Over the decades, the Olympic Games have inspired, shocked and awed.
In the heat of the competition, where mere milliseconds can separate the gold medalist from the runner-up, athletes are under immense pressure. Sometimes, even winning doesn’t serve as a release valve for the pent-up exhilaration.
In an unforgettable long jump in 1968, American athlete Bob Beamon couldn’t bear the tension. He destroyed the world record by more than 21 inches when he leapt a stunning 8.90 metres. Beamon was so shocked by his own achievement that he collapsed – doctors later diagnosed it as a cataplectic seizure brought on by nervous excitement. He held the world record until 1991.
The 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, was Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s moment to shine.
Her talent is still talked about today, as she was the first gymnast in Olympic history to score a perfect 10 in an event. And she was just 14 years old! She didn’t stop there – she did it seven times, with three perfect scores on the balance beam and four on the uneven bars. It landed her three gold medals that year!
Another Olympic moment was so triumphant and memorable that it was reproduced in several movies and documentaries.
American runner Jesse Owens spoiled Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s plans to use the 1936 Games in Berlin, Germany, to showcase what he considered to be the racial superiority of white Aryan athletes. Owens, an African American, won four gold medals in the track and field events, singlehandedly quashing Hitler’s schemes and becoming a cultural icon.
Which Olympic moment was your favourite? Identify all of them in today’s Crossword and let us know at email@example.com.