The Most Memorable Olympic Moments... 1 Retton vaults to fame Sixteen-year-old gymnast Mary Lou Retton entered the 1984 Olympics with no major international experience. She became the first American, woman or man, to win the all-around after earning perfect 10s for the floor exercise and vault. 2 Ali and the flame Muhammad Ali, trembling from Parkinsons disease, lit the cauldron to open the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Ali received a gold medal to replace the one he tossed into a river after being refused service at a whites- only restaurant. 3 Gritty Strug takes one for team In the 1996 womens gymnastics team competition, little-known Kerri Strug injured her left ankle on her first vault but gamely attempted a second and stuck the landing to ensure the U.S. women got their first team gold. 4 Icebreaker for Jansen Speedskater Dan Jansen won the 1,000-meter race in 1994, ending a 10-year Olympic medal drought lowlighted by two falls at the 1988 Olympics while mourning the death of his sister. He took a victory lap holding his infant daughter. 5 Tonya vs. Nancy drama Nancy Kerrigan rebounded from the knee whacking heard round the world to win the 1994 Olympic silver. Tonya Harding, whose ex-husband masterminded the attack, stopped her long program to cry about a boot lace. 6 Johnson blazes to 200-400 double Michael Johnson broke his own world record in the 200 meters by .34 seconds in 1996 en route to becoming the first man to win the 200 and 400 at the same games. Johnson blazed through the last 100 in 9.20 seconds to finish in 19.32.7 Lewis runs alongside Owens
Carl Lewis ran an 8.94-second anchor leg to lead the U.S. men to victory in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay in 1984, winning his fourth gold medal of those games to match Jesse Owens total from 1936. 8 Gardner turns Greco-Roman world upside down Rulon Gardner, a Wyoming dairy farmers son competing in only his second major international tournament, upset three-time Olympic champion Aleksandr Karelin in the 2000 super-heavyweight Greco- Roman wrestling competition. It was the RussianÕs first defeat in 13 years. 9 Louganis takes a hit, dives back in On his ninth dive of the 1988 preliminary round for springboard, Greg Louganis hit his head on the board and fell into the water. He got temporary stitches before completing his 10th dive, which earned the highest score awarded in the preliminaries. The next day he won gold.10 Dream Team dominantThe original Dream Team, with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as captains and other NBA superstars such as Michael Jordan and David Robinsonon the 1992 roster, was perhaps the greatest assembly of talent ever. They dominated as expected, beating Croatia 117-85 in the gold-medalgame.11 Steroids catch up with JohnsonThree days after Canadian Ben Johnson won the 100 meters in 1988 in 9.79 seconds, the International Olympic Committee announced he hadtested positive for steroids. Johnson was the first big-name athlete to be caught. The gold went to Carl Lewis. 12 Torvill and Dean heat up ice Britains Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean earned 6.0s in 12 of their 18 marks for their free-dance interpretation of "Bolero" in 1984. They received unanimous perfect scores for artistic impression and were the first non-Soviet or Russians to win ice dancing gold. 13 Flag day for Freeman Cathy Freeman, an Australian with Aboriginal heritage who days earlier lit the cauldron to open the 2000 Sydney Olympics, won the 400 meters under a searing spotlight. She took a victory lap carrying the Australian and Aboriginal flags,14 Blair skates into historySpeedskater Bonnie Blair defended her Olympic title at 1,000 meters in 1994, winning by the largest margin in event history (1.38 seconds) andbecoming the first U.S. female Olympian, winter or summer, to win five gold medals. She also was the first American to win six Winter Olympicmedals.15 Hughes in a stunner In fourth after the short program at the 2002 Olympics, 16-year-old Sarah Hughes upset favorites Michelle Kwan and Irina Slutskaya with a technically superior long program. 16 Phelps rules pool
Michael Phelps out-touched U.S. rival Ian Crocker in the 100-meter butterfly for the closest finish of his six gold-medal races at the 2004Olympics. The tally was one short of Mark Spitzs seven golds at the 72 Games, but Phelps eight medals overall were the most by any athlete ata non-boycotted Games.17 Bombing rocks AtlantaIn the early-morning hours of July 27, 1996, a pipe bomb exploded in the midst of a public Olympic celebration at Atlantas Centennial Park, killingtwo people and injuring 111. Nine years later, anti- abortion extremist Eric Rudolph was sentenced to four life terms for that and two otherbombings.18 Maiers crash courseAustrian skier Hermann Maier lost control on the 1998 downhill course and somersaulted through two safety nets and over a small cliff. Hewalked away from the crash and, three days later, won gold in the super G. Three days after that, he won another gold medal in the giant slalom.19 Judges caught in skating scandalCanadian pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who finished second to Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze in the 2002final, were awarded a second set of gold medals after allegations of corrupt judging arose. The scandal led to the end of the 6.0 scoring system. 20 Dad there in sons time of need Britains Derek Redmond, forced by injury to withdraw from the 1988 Games, tore his right hamstring while running in the 400-meter semifinal in 1992 and began hobbling on one leg down his lane. His father ran down from the stands to help his son to the finish line.21 FloJo fastest in SeoulFlorence Griffith Joyner, a 200-meter specialist, previewed her Olympic surprise at the 1988 Olympic trials, running a world-record 10.49 secondsin the 100. Weeks later, she won 100 gold at the Seoul Games. She also won gold in the 200 and the 4x100 relay. 22 Deckers dream takes a tumble The USAs Mary Decker and Britians Zola Budd collided in the 1984 final of the 3,000 meters, leaving pre-race favorite Decker with a pulled hip muscle, unable to get up and finish the race. Budd finished seventh. Debate ensued over whether Budd had cut inside without establishing a clear lead.23 Johnson king of the downhillBill Johnson, with just one World Cup victory on his resume, brashly predicted the 1984 victory that made him the first U.S. man to win anOlympic downhill medal. He never won another world or Olympic medal. A crash during a 2001 comeback attempt left him with permanent braindamage. 24 Jones aims for five, gets three Marion Jones arrived at the 2000 Olympics aiming for five gold medals. Her first came in the 100 meters, a distance she had ruled for three years. She would get two others, in the 200 and 4x400 relay, in the midst of news that her husband, shot-putter C.J. Hunter, had tested positive for steroids.
25 Last-place Eagle flies in face of laughsMichael "Eddie the Eagle" Edwards, the best and only ski jumper Britain had to offer, finished last in both individual events at the 1988 Olympics,scoring less than half the points of any other competitor on the 70-meter jump. A plasterer by trade, he turned ignominy into fame through self-deprecation.