It’s time to take a walk in the Olympic Games‘the way of memory.
Thursdays “The popular sport podcast, co-hosts Charlotte wilder and Marc Titus broke down the top five moments in Olympic Games history that they have witnessed live over the past 20 years.
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While there are countless moments to choose from, Wilder’s favorites take shape in the performances of Team America’s strongest female athletes and a scorching meme-turned rivalry that will live on forever.
1. USWNT-China football game for gold medal (Atlanta Games 1996)
The USWNT beat China 2-1 on their Olympic debut to claim the first gold in front of 76,000 fans, thanks to stars Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly, among others.
Wilder recalled watching the players in confusion as the team took the center of the podium as it was the first time they had seen the Olympic stage.
2. Olympic debut of Simone Biles (Rio Games 2016)
American gymnastics star Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in the history of the sport, has performed breathtakingly for years, and the first time Wilder sees her on the competition field has made an impact.
“The first time I saw Simone Biles’ floor routine,” said Wilder, “I’ll never forget that.”
3. Lindsey Vonn’s superb comeback victory (Vancouver 2010 Games)
Returning from a shin injury, Lindsey Vonn, the best female alpine skier in American history, won the gold medal in downhill against longtime rival Julia Mancuso at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Vonn became the first American woman to win gold in this event with a time of 1 minute, 44.19 seconds – more than half a second faster than her competitors. Vonn combined with Mancuso to give the United States their first double in an Olympic alpine skiing event since 1984. She also won the bronze medal in the super-G.
4. Katie Ledecky’s resounding victory in the 400m freestyle (Rio 2016 Games)
Ledecky, then 19, was able to celebrate her gold medal and world record performance before anyone finished the race at the Rio Games, as she broke her own two-second record and beat the medalist ‘money of nearly five seconds.
“I think I was jumping up and down on my couch,” Wilder said as he watched the American swim sensation so far in front of everyone.
5. Michael Phelps’ look at Chad le Clos (Rio 2016 Games)
Remember the beef between Phelps and Le Clos before their revenge in the 200m butterfly in Rio which resulted in the ‘face of Phelps’ seen around the world? Wilder does of course.
The former South African star stunned the world by beating Phelps by 0.05 seconds in the event at the London 2012 Games, winning gold and delivering Phelps a shocking silver medal. Their rivalry intensified over the years and the two faced each other again in 2016. Ahead of the semi-final, Le Clos was seen dancing in front of Phelps and staring at him on the starting blocks. Phelps’ response?
And, of course, he won gold and regained his title.
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On the other hand, Titus’ best memories consist of record times and the dunk of a lifetime.
1. John Schuster takes gold in American curling (PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games)
Titus’ best moment was none other than “the greatest redemption story in sports history” when the United States beat Sweden 10-7 in curling.
After dragging his name through the mud due to his failures in his sport, Schuster, with a double outing against Sweden, scored five points for the United States to secure the gold medal.
Titus told us his secret of the Winter Olympics: that he “really loves curling”. He looks at every sport like a background noise, but he will watch and pay attention every second of a curling match – even if that means setting his alarm clock for 3 a.m.
“I gave everything for the boys, and they gave me everything back,” he said.
2. Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay between France and the USA (Beijing 2008 Games)
Calling it “a moment that I will never forget,” Titus told us about the “swimming pursuit” that took place in the pool at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Jason Lezak, the oldest man on the U.S. swim team in Beijing, has succeeded one of the great comebacks in Olympic history, hitting the wall just in front of Alain Bernard in the 400m freestyle relay. Bernard, who previously held the world record in the 4x100m freestyle, got his money’s worth.
As Titus knew by heart, Lezak got off and came back in 46.06 seconds to register the fastest stint in history.
3. Kerri Strugg rams the chest on a peg bum (Atlanta Games 1996)
Titus told us that “this was perhaps the most iconic Summer Olympics moment in US history.”
Despite being a hot topic, Titus doesn’t want to shy away from his favorite team, the Magnificent Seven.
Competing after injuring her ankle on her first jump, Strugg clinched gold for the Magnificent Seven in the team event, scoring the Americans’ first gold medal in this event in Olympic history. Her performance made her one of the most famous athletes of these Games as she landed her second jump before collapsing in pain.
4. Vince Carter diving on the French guy (Sydney 2000 Games)
The French guy? That would be the 7-foot-2 center Frédéric Weis.
At the Sydney Games in 2000, Carter slammed what was arguably the most famous dunk of his career. Carter climbed over 7 feet in the United States’ final preliminary round game against France, and the French media dubbed the slam “the dunk of death”, which translates to the dunk of death.
The United States won gold, and Carter’s aerial stunt became an all-time dunk in basketball history.
5. Usain Bolt’s 100m final race (Rio 2016 Games)
Jamaican Usain Bolt became the first athlete to win three Olympic 100m titles beating American Justin Gatlin for gold at Rio 2016. At 29, Bolt ran 9.81 seconds in his last Olympics to replicate his success in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
“It was the most dangling thing,” said Titus, describing the moment Bolt brushed the track with his hand, crossing the finish line.
Check out the full episode below:
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