Every four years, the greatest winter sports athletes from around the world gather to participate in the Olympics. The Winter Olympics aren’t as old as the summer games, with the first taking place in 1924 (Chamonix, France). Despite not having a long list of Olympic Games being held in the winter, there have still been some incredible moments.
Whether it be hockey, downhill skiing or anything in between, the Winter Olympics have become a must-watch for people around the world who don’t want to miss something amazing. Let’s take a look back at the Winter Olympics throughout history and find out which five moments made the games the most memorable.
Kerrigan vs. Harding
On January 6, 1994, American figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were both fighting for a spot on the United States Olympic team in Detroit at the US Figure Skating Championships. Kerrigan was a lock to make the Olympic team, and anyway that she was knocked out of the competition would assure Harding her spot.
Shortly before competing, Kerrigan was attacked by a then-unknown assailant, and all of the fingers immediately pointed toward Harding. Harding maintained her innocence and went on to win the gold, securing her spot. Kerrigan was still selected for the team, and at the 1994 Olympics, all eyes were on the two as they competed. Harding would finish 8th overall while Kerrigan, who almost everyone was rooting for, took home the silver medal.
Crosby’s Golden Goal
Hockey means everything in Canada, and it’s seen as a disappointment when the country doesn’t win gold at the Olympics. This was especially true in 2010 as Canada played host to the winter games, with Vancouver being the chosen city. In group play, the United States and Canada were put together, and the Americans went undefeated as they topped Canada 5-3.
The two teams then met again in the gold medal game, and it was the most-watched broadcast in Canadian history. The intensity was high as there were many American fans in attendance due to proximity, as well, and the game needed overtime to decide a winner. Captain Sidney Crosby snuck in the game-winner, and the response from Canada in that moment seemed straight out of a movie.
Speaking of movies, the Crosby goal is the only one on the list that hasn’t been the focus of a feature film. Many remember the 1993 Disney film “Cool Runnings”, which was a feel-good comedy that became a staple for millennials and younger members of Generation X. In Jamaica, it obviously does not snow, so it seemed strange that the country would be able to field a bobsled team.
Jamaica did just that, though, debuting at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Millions tuned in to see the Jamaican team at work even though they were expected to finish last. The Jamaicans were able to finish 30th overall, with their best heat coming in 22nd. Overall, it was an inspiring performance and one of the best Olympic stories.
Eddie the Eagle
The Jamaican bobsled team isn’t the only underdog to not medal but still, get an entire film dedicated to their story. Michael Edwards represented Great Britain in the very same 1988 Olympics, but there was just one caveat: Great Britain hadn’t had a ski jumping competitor in 60 years, making it easy for “Eddie the Eagle” to qualify.
As many expected, Edwards finished dead last at the Olympics, but he certainly had his time in the spotlight and had a lot of fun with it. Edwards’ path to the Olympics was pretty much a loophole that he exploited for fun, and many had a great time following his story. After the 1988 games, the International Olympic Committee made it more difficult for underrepresented countries to make it to the Olympics, keeping Edwards out of the 1992 games.
The Miracle on Ice
Heading into the 1980 Winter Olympics, pretty much every expert predicted that the Soviet hockey team would coast to a gold medal with no real competition. After all, the Soviets had won the previous four Olympic gold medals and were using professional players whereas most other countries were using legitimate amateurs.
The Soviets won all five of their initial group-stage games, entering the final group that contained the United States, Sweden, and Finland. In this round-robin tournament, the team that had the most points would win. The United States was projected to lose badly to the Soviets, but pulled off the massive 4-3 upset, paving the way to the gold medal as they beat the undermanned Finland to take home the title.