muscle was moving enough to make me think he should be involved with carrying/lighting the flame in the Stadium.

    A couple of Winter Olympic ones: Torvill and Dean's Bolero, Curling Gold and Eddie the Eagle.

  • Comment number 8.

    Usain Bolt 2008
    Cathy Freeman 2000
    Kelly Holmes 2004 ( was in the stadium in Athens lol)

    Moments that stand out for me are watching the cycling on the morning of the first day of the 2000 olympics and Jason Queally taking gold after the trauma of one gold in Atlanta and the 4x100 winning vs a weak US relay team in Athens.

    Moments for 2012:

    Paula Radcliffe puts behind her demons to win olympic gold. Just gotta hope she isn't too old.

    He shouldn't need an olympic gold to become a legend but Cavendish will get it in the men's road race.

    Jessica Ennis and Philips Idowu become the poster athletes for modern multicultural Britain when they win golds.

  • Comment number 9.

    Seb Coe leading Steve Cram home in the 1500 metre final.

  • Comment number 10.

    Watching the USA beat France in the 4x100m freestyle relay in Beijing was incredible. Of the 8 teams in the final, all broke their respective national records, 5 broke the world record as it stood before the final, every team beat the winning time from the previous olympics, Eamon Sullivan set the individual world record on the opening leg for Australia and Jason Lezak swam the fastest relay leg in history by 6 tenths of a second to overhaul Alain Bernard (the individual world record holder going into the race) after entering the water with a full body length deficit.

  • Comment number 11.

    Bob Beaman Mexico 1968

  • Comment number 12.

    Mexico '68 athletics. Hemery & Sherwood, Beamon, US sprinters.

  • Comment number 13.

    The 2 for me are Lezaks 46.06 split to overhaul alain bernard in the 4x100m freestyle relay to keep alive phelps' dream of 8, and phelps' 100m fly where he beat cavic by 0.01. Both will live long in the memory!

    I realise these will seem biased as i mainly follow swimming :P

  • Comment number 14.

    Michael Johnson 1996 200m world record - pretty much stopped the world at the time.

  • Comment number 15.

    Unfortunately, one of the outstanding memories when I was at school was staying up until 4am watching Ben Johnson 'win' the 100m in Seoul 1988, but enough of infamous, of the true achievements, even as an athletics fan, I really thought Rebecca Addlingtion's double gold in Beijing was special

  • Comment number 16.

    12. At 18:46 25th Jul 2011, You wrote:
    Mexico '68 athletics. Hemery & Sherwood, Beamon, US sprinters.

    And I forgot to mention Dick Fosbury and the revolution he brought about.

  • Comment number 17.

    Has to be Sally Gunnell, Barcelona 1992. I was 6 years old, watching that 400m hurdles final now still gives me goosebumps. That last bend was incredible, she ate ground up!

  • Comment number 18.

    Carl Lewis' Long Jump Gold in Atlanta '96. Though it didn't mark his greatest performance it was his ninth olympic gold medal, the final curtain on a legendary olympic career. Looking back and remembering the odd mix of antipathy and respect elicited by Carl Lewis, I wish we had embraced him more positively. What the athletics world would give for someone like him now. There's only one Carl Lewis.

  • Comment number 19.

    Watching Nicole Cook taking Britain's first gold medal on the 1st day of the Beijing Olympics 2008

  • Comment number 20.

    For me it's got to be Cathy Freeman in Sydney and Kelly Holmes in Athens.

  • Comment number 21.

    Haile Gebreselassie vs Paul Tergat, Sydney Olympics 10000m

  • Comment number 22.

    Saw Denise Lewis win her gold in the stadium in Sydney so very special personal memories of a great British champion.

    Men's hockey gold in Seoul - I make no apologies for repeating Willo77's line above about the best line of commentary ever - "And where were the Germans? Frankly, who cares?"

