Sports have given us several glimpses of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. When we witness something epic, chances are it will be highly talked about for the next few days and remembered for the rest of our lives. Those involved in legendary sporting moments are still remembered up to now. Here is a list of the top 10 most memorable moments in sports.
10. The Drive, Elway Breaks Cleveland’s Heart, 1987
With just over five minutes left and carrying a one-touchdown lead, the Cleveland Browns had the Denver Broncos pinned to its own two-yard line. John Elway calmly led his team across the field, tying the game with only 37 seconds left. The game went into overtime where the Broncos won, 23-20. The following year, Cleveland’s heart broke again against the Broncos in “The Fumble.” And the year after, Jordan made “The Shot” (see number two).
9. Integrated South Africa, Springboks Win the World Cup, 1995
With the apartheid system finally overturn and Nelson Mandela serving as its President, the country’s rugby team called the Springboks inspired the nation by beating the feared New Zealand team of Jonah Lomu, 15-12. The game was close and tight before it was finally decided by a Joel Stransky drop goal with seven minutes left in extra time.
8. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool’s Comeback Win, 2005
Down three goals at the half against AC Milan in the finals of the Champion’s League, Liverpool was already given up for dead. Inspired by their captain Steven Gerrard, the Reds tied up the game with three goals in quick succession in the second half. After Jerzy Dudek denied Andriy Schevchenko’s point blank range in overtime, he completed his heroics by being huge during the penalty shootout.
7. Bolt of Speed, Usain Bolt’s 100-Meter Dash, 2008
He was already the world record holder in the 100-meter dash. Going into the finals of the event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt had been running consistently below 9.9 seconds. He won the gold with a time of 9.69 seconds, made even more remarkable by the fact that he slowed down towards the end to celebrate while slapping his chest. His shoes were also untied. Experts say he could have run in the low 9.5’s had he run full-blast until the end.
6. Hand of God and Feet of Diego, Argentina beats England, 1986
With the Falkland Wars still fresh in their minds, Diego Maradona scored two of the most memorable goals in football history. He used his hand to score in the 51st minute, then zigzagged his way around six English players to score again in the 54th. Argentina won this quarterfinal matchup, eventually winning the World Cup.
5. Perfect Blot, Giants upset the Patriots in the Super Bowl, 2008
The New England Patriots entered Super Bowl XLII as an almost two-touchdown favorite against the New York Giants. After all, the Pats hadn’t lost a game the whole season while the Giants got into the playoffs through a wildcard. With just two minutes left, four points down and still deep in its own territory, Eli Manning engineered a memorable drive highlighted by a one-handed catch by David Tyree using his helmet to help catch the pigskin. The Giants went on to win and blot an otherwise perfect Pats’ season.
4. Homerun Chase, McGwire-Sosa, 1998
Baseball had taken a beating as a result of a player’s strike in 1994. It got re-energized in 1998 when two players chased the homerun record of 61 by Roger Maris that was achieved in 1961. Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs captured the nation’s imagination the entire season. Both broke Maris’ record, with McGwire winning out by belting 70 homers against Sosa’s 66. Neither is in the Hall of Fame, however, due to their use of steroids.
3. Rumble in the Jungle, Ali knocks out Foreman, 1974
George Foreman was the meanest boxer in town. He had been knocking out his opponents with ease, including the great Joe Frazier who had already beaten Muhammad Ali. The unbeaten Foreman staked his heavyweight title against Ali in 1974 in Zaire. Billed as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Ali withstood Foreman’s best punches, even asking for more in what came to be known as the rope-a-dope. With Foreman tiring out, Ali unleashed a series of punches that knocked Foreman out in the eighth round.
2. The Shot, Michael Jordan sinks the Cavs, 1989
The Cleveland Cavaliers had the third best record in the Eastern Conference, finishing 10 games above Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. The Cavs also won all four games between the two clubs during the regular season. The two battled in the first round of the 1989 playoffs. With the series tied at 2-all, a winner-take-all showdown took place in Cleveland. The Cavs had just taken a one-point lead with just three seconds left. After a Bulls’ timeout, the ball was inbounded to Jordan who shook off the defense of Craig Ehlo to score the winning shot as time expired. The collective Cleveland sporting heart was broken yet again.
1. Miracle on Ice, U.S.-Soviet Union Ice Hockey, 1980
Until 1988, only amateur players were allowed to play in the Olympic Games. This put the ice hockey teams of the United States and Canada at a disadvantage as the players of the Soviet Union were all professional except by name. The Soviet teams were so powerful that they had matched up more than favorably when they battled all-star teams from the NHL. In 1980, the U.S. entered a ragtag bunch of young college players in the Olympics in Lake Placid. Coached by Herb Brooks, the team got plastered by the Soviets in an exhibition a few days before the Games. But they held together and the two teams met again in the penultimate game of the medal round. The Americans upset the Soviets, 4-3, sparking wild celebrations on the ice and the rest of the country. Unknown to many Americans, the game was broadcasted on a delayed telecast. The team then won the gold after beating Finland in its last game.