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During the Los Angeles Games in 1984, Carl Lewis tied Jesse Owens’ record, winning four gold metals in track and field. Lewis put it all together to dominate the competition – taking the gold in the long jump, 100, 200, and 4×100-meter relay. Like the great Jesse Owens before him, the man could not be beat. Lewis eventually won gold medals at four consecutive Olympics in the long jump to add to his remarkable list of Olympic achievements, but it was the ’84 games that showcased his track and field supremacy.
Prior to Beamon’s spectacular jump in the 1968 Mexico City games, the long jump record was 27 feet, 4 3/4 inches. Beamon not only topped that mark, he soared right through it by launching himself 29 feet, 2 1/2 inches, breaking the record by 21 3/4 inches. It took 23 years before someone was finally able to top that distance.
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci made a name for herself in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal Canada when she became the first female gymnast to score a perfect 10. Ever. Comaneci would go on to receive six more perfect 10s in her Olympic career. Perhaps more incredible, she was just 14 years old.
At just 4’11 and 86 lbs., Nadia Comaneci shocked the world as she stepped to perform her routine on the uneven bars. At that time, no gymnast before her had ever achieved a perfect 10., and no one believed it would ever happen. As a matter of fact, the scoreboards at the time weren’t even constructed to be able to display this score. So much for the saying, nobody’s perfect.
Thirty-six years after Mark Spitz stockpiled 7 gold medals, Phelps did him one better, and earned a total of eight gold medals at the Beijing games. The 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 400m individual medley, 4×100m freestyle relay, 4×200m freestyle relay and 4×100m medley relay were all incredibly won be Michael Phelps (and his teammates in the relay). As a result of his massive hardware accrual, many consider Phelps to be the greatest U.S. Olympian.
While he didn’t win quite as many medals as some of the other great Olympic athletes, Jesse Owens did do it in much grander fashion. Unfazed by the politics swirling at the Berlin Games in 1936, Owens won a total of four gold medals that year in the 100m, the 200m, the 4.100m relay and the long jump competitions. Blowing by hitler’s prized athletes, the Alabama native and grandson of a slave put an end to the so-called notion of Aryan dominance. Even the German crowd had to applaud the amazing performance of this amazing athlete.