    Dame Kelly winning both 800m and 1500m in Athens was simply awesome. I'm sure my pregnant wife screaming through both races contributed to the early arrival (three months early!) of our twin boys.

    And Usain Bolt taking the world's breath away in Beijing. A real privelege to witness such a phenomenal athlete.

  • Comment number 23.

    Alan Wells 100m gold medal at the Moscow Olympics . . . Scotland's greatest ever Olympic moment.

  • Comment number 24.

    Tommie Smith and the medal salute 100 metres 1968
    Cathy Freeman 2000
    Munich Israeli athletes
    Atlanta bombing
    You asked for Olympic moments not necessarily sporting ones

  • Comment number 25.

    @24 I meant 200 metres but it was the gesture not the event

  • Comment number 26.

    Michael Johnson 400m Final Atalanta 96?

  • Comment number 27.

    has to be men's hockey seoul 1988...

  • Comment number 28.

    Chris Boardman at Barcelona 92. I was on the edge of my seat. He is the godfather of modern British cycling.

  • Comment number 29.

    The US and friends showing their olympic spirit in Moscow '80 by boycotting the games because invaded Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 30.

    No one's mentioned Linford Christie's triumph in the Blue-Ribbon event - the 100metres. I've put that right now!
    And Usain Bolt, Beijing 100 & 200 metres - fantastic!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Christie was mentioned by post#2. Of course, the drug suspicion probably didn't help his chances of appearing in the original article.

  • Comment number 32.

    Of the British ones in my lifetime, Kelly Homes is the one that stands out, perhaps because I was in Athens and watched the race on a big screen at our camp site. Tremendous atmosphere in race. But our Boardman, Gunnell and Christie golds at Barcelona 92 has a big atmosphere about them as well.

    Of the non-British fans, Phelps vs Cavic in recent history and looking further back Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics has to go down as a big one.

  • Comment number 33.

    There is some suprisingly reasonable quality footage of Jesse Owens, better looking than a lot of 40s and 50s footage. Fouund this on the internet - a TV curiosity:
    At the 1936 Berlin, Germany Olympic Games, Jesse Owen wins the 100 meters mens final in the first commercial television broadcast of any significant size. There were only a few thousand early TV sets sold in Germany and England in 1936 (non in the US or anywhere else). This broadcast was 3 years before the first TV images shown to an American public at the New York World's Fair in 1939.

  • Comment number 34.

    God there are loads.

    The Coe/Cram 800 & 1500 of Moscow in 1980.
    The Coe/Cram 1500 in LA in 1984.
    The mens 4x4 silver in 1984. (I know they weren't really close, but if I could just swap 1 silver for gold, this would be it).
    The mens 4x4 silver in 1996.
    The 4x1 boys beating the Yanks in 2004 and MLW and his wide eyes. (I just assumed they would screw this up!!!)
    The 88 100 when everyone ran under 10.0 (Linford got silver). Is that still the best ever 100 run?
    Linford winning gold in 92.
    Sally Gunnell in the 400H in 92.
    Kelly Holmes doing the double in 2004.

    That's just the track ones that used to be more important to me.

    More recently though....

    Boardman in 92. I have a feeling that we hadn't won a gold up until then and then we won a few within the next 24 hours. There was loads of pressure on him and he duly delivered.

    All the Sir Steve golds. They just seemed to get more importsnt and more impressive with each passing year.

    The cheated boxer in Seoul, (I think that's where it was), who knew he had been cheated and refused to leave the ring. It was Seoul where Roy Jones Jr was cheated anyway and the rules were changed afterwards. This was a nobody though.

    Have become more interested in the cycling in recent years but to be honest it usually isn't close and is a little anti-climatic. lol

  • Comment number 35.

    Ooh forgot.

    The Zola Budd/Mary Decker/Slaney thing was HUUUUUGE at the time.

    The Russians opening the stadium doors at one end when their javelin throwers were up. (lol).

