The Olympic Games have always been all about pushing the limits of what is deemed humanly possible. The rawest of human emotions are on display at the Games, along with the most spectacular of sporting talents. Yet the Olympics stand for something much greater than the sum of the two.
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila ran the marathon barefoot and clinched gold in Rome 1960. guardian
On World Photography Day, we browse through the pages of history to bring out some of the most poignant, touching, and powerful Olympic moments of all times, captured by lensmen as courageous as the sportspeople themselves:
1. The Perfect 10 (Montreal 1976)
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first gymnast in history to achieve a perfect 10 score. The scoreboard was not designed to display a perfect score and hence read 01.00.
2. Black Power Salute (Mexico City 1968)
US Gold and Bronze winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists as the American national anthem played, in demonstration against the racial segregation then prevalent in the United States. Silver winner Australian Peter Norman also wore a Human Rights badge in support.
3. Another Salute (Berlin 1936)
African-American legend Jesse Owens pummeled Adolf Hitler’s notions of “Aryan” superiority into the dust by winning four gold medals. In an ultimate show of strength, the US athlete refused to extend the Nazi salute on the winners’ podium after the long jump.
4. The Amazons (London 1908)
Women competed at the archery event, and the British Queenie Newall, at 53 years became the oldest woman to bag an Olympic gold, a record unclaimed to this date.
5. The Run To Solidarity (Barcelona 1992)
South African Elana Meyer (right) left competitors in the 10,000 m women’s final behind by a gaping margin before Ethiopian Derartu Tutu (left) caught up, trailed her for eight laps before overtaking her to the first spot. South Africa had thitherto been banned from the Olympics for practising apartheid. In this memorable race, Derartu and Elana ran the victory lap hand in and, sending out a strong message of unity.
6. The Darkest of Times (Munich 1972)
Israeli athletes were kidnapped by Arab guerillas at these games. Two athletes were killed, and nine more taken hostage in retaliation to the capture of Arab terrorists in Israeli prisons. The nine hostages, five terrorists and one policeman were killed in a gun battle. Two days and a memorial service later, the Games were resumed.
7. Under the Same Banner (Sydney 2000)
Where one rivalry took an ugly turn, another was buried, if only for a while. North and South Korea marched in the Parade of Nations under the same flag, wearing the same uniform, conveying the willingness for peaceful dialogue and cooperation.
8. Together across Worlds (Beijing 2008)
Austrian-German weightlifter Matthias Steiner struggled through his wife’s death in a car accident months before the Olympics, and the consequent deterioration in health, to win Gold in the +105 kg event.
9. The Bolt To Glory (Beijing 2008)
Jamaican Usain Bolt became the fastest human electronically timed, sweeping over 100 m in 9.69 seconds.
10. Touched by Gold (London 2012)
After a crushing defeat at the hands of Roger Federer at Wimbledon just three weeks before, Andy Murray resurfaced and beat his formidable Swiss rival, becoming the first British man since 1908 to bag an Olympic singles gold.