The Most Memorable Olympic Track Moments in History – Part 1

Once every four years the biggest sporting event in the world takes place, namely the Olympic Games. The Olympics attracts the best athletes in the world and throughout history some of the most memorable sporting moments have happened at Olympic Games.

The Olympics brings out the most competitive attitudes from athletes and there have been epic rivalries, controversy and awesome performances for audiences around the world to witness. The grandest of settings and the heights of expectation brings something special to both athlete and spectator alike. In this blog we focus on some of the most memorable moments that happened in the modern Olympics.

1996 – 200 Meters – Michael Johnson

The 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta formed the perfect stage for a local hero to step up to the plate and take center stage. Michael Johnson sensed the moment and thought that gaudy gold spikes would add a bit of bling to proceedings. The celebrated sprinter was given the opportunity of a lifetime to establish himself as one of the greatest runners of all time in the 200 meters final. Johnson took off like a rocket from the blocks and ran the first 100 meters in 10.12 seconds. Then turned on the afterburners to record a mind blowing 19.32 in front of a jubilant home crowd that were going absolutely bonkers.

The performance was witnessed by millions on viewers around the world, and his record was so good it stood for almost ten years. In fact, nobody ever came close to it until the amazing Usain Bolt took to the track, the picture of the gold spikes crossing the line and an ebullient Johnson shouting for joy will forever be remembered.

1984 – Marathon – Joan Benoit Samuelson

Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1984, competes in a 3,000-meter race in 2009.
MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jonathan Newton

In 1984 the Olympic Games held its first ever marathon for women and Joan Benoit Samuelson had saved one of her best ever performances for the occasion. She was up against a formidable opponent in Grete Waitz who was the Norwegian world champion at the time.

With less than a quarter of an hour into the race, Samuelson took to the front to the surprise of both the audience and the other competitors. And she spent the next two hours running by herself at the front of the pack. Those that are familiar with marathon running will know this was a herculean performance as it is one of the most difficult things to do in running.

The 1984 Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles, which made the moment even more special for the American runner and being the first ever women’s marathon winner for the coutry, her name was going to be carved in history. Put all these factors together it was hardly surprising that the noise to greet her as she entered the LA Coliseum to complete the required track circuits for gold was deafening by the standing fans.

Her victory lap that followed was amazing, many female fans were in tears as Joan Benoit Samuelson was one of the women athletes who had fought hard against prejudice to actually have the right to run in a marathon in the modern Olympics. We continue in part two of this blog with even more remarkable Olympic moments.