  • Comment number 36.

    Not an Olympic moment but surely the best in Athletics - the GB Mens 4 x 400 gold medal in the 1991 World Championships with Kris Akabusi taking the US reigning world champion just before the line !!

  • Comment number 37.

    Apart from the usual suspects for me, Lolo Jones tripping on that second to last hurdle in the woman's final in Beijing, I felt gutted for her, but thats the beauty of the olympics.

  • Comment number 38.

    Fav Olympic moments for me in reverse order are:
    3rd: Gabrielle Andersen-Scheiss completion of the Womens Marathon in 1984 showing outstanding courage.
    2nd: Cathy Freeman winning the womans 400m with a whole nation on her shoulders
    1st: The perfect winning delivery from Rhona Martin in the womens curling final in 2002 - outstanding nerve/bottle.

    Each of these acheivements actually bring a tear of pride to my eye every time I see them - which, lets face it, is really what the Olympics should stir amongst us all.

  • Comment number 39.

    Sorry folks, I am a 45 year old guy who loves most sports - showing my age here with my Olympic memories but these definitely stick out - probably missing a few still! John Curry, Innsbruck, 1976; David Wilkie, Nadia Comenici and Lasse Viren - all Montreal, 1976; Robin Curry, Lake Placid, 1980 and Allan Wells, Moscow, 1980; Torvill & Dean, Lake Placid, 1984 and Carl Lewis, Los Angeles, 1984; Pirmin Zubriggen, Calgary, 1988 and Sean Kerly (Hockey), Seoul, 1988; any of the races involving Coe/Ovett/Redgrave/Pinsent - wee bit of British bias but hey-ho!

  • Comment number 40.

    Wrong photo though BBC. The 800m was Kelly's much more dramatic race.

  • Comment number 41.

    Coe coming back to beat his nemesis in 1980. And they did not get on - they do now. My own personal favourite.
    Redgrave and Thompson go without saying as well as Kelly Holmes and Aisnlie and Hoy's triumphs from a British perspective.
    However I was not born when the Greatest of Them All (moment and sportsperson) ran away from the field (including the World Record Holder) in his first ever marathon to supplement his 5k and 10k Golds. He did something that no-one will ever ever match. Step forward the Great Emil Zatopek in 1952. I hope there is a fitting tribute to him at The Olympic Park.

  • Comment number 42.

    It was 1968 and it wasn't a final or anything like that. It was early on in the first part of the long jump and I don't even know why I was watching. This American ran up to jump and just stayed airborne for ever. It was like they'd put him on slow motion and I don't think they had that sort of stuff in those days. He was Bob Beamon and he had just put a record on the shelf for years. From somewhere around 27 feet he'd, in one jump, he'd put it over 29 feet. Only in the context of the time could you appreciate that nowadays. And hardly anyone was watching.

  • Comment number 43.

    @ 30: I don't want to be churlish, but before claiming to be the 1st to make a comment, I suggest you read the earlier comments beforehand (in this case, specifically post No.2)
    Many great moments have already been mentioned to this point, so for the moment I'd just like to add the Swiss marathon runner who tottered her way to the finish line in a triumph of sheer will, as her body had just about given out at that point over. I apologise, particularly to her, for not remembering her name or even which Olympic Games it was, but it stands out in my mind to this day as an enduring tribute to the Olympic spirit.

  • Comment number 44.

    Atlanta '96, Mr Golden Shoes and David Coleman. The gun goes bang. Coleman, "and look at the flashbulbs in the background.. and as usual Johnson is blistering away, also going well is in lane 6 is Atto Boldon and Fredericks, but it's Johnson off the bend... " and so it goes on. Less than 20 seconds later, it was over. I stood about 5 feet from my tv screen with my head in my hands, completely astonished and speechless. He would have won in Sydney with his laces tied together.

  • Comment number 45.

