From team spirit to individual glory, the Olympics has provided a platform for some incredible stories over the years. There have been plucky losers and record breakers – all aiming to be ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ as the Olympic motto famously states.
Now we are asking you to VOTE for your favourite moment of all time below, where you can also watch and read about their achievements.
OWENS WINS FOUR GOLDS (1936, Berlin)
Its 80 years since Jesse Owens became a sporting legend after winning four gold medals at the controversial 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
The Olympics took place pre-World War II under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler, who wanted to use the games as a chance to prove that his Aryan race were unstoppable.
Over a six day period, Jones recorded some of the most glittering displays on the track, clinching medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres, 4 x 100 metre relay and long jump.
COMANECI’S PERFECT 10 (1976, Montreal)
At just 14, Nadine Comaneci became the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at an Olympic games.
The Romanian dazzled under the bright lights of Montreal to become the youngest ever Olympic gold medalist.
THE DREAM TEAM DAZZLES (1992, Barcelona)
Classy on and off the court, The US men’s basketball team beat their eight opponents at Barcelona 1992 by an average of 44 points.
With Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson pulling the strings, their opponents didn’t have a chance against the greatest team in Olympic basketball history.
MUHAMMAD ALI LIGHTS THE CAULDRON (1996, Atlanta)
Muhammad Ali’s surprise appearance to light the torch at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics opening ceremony created one of the most emotional moments in Olympic history.
One of the most powerful sporting figures of all time, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984 and passed away earlier this year.
PHELPS TAKES EIGHT GOLDS (2008, Beijing)
Perhaps the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps won a historic eight gold medals at Beijing 2008.
The American was utterly dominant in the pool, eclipsing Mark Spitz’s previous record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics.
LIGHTNING BOLT BREAKS RECORDS (2008, Beijing)
The Jamaican set new world records in the 100 and 200m races at Beijing 2008.
Bolt clocked a time of 9.69, breaking his previous 9.72 mark set in May 2008 in New York.
Four days later in the 200 metres, Bolt powered to victory with a time of 19.30, eclipsing Michael Johnson’s 12 year record of 19.32.
It’s not every day you hear of athletes who regularly compete at the highest level in two different sports but Nasser Al Attiyah has shown anything is possible.
The Qatari boasts an impressive CV of motorsport feats including 11 Middle East Rally Championships and two Dakar Rally titles but it’s his men’s skeet Olympic bronze medal from the 2012 Games in London which has a special place in his heart.
It’s easy to see why. The 45-year-old suffered 16 years of disappointment since Atlanta 1996 but on his fifth attempt, he held his nerve to defeat Russia’s Valeriy Shomin in the third/fourth place play-off.
“Yes of course the Olympic bronze is the best,” Al Attiyah told Sport360 ahead of his departure to Brazil.
“This is definitely the best achievement for me out of all the titles that I’ve won. To win bronze in the Olympic Games is not easy and not many people can do it.”
Four years on from that historic moment, Al Attiyah will again swap the wheel for the shotgun when the Skeet category gets under way on August 12. But this time, he has set his sights even higher in Rio.
“The dream is to win the first gold for my country,” he said. “I just want to be competitive and I know it will not be easy. All the best shooters will be there and you have to be at your best but I will certainly give it my best shot.”
While his rivals have had the advantage of solely focusing on the showpiece event, Al Attiyah has had to combine his rallying and shooting duties.
Since the start of the Olympic year, the Qatari has competed in the Dakar Rally, the on-going Middle East Rally Championship and FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. And as the Games edged closer, Al Attiyah showed no signs of stepping off the gas by claiming back-to-back victories in the Italia Baja and Baja Aragon respectively within the last five weeks.
Although, he undertook a training camp in Italy in June, he insists the rallying experience will make him even stronger in Brazil.
“In terms of physical and mentality, it has helped me a lot. It helps you remain focused at all times, while it can also give you a lot of confidence,” he said.
“Just because I was rallying before the Olympics, doesn’t mean it will have an effect. It’s good for my mind to stay refreshed. I have already spent a month in Italy preparing for the Games and I feel I’m in the right frame.”
He will be among a number of athletes from the Middle East and although he will be representing Qatar, he hopes the rest of the reg-ion can showcase their potential.
“It’s important that we go out there and do the Arab countries proud,” he said. “It’s the Olympic Games and I hope we can have a strong showing. I want to show anything is possible and inspire the next generation that they can also compete in the Olympic Games.”
Betlhem Desalegn Belayneh is hoping a hamstring injury she aggravated last month will not dash her hopes of competing in a second Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old four-time Asian Championships gold medallist pulled her hamstring after winning a race in Heusden, Belgium and is a doubt for the 1,500m in Rio this month.
“I was injured, same place as last year but I’m fighting back to do better,” Belayneh told Sport360 ahead of the Games. “I am not 100 per cent but I am doing good.”
Belayneh was 12th in her heat in the 1,500m at London 2012, clocking 4:14.07. Since then, she has won four Asian gold medals and has improved her PB to 4:03.70.
“Since London, a lot of things have changed and I have gained more experience,” she says.
“I ran a PB in Bejing in May and I was so happy. I felt that I could have done even better after that, but most of my races since then have been more tactical so I was running more like 4:06, 4:05. But surely I feel that I belong with the best in the world when I’m running times like that.
“I am trying to manage my injury, and make sure I go to Rio feeling confident and ready.”
Belayneh has been training alongside a group of elite athletes, including Genzebe Dibaba, under coach Jama Aden, who was arrested in Barcelona with EPO allegedly found in his hotel room. Has that disrupted her training ahead of the Games?
“I still train with Jama Aden. He got arrested but only for one day, so nothing has changed here,” she says.