July 4th is, not arguably, the greatest holiday in the the history of the United States; and it just so happens to celebrate the history of the United States. The 4th of July is a holiday that encourages heavy drinking, grilling, and blowing things up in a colorful fashion to the pleasure of multiple bystanders to celebrate the founding of this great nation… Other than these great sporting moments in U.S. History, what could be better?
In honor of this great country’s great holiday and the 2016 Olympic Games set for August, let’s take a look at some of the great moments in U.S. Sports History that will make you instantly proud to be an American Sport Fan:
*These moments are not in any particular order.
Abby Wambach Sends 2011’s World Cup Quarterfinal Match into a Shootout
Skip to :40 to watch the play unfold.
After 90 minutes of regulation and an additional 30 minutes of overtime, Abby Wambach sent the United States into a social media frenzy after scoring an incredible equalizing goal against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup. Although the United States would go on to lose to Japan in the finals, “The Goal Heard Round the World” will not soon be forgotten.
The 1992 Dream Team
Considered the greatest sports team to ever be assembled, the 1992 Olympic Men’s Basketball team was the first to feature active NBA players and took the world by storm. The team paved its way to Gold beating their opponents by an average of 44 points. The team featured players to the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Karl Malone to name a few. Here is a short highlight tape.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos Salute African American Power
The 1960’s were a very important era in American History. In October of 1968, just 6 months after Martin Luther King J.R.’s death, Olympic Athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised a single gloved-hand into the sky during their podium moment while the Star Spangled Banner played. The move was described as a “human rights salute”, rather than a salute to black power by Tommie Smith in his autobiography “Silent Gesture“.
The Miracle on Ice
The 1980 Winter Olympics is home to one of, if not the most, patriotic moment in United States history. The United States Men’s Olympic Hockey team took the Soviet Union by a surprise score of 4-3. Considered to be the hockey equivalent of David v.s. Goliath, a team consisting of college-aged players took down a country that had not missed the Gold Medal game in 20 years. To top it off, the U.S. team took Gold defeating Finland 4-2 in the finals match. Here is Al Michael’s Famous “Do you believe in miracles? YES!” call from that history day.
Michael Phelps Captures 8 Gold Medals in 2008
In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps had the entire United States glued to their TV to watch him glide up and down a pool. The record coming into the Olympics was seven golds set by Mark Spit’s in 1972. Competing in just 8 events, Phelps captured gold in all of them just four years after collecting another six golds in the 2004 Athens Games.
1999 Women’s World Cup win in the United States
In 1999, the United States Women’s Soccer team turned Los Angeles into one big party after defeating China in a Penalty Shootout to clinch Gold. The win sparked a large number of female athletes to choose soccer at a young age in order to follow in that team’s footsteps. The famous picture of Brandi Chastain after her penalty shot to win the match immortalized the only team to win the World Cup on its own soil.
USA Men’s Basketball Refuses Silver Medal
The 1972 Olympic Basketball games did not come without controversy as the U.S. faced the Soviet Union in the Gold medal game. The United States reached a one-point lead with three seconds left and had all but captured the victory. After a free throw, the Soviets inbounded the ball and called timeout – although international rules prohibited timeouts after a free throw. The Timeout was granted after debate with the general of the International Amateur Basketball Federation and the Soviets went on to score the winning basket, winning 51-50. Team USA’s protest was not being heard, so they did not accept their silver medals on the podium.
Here is a good, short, video, although the subtext is not English, depicting the events.
Kerri Strug Battles Injury, Clinches Gold for the United States
In the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia, Kerri Strug severely injurder her ankle on a botched vault attempt in the finals; the injury prevented her from standing, let alone participate in any physical activity. Needing just one more successful jump to clinch Gold for her team, Strug found the will and strength to post a nearly-perfect 9.712 from the judges, securing Gold.
Here is a brief documentary on Kerri Strug’s 1996 performance.
Jessie Owens Wins Berlin Games
Jesse Owens, an African-American Track & Field Olympian, took Adolf Hitler’s modified Berlin Games with a grain of salt, and breezed through them. In 1936, Adolf Hitler himself designed the games to showcase the dominance of the Aryan race; but Owens shattered that. To make it sweeter, Hitler viewed Africans as inferior to Germans making Germany believers that the Germans would win the Berlin Games easily. Owens recorded 4 Gold Medals in that year’s Olympic games.