    @43. Please see my post Nr 38. The Swiss lady is Gabrielle Andersen-Scheiss and it was the LA Olympics of 1984. Her triumph in reaching the finish line said just about everything the Olympics should be.

  • Comment number 46.


    The Coe/Cram 800 & 1500 of Moscow in 1980...Coe/Ovett, Cram was 8th!

    The 4x1 boys beating the Yanks in 2004 and MLW and his wide eyes. (I just assumed they would screw this up!!!) mean MLF

    The 88 100 when everyone ran under 10.0 (Linford got silver). Is that still the best ever 100 run?...Ony 3 did, Lewis, Christie, Smith, well 4 but Johnson was disqualified, no its not the best ever 100 run!

  • Comment number 47.

    Can the BBC compile a top 100 of the greatest Olympic moments as voted for by the British public and air just before the 2012 games?

  • Comment number 48.


    Yeah the Ovett/Cram thing was a typo (or me thinking quicker than I type anyway), as was the MLF thing.

    Must admit I was wrong about the 88 100 though. Was sure all but 1 runner came in within 10 seconds but obviously not. Sorry.

    Looking at the stats now....

    In the 92 Final only Linford went under 10 secs.

    4 went under 10 in 96.

    Only 2 went under 10 in 2000.

    5 went under 10 secs in 2004.

    6 went under 10 secs in 2008.

    I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised that subsequent Finals have gone quicker. Still a phenomenal race though.

  • Comment number 49.

    Uganda's John Aki Bua breaking the World Record in 1972 Munich Olyimpics 400 meters hurdles....

  • Comment number 50.

    1996 Michael Johnson 200m. To take nearly half a second off a long-standing world record was astonishing. He hit the bend and lit the afterburners. Fredericks posted a fast time too - he was nowhere near Johnson.

    2008 Beijing Usain Bolt 100m and 200m - The 100m result was staggering. To celebrate 10m from the line and still destroy the world record! 200m was even better. I honestly never thought anyone would beat Michael Johnson's 19.32 until the 2020's at the earliest. The footage of Johnson in the BBC commentary gantry as he did it is classic TV.

  • Comment number 51.

    For jaw dropping moment nothing (maybe for some decades) will beat Bolt's 100m in Beijing. For pure excitement and especially from a British perspective Redgrave and the 4 holding off the Italians and Holmes 800m finish.

    Personally watching Boardman lap the reigning world champion to win gold was such a devastating anhiliation (that is hard to better - anyone??) is my personal favourite moment

  • Comment number 52.

    Franz Klammer in the men's downhill at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck - the most amazing single sporting performance one could ever wish to see

  • Comment number 53.

    Eric the Eel, Sydney 2000

  • Comment number 54.

    Many of these I remember, but for me, one that stands out is John Tracey Silver medal in the marathon. While going out to the medal ceremony he could hardly walk and I think he needed help to get on the podium

  • Comment number 55.

    the best sporting moments often happen outside of the olympics, but when they do happen at the olympics they are truly spectacular (or a brit winning apparently). It's just that we only seem to pay attention to these sports at the olympics.

  • Comment number 56.

    Summer Olympics: Daley Thompson, Los angeles, the ultimate competitor, and the immortal commentary on the discus, "Its a better one, its a better one, its a better one"
    Winter Olympics: Torvil & Dean, I felt the whole country held its breath before the Bolero, just so they did'nt make a mistake and you knew you were watching not just sport but a great piece of art.

  • Comment number 57.

    Ben Ainslie V Robert Scheidt in Sydney 2000. The next day at the sailing club the normal 3 Lasers had been swelled to 13 as everyone was inspired to go racing like Ben.

  • Comment number 58.

    For us Kiwis, Rome Olympics 1960, Murray Halberg gold 5,000 metres, within the hour Peter Snell gold 1500 metres.

  • Comment number 59.

    the 4x100m relay team. its a no brainer

  • Comment number 60.

