In the 125 years since the first edition in 1896, the best athletes in the world have measured their strength at the Olympic Games 28 times. Except for the two world wars, the Games had been held punctually every four years until the covid-19 pandemic forced them to delay those from 2020 to 2021.
Although for this reason the Tokyo Games have earned the qualification of unique, each of the previous editions has gone down in history due to singular events, results or feats. For the Spanish delegation, the best Olympics were those of Barcelona’92, where a total of 22 medals were achieved. Spain counted among its loudest triumphs with that of the national soccer team, after an exciting 3-2 victory at the Camp Nou over Poland, and with that of Fermín Cacho in the 1,500 meters. Of the Barcelona Games, the one that is considered the best lighting of the Olympic cauldron, by means of a fire arrow launched by the Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo.
But beyond Barcelona’92, we remember other memorable performances in the history of the Olympic Games:
1- Usain Bolt – 100m lisos (Londres 2012)
The Jamaican runner flew at the London Olympics with a 9.63 in the 100 sprints that came close to surpassing even his world record. It is one of his most memorable and challenging performances for the coming times.
2- Florence Griffith Joyner – 200m lisos (Seúl 1988)
This record, in addition to being Olympic, is world-wide. The North American sprinter flew in the Seoul Olympics to leave an impressive 21.34, which remains 32 years later as the best Olympic distance mark.
3- David Rudisha – 800m smooth (London 2012)
The Kenyan athlete literally ‘flew’ in the London 800, lowering the previous distance mark by one second. A marvelous display that left him the gold medal on a tray and that today, his 1: 40.91, which is also the world record, seems insurmountable.
4- Nadia Comaneci – Gymnastics (Montreal 1976)
His ’10’ in the ’76 Olympics (there were several) became the first times that someone achieved a perfect exercise in the discipline. Obviously the brand is unsurpassed but the performance of the Romanian gymnast was a revolution in the world of gymnastics.
5- Kenenisa Bekele – 10,000m sprints (Beijing 2008)
One of the most prodigious performances by one of the greatest athletes of all time. The Ethiopian posted a sensational 27: 01.17 in Beijing and so far, no one has run faster in a few games. Historical.
6 – Michael Phelps – 200m butterfly (Beijing 2008)
We put 200m butterfly but the swimmer with the most medals in the history of the games took the Olympic record in the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 200 styles, 400 styles, 4×100 and 4 x 200. A real madness only within the reach of Don Michael Phelps .
7 – Yelena Isinbáyeva – Pole Vault (Beijing 2008)
Isinbayeva jumped 5.05 in China in the best Olympic performance of her career. The Russian jumper left the mark in that edition of the Games as the icing on a tyrannical trajectory in which she dominated the discipline at will.
8 – Jamaica – 4x100m sprints (London 2012)
A dream team that smashed the Olympic and world records (36.84 s). Carter, Frater, Blake and Usain Bolt himself were in charge of carrying out the feat and marking a time that will last for years as untouchable.
9 – Bob Beamon – Long Jump (Mexico 1968)
It is the oldest Olympic record in athletics today. No one has jumped more than the American since Mexico (8.90) and it is scary to think what this man could have done with the training methods and performance enhancements that are used today. Almost 60 years have passed!
10 – United States – Basketball (London 2012)
Changing the third a bit, we return to London in what was a magical night for the history of Olympic basketball. Team USA endorsed Nigeria 156 points marking the highest score seen in any match at these tournaments. 37 points from a star Carmelo Anthony (with 10 triples!) Marked the great American victory.
Check out the full schedule for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.