Saturday, July 28, 2012

Outstanding Performances from Olympics Past

Now that the Opening Ceremonies have concluded and proper protocol has been set for the 2012 Olympics, it's time to sit back and see who can join this list of the most outstanding performances in my lifetime.

Before My Time:

Jesse Owens - 4 track gold medals in ('36) while Hitler watched.
Wilma Rudolph - 3 track gold in Rome ('60). First American woman to top the podium 3 times.
Mark Spitz - 7 swimming gold in Munich ('72).  Set the bar that couldn't be touched for almost twenty years.
Nadia Comaneci - 3 gymnastics gold and 5 medals overall in Montreal '76. First perfect 10 awarded in competition for uneven parallel bar routine.

In My Lifetime

Michael Phelps - In the history of swimming, the number 8 will forever be associated with Phelps run in Beijing ('08). Though there was a little bit of luck involved, he was also damn good in crushing the field in the 4IM, 2IM, 2fl and 2fr.

Matt Biondi - First swimmer in my lifetime to make a serious run at "The Spitz". Brought home 5 gold medals from Seoul ('88) and was a bad touch away from a 6th in the 100fl.

Vitaly Scherbo - Bealrusian gymnast took home 6 gold from Barcelona ('92) out of the eight events he competed in.

Natalie Coughlin - 6 medal haul in Beijing ('08) was the biggest ever for an American woman. She took gold in the backstroke, but also medaled in the free and IM.

Mary Lou Retton - In ('84) she was the 1st American gymnast I ever saw win the all-around. A feat also accomplished by Nastia Liukin in Beijing, but Mary Lou did it first and her coach, Bela Karolyi puts her over the top.

Carl Lewis - 4 Gold in ('84). So versatile. 100/200, and probably best technician ever in the LJ. Had the event locked down from 84-96.

Janet Evans - Queen of American distance swimming. Took 3 gold in Seoul ('88) and the look on her face after smashing the WR in the 400fr is a lasting mental image.

Greg Louganis - Double gold in springboard and platform in Los Angeles ('84) and Seoul ('88). The Seoul performance after being concussed on springboard is unforgettable.

Michael Johnson - Gold shoes in Atlanta in '96 and he came through with WR in both the 200 and 400, my all-time favorite track events.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee - JJK not only won the multi-event heptathlon in Barcelona '92, but also the long jump. She still holds the WR in the heptathlon.

All asterisk performances - Performances derailed by positive drug tests
Ben Johnson - Seoul '88
Marion Jones - Sydney '00

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