    Ben Johnson 1988 - the fastest time ever run at that point in history and stripped of his medal in discrace only a few hours later. Epic for all the wrong reasons.

  • Comment number 61.

    Usain Bolt in 2008 Beijing Olympics

  • Comment number 62.

    Winter Olympics: Eric Heiden (Speed Skating)
    Bjorn Daehli (Cross Country Ski-ing)
    Summer Olympics: Mark Spitz (Swimming)
    Emil Zatopek (Athletics)
    Lasse Viren (Athletics)
    Sir Steve Redgrave (Rowing)
    Dame Kelly Holmes (Athletics)
    Michael Phelps (Swimming)
    Nadia Comaneci (Gymnastics)

  • Comment number 63.

    Daley Thompson waving on the last lap of the 1500 metres - cheeky but legendary.

  • Comment number 64.

    Michael Johnson's 200m in 1996 - the first time I can ever remember jumping around my front room and pointing at the TV in complete astonishment at a sports event. And (@44) the stunned commentary just made it even better:

    "it's Johnson by YARDS!...............(15 seconds pause)....................... This man, surely, is not human."

  • Comment number 65.

    Moments which stopped the Nation? For me, every moment of every Olympics since 1952, when as a 10 year old I sat with my mother as she cried with joy when Colonel Harry Llewellyn jumped clear on Foxhunter to win gold. Thanks Mum for getting me into sport, watching the greats and playing very, very averagely.

  • Comment number 66.

    Like a few other posters here I am saying Michael Johnson's 200m in 1996. It was the first time I swore at the TV having watched somebody run (not because I was annoyed but because I was stunned). Fredericks broke the old world record and was still yards behind him.

    My favourite athletics moment, although it wasn't at the Olympics, was Mike Powell vs Carl Lewis in the long jump at the 1991 World Championships. It's not very often you see two athletes at their peak competing against each other who also happen to be the best ever at their event.

  • Comment number 67.

    Sally Gunnell '92 was a great race and should really be in this list

  • Comment number 68.

    For me it has to be Rhonna Martin's last stone to clinch gold medal at Curling in Salt Lake City 2002.

    I remember staying awake all night just to see that final, and the excitement and enjoyment when Rhonna placed that last stone in the middle of the rings. It was even more surprising as two weeks earlier I did not even know that Curling existed.

  • Comment number 69.

    The Searle brothers in Barcelona was one of my first olympic memories and still one of the best. Brilliant Race!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Still think the team sports have a special place and the hockey boys of '88 did get us up early to watch the final.... and win GOLD! Not too often the Brits beat the Aussies and the Germans to win in any sport.

  • Comment number 71.

    Bob Beamon - long jump, Mexico 1968

  • Comment number 72.

    Searle brothers in '92 no doubt. Greg had been the year above me at school, Jonny the year above my brother, and their coach was my former biology teacher. They just mowed down their rivals with an irresistable finish and timed it perfectly to lead for about a stroke before the end. Magnificent spirit from the young pretenders.

    Steve Rider at the end of the commentry saying something like "Can you believe that?" when he thought the camera had finished filming his bit.

  • Comment number 73.

    Torvill & Dean in Sarajevo in 1984. Made to watch it by my parents but enjoyed every minute.

  • Comment number 74.

    Kelly Holmes - Athens - 2nd Gold medal - literally made me cry, so much emotion, so much joy on her face - sums up what the Olympics is all about.

  • Comment number 75.

    Steve Regrave's 5th Olympic GOLD was the greatest Olympic memory I have closely followed by Kelly Holmes and our hockey boy's. They should not be forgotten what a great team they were!

  • Comment number 76.

    I can't see anywhere that anyone has mentioned Steve redgrave surely the last 2 golds he won must have stopped the nation?
    agree with nearly all the other posts coe,ovett,boardman,gunnell,daly tomson etc.

  • Comment number 77.

