The most iconic moments in sports history
Most people love sports, in one form or another. Whether we enjoy the thrill of sports betting on big games with our friends, cheering for our favorite team, or we’re trying to stay healthy and active – sports bring us all together.
However, for some, sports are more than just a pastime: They’re a lifestyle and profession. Famous athletes turned their passion into a career and even made history. They inspired us to take a closer look at the most awe-inspiring sports moments in sports history and celebrate the joys of this noble endeavor once more.
Gale Sayers: One game, six touchdowns
Gale Sayers is known as one of the best running backs of all time, but the moment that made him a living legend was when he scored six touchdowns in one game. During a match between the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers in December 1965, Sayers got into the end zone four times on the ground, got one receiving touchdown, and one in return for the Bears. His run is still the record for the most touchdowns scored in a single game in NFL history.
Another iconic moment in the history of American football dates back to 1981 and the NFC Championship Game when the Dallas Cowboys were playing against those same San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys were in the lead, and there was less than a minute till the end of the match when San Francisco’s Joe Montana decided to set up “The Catch” with his team. San Francisco was an inch from a third down on the Cowboys’ six-yard line when Montana took the ball and found wide receiver Dwight Clark, who made the thrilling catch that led his team to victory.
Jackie Robinson breaking the ‘color barrier’
While it may not be a game-winning touchdown, this moment represents a more important victory. Jackie Robinson made his baseball debut more than 70 years ago, on April 15, 1947, and became the first African-American to play in the major league. His debut took place in front of more than 26 thousand people, many of which were also African-Americans, seeing themselves represented on the major league field for the first time. Robinson had the support of his team’s manager Leo Durocher – especially when some of his teammates said they would rather sit the game out than play alongside a black man.
Rocky Marciano retires undefeated
Retiring undefeated is probably every athlete’s dream. And if you’re really lucky, that dream comes true, as it did for Rocky Marciano. The legendary boxer retired after 49 straight wins and defending his heavyweight title six times. He didn’t make a comeback like many of his colleagues, even though he considered it in 1959 when Ingemar Johansson took the Heavyweight Championship title from Floyd Patterson.
Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics
Jesse Owens’ participation in the 1936 Olympics could potentially be the most important moment in sports history. Just before the beginning of World War II, in Nazi-run Germany, African-American Jesse Owens won four gold medals for the USA in three races and one jumping competition. His participation and success showed just how absurd Nazi propaganda about the superiority of the Aryan race was.
Maradona and the ‘Hand of God’
Maradona is one of soccer’s brightest stars, with good reason. But even a legend has that one moment everyone remembers, one that will be forever remembered by every sports buff out there. During the 1986 World Cup semi-finals, Diego Maradona scored two of the most famous goals in soccer history. The first one was called “Hand of God” because – you guessed it – Maradona scored it with his hand. The second one was more traditional but just as impressive, as he scored it by speeding down the field past half of England’s defenders, and then tricking its goalkeeper, before kicking the ball into the net.
The fight of the century
If you ask boxing fans about their favorite moment in boxing history, most of them will talk about the New York fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in March of 1971. The match was Ali’s symbolic comeback after his fighting ban for refusing to join the army ended. During Ali’s absence, Frazier became the undefeated heavyweight champion, just like Ali was before. The match ended after 15 grueling rounds, with Frazier winning by unanimous decision. Ali got the opportunity to set the record straight, however, as the fighters reprised their match on two more occasions – Ali won both times.
Michael Jordan’s last shot
Michael Jordan marked an era in basketball, and he retired from his team in the same grandiose manner he played. During the 1998 NBA finals, with seconds left till the end of the game, Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone and made the winning shot, securing an unexpected victory for the Chicago Bulls. This brilliant moment is the crowning glory of the Bulls’ 1990s dynasty.
Derek Redmond finishes the race with his father’s help
Derek Redmond had a highly promising career as an athlete, and he was hoping for a win when he went to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Though he was in prime condition, his hamstring snapped halfway through the semifinal race. Instead of giving up, his father ran onto the track and helped him slowly fight his way to the finish, where they were met with a standing ovation from the 65,000-strong crowd.
Story by Daniel Korolija