There’s something about the Olympics that brings out the patriotism in all of us. With the start of the London Games just around the corner, we’re fueling the Olympic flame with a list of the most patriotic U.S. Summer Olympic moments.
Enjoy (and go Team USA)!
6. The Michael Phelps Machine Creates Summer Olympic History
In 2008, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history. As a swimmer, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals, including an eight-for-eight gold medal haul at the 2008 Beijing Games.
He’s going for seven more golds in London. We can’t wait for July 28, when Phelps takes to the water in his first event, the 400-meter Individual Relay.
5. The Dream Team Destroys
ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap labeled the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team “…the most magnificent assemblage of athletic talent ever gathered together on one roster in any sport at any time.”
Um, yeah. Check out this roster: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, “Magic” Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner.
It’s not surprising that the 1992 Dream Team rolled over their “competition” by an average score differential of 44 points. Not surprising, but still entertaining.
4. Carl Lewis Blasts Off Again…and Again…
This guy is freakishly fast, and freakishly fun to watch.
Carl Lewis is one of the most successful Olympians of all time, winning nine gold medals in a career that spanned from 1984 to 1996. He was named “Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated, broke world records for both the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints, and has held the indoor long jump record since 1984.
Stop reading this and watch Carl mow down the competition. Right now.
3. Mary Lou Retton Lands Perfect Routine (and Perfect 10)
How can a girl who stands at 4 feet 9 inches produce such an enormous grin? Making Olympic history doesn’t hurt.
Retton was the first female gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title. As the female gymnastics champion of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Retton showed the world the true potential of a 16-year-old with a dream.
2. Kerri Strug Fights Pain for Golden Glory
If you don’t get goosebumps watching this video, you may not have an ounce of patriotism in your body. In the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, tiny American gymnast Kerri Strug held all of America’s gymnastics desires in her young hands.
With the Russians hot on their heels, the Americans headed into their final event: the vault. After four shaky American vaults, disaster seemed imminent.
Enter Kerri Strug, the final American vaulter. Strug landed awkwardly on her first vault, which resulted in tendon damage and a third-degree ankle sprain.
But Strug refused to give up. She limped forward for her second vault, barreled down the runway on a sprained ankle, and landed a near-perfect vault to snatch the gold medal from the Russians.
1. Jesse Owens Defies Hitler
Adolf Hitler presumed that the 1936 Berlin Games would demonstrate Aryan supremacy to the world. Jesse Owens took matters into his own hands.
Owens crushed Hitler’s hopes for a German triumph and became an international hero in the effort. He brought home four track and field gold medals, one each in the 100-meter, the 200-meter, the long jump and as part of the 4×100-meter relay team.
Delivering a stunning blow to Nazism and rising to athletic super-stardom, all in the course of two weeks? Now that’s a true American.
What did we miss?
What are your favorite Summer Olympic moments?
Videos courtesy of the TeamUSA YouTube channel