    Alan Wells gold in the 100M, fabulous stuff, I remember there being confusion as to whether he had won it as it was so close. Epic stuff.

    Of course what is forgotten is that he got silver in the 200M as well. Huge acheivement rarely recognised. incidentally he was beaten by Pietro Mennea, who also incidentally held the world record for the 200M for 17 years, only for it to be beaten by a bloke called Michael Johnson.

  • Comment number 78.

    Credit in winning the curling gold - but really - did this stop the nation? I fell alseep.

  • Comment number 79.

    Daley Thompson - LA 1984. Back Flip on the pole volt mat and whistling to the national athem not sure of all the time/distance he achieved but around 10.4secs for 100M, 47secs for 400M - around 8M in long jump - 2M for high jump - 65M Javelin - 55M discus - 14secs 110M hurdles - 5M+ pole volt...............then man is a living legend!

  • Comment number 80.

    Thanks @ 45!

  • Comment number 81.

    1948 Olympics, black and white TV, as an 8 year old, bursting into tears as a tall Jamaican pulled up with a leg injury chasing the US 4x440 runner. 20 years later I had an amazing chance so I simply went up to him and asked "do you think you would have caught him ?". He looked down at me (!) and smiled, and then said "you know, I've often asked myself that ". A wonderful gentleman, the great Arthur Wint.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 47: Good idea!
    Another challenge I would like to throw not only to the media but also the public is to demonstrate in practice what every sportsperson knows at heart - sport is not all about winning, it is essentially about overcoming your own limitations and the obstacles placed in your path (much like the other aspects of life, in fact). Consequently - and this is the challenge - I would like to see the media focussing on, and the public showing appreciation of those athletes who have come from humble backgrounds and, often with very limited support, have triumphed against adversity simply to get to the Olympics. And to cheer every single athlete who manages to achieve a personal best at the games, even if they're not amongst the medal winners. Because they are winners, nonetheless!

  • Comment number 83.

    Torvill and Dean in 1984 represents the highest level achieved in any Olympic sport. Breath taking, wonderful, enthralling perfection.

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 57: Ben Ainsley is a GREAT sailor and was very unfortunate to be competing at a time that was dominated by an absolute master of his craft, in Robert Scheidt. No wonder he ended up moving to another yachting class, where he has deservedly managed to excel!
    @ 79: and I reckon Daley would’ve snagged a third consecutive gold if his pole hadn’t snapped during the pole vault competition, just as he appeared to be heading for a huge leap. What an athlete!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Daley Thompson's backflip, 1984. Brilliant stuff, he became a hero to millions instantly. :-)

  • Comment number 86.

    @ 60: I remember looking at their faces at the start and realizing that Lewis already knew he would be beaten. And to this day I find myself wondering if he wasn’t every bit as turbocharged as his Canadian rival. I am pleased when cheats get punished, but am angry that so many don’t. And the severe punishment dished out to Marion Jones was a clear signal to athletes that it is better to keep quiet than to come clean. That girl has been through hell, and in the process has restored her dignity and honour, and I am very proud of her for having done that.

  • Comment number 87.

    Tokyo 1964 womens 800m Ann Packer (Coleman commentary I think!)

    Mexico 1968 womens 400m Lillian Board silver medal behind France's Collette Besson linked to 1969 European Championships 4x400m womens relay gold anchored by Lillian Board beating Collette Besson after taking over on final leg nearly 10 metres behind her. LB had already won the 800m individual title only taking part because severe back pain particularly in shorter races was inhibiting her performance.
    She died 18 months or so later aged 22

  • Comment number 88.

    Not a Brit but US diver Greg Louganis recovering from hitting the diving board in Seoul 1988 to win gold, sheer guts!

  • Comment number 89.

    @48 1988 Seoul 100m final was one of the most dramatic and notorious but not the best. Best 100m men's final would be 1991 World Championships in Tokyo when Carl Lewis won and the top six all ran PBs below 10 seconds!

