Top 10 best sporting moments of all time
Relive sport's greatest moments
From seemingly impossible victories to displays of unmatched excellence, there have been hundreds of memorable sporting moments throughout the years. We’ve picked 10 of our favourites below; what are yours?
Steve Redgrave wins his fifth gold, 2000
Steve Redgrave joined the ranks of the genuine sporting giants when he picked up his fifth consecutive rowing gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Games. After winning his first four golds, Redgrave jokingly asked anyone seeing him going near a boat again to ‘shoot’ him! But get in a boat again he did, and at the age of 38 he joined Great Britain’s coxless four in Sydney. They won gold after edging a dramatic race by 0.38 seconds to ensure Sir Steve’s status as a rowing legend.
Jesse Owens' four golds, 1936
The Nazis had carefully choreographed the 1936 Games to support their ideology of an Aryan race, but hadn’t bargained on the involvement of Jesse Owens. The American swept all before him to win four titles: the 100m, 200m, long jump, and 4 x 100m relay. In the long jump, Owens beat the German Luz Long, and after the medal presentation the pair embraced and paraded around the stadium arm-in-arm — which wasn’t exactly the showpiece that Hitler had envisaged!
Ali vs. Foreman, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, 1974
Muhammad Ali, already considered to be a great boxer, wanted at the age of 32 to regain the world heavyweight title from George Foreman, who was unbeaten in 40 fights — just three of which had gone the distance. After the first round, Ali opted to back off and took everything that the giant Foreman could throw at him — but by the sixth round Foreman was exhausted. In the eighth round, Ali counterattacked and sent in a superb right-hander, which ended the champion’s reign.
The ‘Miracle on Ice’, 1980
The USSR hockey team were hugely dominant throughout the 20th century, so when the inexperienced US side went up against them in the 1980 Winter Games, a Soviet victory seemed inevitable. Against all the odds Team USA battled through the game to take the score to 4-3 in the third period. With seconds to go on the clock, commentator Al Michaels uttered the famous line “do you believe in miracles?” as the US team held on to win the game and make history.
Rocky Marciano Retires Undefeated
Marciano, with 49 wins in as many fights (including 43 knockouts to his credit), remains the only heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire having won every fight in his professional career. He defended his title six times. Thankfully, unlike many other former champions, the ‘Brockton Blockbuster’ never made a comeback, despite seriously consider doing so in 1959 when Ingemar Johansson won the Heavyweight Championship from Floyd Patterson.
Mark Spitz's seven golds, 1972
At the 1972 Games in Munich, US swimmer Mark Spitz claimed an as then unprecedented seven gold medals in the pool — a feat later beaten by Michael Phelps' eight golds in 2008. Despite an exhausting programme of 13 races in a little over a week, Spitz kept on winning and winning, claiming titles in the 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 4 x 100m freestyle, 4 x 200m freestyle, and the 4 x 100m medley — as well as the world record in each of the events.
Liverpool clinch the European cup for the fifth time, 2005
For undeniable football theatre, no European final has ever come close to matching the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul. 3-0 up at half-time, Italian giants AC Milan were singing in the dressing room expecting victory. However, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had other plans. Urged forward by their captain, Liverpool hit back with three goals in six minutes to level matters, and finally won the match in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out. Quite simply one of the greatest comebacks there has ever been in a final.
Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile, 1954
No milestone in middle-distance running has ever been so revered as the moment when British runner Roger Bannister became the first athlete to break the magical four-minute mile mark. Despite only being able to train for just 45 minutes each day due to being a full-time medical student, history was made on 6th May 1954 when he ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. The record now stands at 3:43.13 — which was set by Hicham El Guerrouj in Rome in 1999.
John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg Wimbledon final, 1980
Few tennis rivalries have ever matched up to that between the ice-cool Swede Bjorn Borg and the brash American John McEnroe — and their 1980 Wimbledon final in particular has gone down in legend. After a gruelling opening the fourth set ended in a bitterly fought tie break, in which McEnroe saved five match points before finally winning the tie break 18-16. However, the strain eventually told on McEnroe, who went on to lose the fifth set 8-6, giving Borg his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.
Derek Redmond finishes with his father’s help, 1992
After a highly promising yet injury plagued career, Britain’s Derek Redmond finally had a chance of 400m glory when he went into the 1992 Games in Barcelona in excellent form. Despite an impressive win in the quarter-finals, tragedy struck in the semis when Redmond’s hamstring snapped halfway through the race. In one of the most touching moments in the history of the Games, Derek’s father ran onto the track and helped his son slowly battle his way to the finish, where he was met with a standing ovation from the 65,000 strong crowd.
If you've got a taste for more sporting moment then why not check out our Top 20 greatest sports quotes.