Most Memorable Olympic Moments in History

7. U.S. Boycott of Games – Moscow, 1980

Although the Olympic Games tries to position itself as a friendly international event rather than a political gathering, there are always countries that have either stayed away or been purposefully excluded because of their politics.

At the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow, only 80 nations were present because a full 66 other nations, led by the United States, chose to boycott the games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. That year, the Americans held a rival event called the Liberty Bell Classic in Philadelphia.

8. Lawrence Lemieux Abandons Gold Medal to Save Competitiors – Seoul, 1988

Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux didn’t win a gold medal in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, but he went home a hero nonetheless.

During the sailing competition, he was in second place when he noticed that a nearby boat piloted by the Singaporean team had capsized, and the two sailors Joseph Chan and Siew Shaw Her were injured. He immediately went off-course and helped rescue the two sailors. Although he ended up coming in eleventh place, Lemieux was later awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin Medal for Sportsmanship.

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9. Phelps Wins Most Gold Medals Ever – Beijing, 2008

While great feats of strength, endurance, and skill are normal occurrences in Olympic competitions, it’s rare to see someone on the medal podium as much as Michael Phelps. He is officially the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals, eight of which are golds that he won at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

After his incredible success in Beijing, he started the Michael Phelps Foundation, and uses his influence to help get children involved in swimming and healthier, active lifestyles.

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