  • Comment number 90.

    There have been many euphoric moments in Olympic history but I have to say the 'stand-out' moments for me have to be Usain Bolt's 100m & 200m. The reason for picking these are that he didn't just win, he completely destroyed a world class field!! In sprinting terms, he won both events by a proverbial 'country mile' & set times that only he can possibly beat in the next couple of decades or so!! Every so often, someone is born with a 'perfect storm' of attributes for a certain discipline. Usain Bolt is the one for this generation, as Michael Johnson was for the last generation. I just hope that 2012 brings yet more 'jaw-dropping' moments for our memories to cherish!!

  • Comment number 91.

    @ 87: that just goes to show how competing ‘for the team’ can inspire someone to even greater heights than ‘doing it for oneself’ - another interesting lesson in life.

    On the subject of ice-skating, Katarina Witt’s wonderful Michael Jackson impersonation on ice in the post-medal celebration is my strongest memory of this sport, after Torville & Dean.

  • Comment number 92.

    To BLRBrazil
    Ben Ainslie & Robert Scheidt are both supreme talents. Scheidt won in 96, Ainslie in 2000.

    Ainslie has said he moved to the Finn because it is a more technical class and he need to get up to speed with that aspect of sailing.

    As some have nominated from the Winters as well I'd like to add the name of Alberto Tomba 'La Bomba' for double gold in 98.

  • Comment number 93.

    1972 Olympics, Munich.

    Olga Korbut & the legendary basketball final between USSR & USA.

    Though of course history records the '72 Games for more sombre reasons.

    Muhammad Ali, lighting the torch at the Opening Ceremony for the 1996 Games in Atlanta, was also pretty memorable.

  • Comment number 94.

    Thorpe anchoring Australia to the 4x100m freestyle relay gold in Sydney. Denise Lewis pulling through to win in Sydney. Hoy in Athens, befor ehe had the aura he had in Beijing.Nicole Cooke in Beijing. And Pinsent et al in 2004.

    But really, did any of them stop the nation like Redgrave's 5th in Sydney?

  • Comment number 95.

    'On the subject of ice-skating, Katarina Witt.'

    Good call, the battle of the Carmens in '88 was great.

  • Comment number 96.

    Stopped the world not just a nation.....Olga Korbut 1972, biggest hype around one competitor ever!

  • Comment number 97.

    Even though it's already been mentioned... more votes the better eh? David Coleman's 1968 "gaffe" "... who care's who came third?" I think John Sherwood cared, along with the entire population of our beloved Sheffield at that. His Wife, Sheila, picked up a Silver in the Long Jump too !!! Halcyon Days - spoiled by DC.

  • Comment number 98.

    Best moments for me were:
    1. 1968 Olympics in Mexico City with Bob Beamon almost jumping out of the pit, Dick Fosbury winning with his revolutionary technique and David Hemery setting a world record in the 400H.
    2. 1972 Olympic massacre in Munich for all the wrong reasons!
    3. Daley Thompson celebrating with a somersault on the pole vault bed and whistling the national anthem!
    4. Ben Johnson!!!!!
    5. Derek Redmond and dad!
    6.Steve Redgrave and the commentary!
    7. Kelly Holmes and that beaming smile!
    8. Steve Ovett and Seb Coe rivalry!
    9. GB men's hockey gold medal
    10. Eric the Eel and Trevor the Tractor!!!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Chris Boardman in 1992 - I know I stopped what I was doing to watch that.

    All the hype about the Lotus bike masked what an outstanding individual achievement it was. Take a look at the German's bike - it's not exactly low tech, and he got lapped, in the final, of the Olympics.

  • Comment number 100.

    Derek Redmond and the American gymnast that vaulted almost one footed to win team gold, for sheer Olympian determination.

    Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt for ...WOW is that really possible, performances.


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