6 Most Inspiring Moments From Olympic Games Over the Years

These amazing athletes touched thousands of people.


the Olympic tourch.

(KirillS / Shutterstock.com)

The Olympics are a time for athletic greatness - and also a time for truly inspiring feats. Sit back and take a look at some of the most inspiring moments from the past 90 years of Olympic Games.


1. North and South Korea coming together

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, North and South Korea succeeded to put their differences aside and to find some common ground. In a beautiful display of unity, the two nations marched together in the opening ceremonies under a unified flag and uniform. While the two countries did eventually compete separately, their joint marching symbolized an openness to peace and cooperation, and hope for a better tomorrow.

2. Jesse Owens proving Hitler wrong

Jesse Owens was as much of an outsider as he could possibly be. He was Afro-American and was competing in track and field in 1936 Berlin. Because of the color of his skin, Hitler's Germany viewed Owens as a lesser athlete. Owens took the prejudice against him as motivation and would go on to win four gold medals (in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4x100 relay).


3. Wilma Rudolph believing the impossible

Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely and contracted polio as a child. Doctors told her it seemed unlikely she would ever walk again, let alone race. But that did not stop Wilma. Through sheer willpower and endless practice, she eventually got rid of her leg braces and began running in track and field. In 1960, she achieved what nobody imagined possible, and competed in the Summer Olympics in Rome. Wilma became the first American woman to win three gold medals and is still considered one of the fastest female runners, ever.

4. The Jamaicans winning over everybody

When the Jamaican bobsled team was introduced at the 1988 Winter Olympics, they stood out like a sore thumb. The Olympic games were the first time the team actually saw real snow and the completely inexperienced bobsledders crashed their sled. They did not win any medals, but their amazing display of courage and sportsmanship won everybody over, when the men crossed the finish line on foot, smiling and shaking hands with spectators. Six years later, in 1994, they even managed to beat both the US and French teams and came in 14th.


5. Dan Jansen never giving up

Dan Jansen always dreamed of becoming a speed skater. At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada, he could finally prove his talent to the world, but that's when tragedy struck. Only hours before he was to compete in the 500 and 1,000 meter races, he was told that his sister had passed away. Devastated, he still chose to compete, but grief overcame him and he fell in both races. Jansen, however, was not one to give up easily. He competed again in 1992 and after missing the gold again, came back in 1994 for a final attempt at a medal. Not only did he win gold in the 1,000 race, he also set a new world record. Six years after his first attempt, he dedicated his gold medal to his sister.


6. Billy Mills making a name for himself

Billy Mills was orphaned at age 12 and raised in poverty by his grandparents. Through unwavering perseverance, the Oglala-Lakota-Sioux American Indian made it to Tokyo in 1964, competing in the 10,000-meter race as a complete underdog. The virtually unknown runner even had to borrow a pair of shoes because his team's sponsor only gave shoes to “winners.” Mills surprised everyone when he suddenly set out to an incredible sprint, crossing the finish line first and setting a new Olympic record. Billy fulfilled his father's prophecy, who, after his mother died, told him that “one day you will fly like an eagle.”