Remarkable performance of athletes in different Olympiads.
Olympic Games is a quadrennial sports events that originated in Greece. Modern Olympic Games which started in 1896 in Athens, Greece is subdivided into summer and winter sporting events which are held every four years. Until 1992, they were both held in the same year. Since then, they have been separated by a two year gap.
Each Olympiad is highlighted by the outstanding performance of an athlete in a certain event. Here’s a list of outstanding athletes from each Olympic Games from 1896 to 2004.
In the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens, Greece, swimmer Michael Phelps of the United States won 8 Olympic medals: a gold medal each in -100 meter butterfly, 200 meter butterfly, 200 meter individual medley, 400 meter individual medley, 4×200 meter freestyle relay, and 4×100 meter medley relay; and 2 bronze medals; one each in 200 meter freestyle and 4×100 meter freestyle relay.
Nicknamed the “”Thorpedo” Ian Thorpe won 3 gold medals in swimming during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He won 5 gold Olympic medals all in all (3 in Sydney Olympics and 2 in Athens), the most won by an Australian.
Amy Van Dyken
Amy Van Dyken won 4 gold medals in swimming at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics making her the first American woman to win 4 gold medals in one Olympic game.
At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Biondi became only the second swimmer (after American Mark Spitz at the 1972 games in Munich, West Germany) to earn seven medals in one Olympiad. He won five gold medals, including victories in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle races, in addition to one silver medal and one bronze medal.
Carl Lewis won 5 Olympic medals in the LA Olympiad of 1984; 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal in the track and field event. He won 10 Olympic medals including 9 golds, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold, in a career that spanned from 1979 when he first achieved a world ranking to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired.
Eric Heiden of the United States of America won gold medals in all 5 men’s speed skating events, setting records in each in the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York, USA.
Nadia Elena Comaneci is a Romanian gymnast who was winner of five Olympic gold medals during the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world and, along with Olga Korbut, is credited with popularizing the sport around the world.
Mark Spitz, American swimmer was winner of seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany. At the 1972 games he won gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle races and the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly races, setting a world record in each race. He was also a member of the winning 4×100-meter freestyle, 4×200-meter freestyle, and 4×100-meter medley relay teams, each of which set a world record.
The outstanding event in the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games was African American Bob Beamon’s long jump of 29 ft, 2 ½ in (8.9 m), setting a world record that stood until 1991.
Wilma Rudolph became the first US woman to win 3 gold medals in track and fields. The powerful sprinter emerged from the 1960 Rome Olympics as “The Tennessee Tornado,” the fastest woman on earth
Larissa Semyonovna Latynina was a Soviet gymnast who won 4 gold medals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympiad. She was the first female athlete to won nine Olympic gold medals. She still holds the record for being awarded the most Olympic medals at 18 (nine gold medals, five silver and four bronze).
The most remarkable performance during the 1952 Helsinki Olympics was that of Emil Zapotec of Czechoslovakia who won 5,000 meter run, 10,000 meter run and marathon all in record times. He is regarded as one of the greatest runners of the 20th Century.
The most outstanding athlete in the 1948 London Olympics was Fanny Bankers-Koen of the Netherlands, who won 4 gold medals in track and fields events. She accomplished this as a mother of two, during a time when many disregarded women’s athletics. Her background and performances earned her the nickname “the Flying Housewife.”
He won 4 gold medals and was the hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. He achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team.
The outstanding performer of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics was the US athlete Mildred “Babe” Didrikson; she won 2 gold medals and a silver medal in track and field competition. She was named by the Guinness Book of Records, along with Lottie Dod, as the most versatile female athlete of all time. She achieved outstanding success in golf, basketball and track and field.
In the Winter Olympics of 1928, Sonja Henie of Norway won the first of her 3 successive championships in Olympic figure skating. Henie won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies figure skater. She later entered show business, and at the height of her acting career she was one of the highest paid movie stars in Hollywood.
Paavo Nurmi and Johnny Weissmuller
In the 1924 Paris Olympics, Paavo Nurmi of Finland, won 4 medals in the track and fields events and Johnny Weissmuller, a US swimmer won 3. Nurmi won a total of 12 medals in 3 successive Olympics (1920, 1924 and 1928), 9 gold medals and 3 silver medals. On the other hand, after the swimming career of Weissmuller, he became the sixth actor to portray Tarzan in films, a role he played in twelve motion pictures. Dozens of other actors have also played Tarzan, but Weissmuller is by far the best known. His character’s distinctive, ululating Tarzan yell is still often used in films.
The most impressive performance in the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games was by Finland with victories by Paavo Nurmi and his team mates in the long-distance running races.
Jim Thorpe was the Star of the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games. He won both the pentathlon and the decathlon. His medals were later taken from him, however, because he had previously participated in a semi-professional sport. The decision to disqualify him was reversed in 1992, nearly 30 years after his death. He is considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports. He also played American football and professional baseball and basketball.
Raymond Ewry, an American athlete won 3 gold medals in the 1900 Paris Olympics, 3 gold medals in the 1904 St. Louis Olympics and 2 gold medals in the 1908 London Olympics in the track and field events. He had won a total of 8 medals, 3 in standing high jump, 3 in standing long jump, and 2 in standing triple jump.
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Beijing, China. Watch out who will emerge as the outstanding athlete on this Olympiad.