The Olympics give athletes all over the world a chance at achieving ultimate sporting glory. Throughout the years, the Winter Games have seen incredible feats of athleticism as well as wonderful underdog stories.
From the heart-warming story of the Jamaican men's bobsleigh team to American Eric Heiden winning an unprecedented five gold medals at a single Olympic edition, the Winter Games have provided fans a lot to cheer about.
With the 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang underway, take a look at top five moments in the history of the Winter Games.
The 1968 Winter Olympics at Grenoble became famous after the exploits of Killy. The Frenchman won the triple crown of alpine skiing after clinching gold in the downhill, giant slalom and slalom events emulating Austrian Toni Sailer's feat from the 1956 Games.
In a time when electronic stopwatches hadn't been invented yet, he won the downhill and slalom events by less than a hundredth of a second. The slalom event was also mired in controversy. Killy's rival, Austrian Karl Schranz, claimed a mysterious person had crossed the course during his run. The officials allowed Schranz a re-run and he posted the fastest time. However, upon reviewing the footage, officials noted that Schranz had skipped a gate in his run and he was subsequently disqualified with Killy awarded the gold and thus winning the triple crown.
The legendary US speed skater created history when he won an unprecedented five gold medals in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. Heiden set four Olympic records and one World record (10,000m) in the process of winning gold in the 5,000m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m events.
Vitaly Scherbo and Michael Phelps repeated Heiden's feat at the 1992 and the 2008 Summer Olympics but Heiden remains the only Winter Olympian to win five golds at a single Olympic edition.
USA men's ice hockey
Perhaps the greatest upset in sports history, the 1980 US men's ice hockey team beat rivals and favourites the Soviet Union to win the gold medal. What made the victory even special was that it was won during the height of the US-Soviet Cold War. The Soviets had won gold in five of the six previous Winter Olympic and were the favourites to win once again.
With the professional athletes barred from competing, the US were deprived of calling on the best players from the National Hockey League. Head coach Herb Brooks picked a team of amateur players and university students and beat the Soviets 4-3 in a thrilling final.
At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Kazuyoshi Funaki became the first athlete to be awarded a perfect score of 20 from all five judges in the Olympics. A sport which factors in distance jumped as well as the style used while jumping, Funaki's unique version of the V-style, in which his body used to lie flatter between the skis than normal.
Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Funaki went on to win gold in the individual and team large hill as well as a silver in the individual normal hill event of ski jumping and established himself as a legend in the sport.
Perhaps the most unlikely of victories in the history of the Olympics — Summer or Winter — Bradbury's historic short track speed skating gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics came in the unlikeliest of circumstances. After winning his heat, Bradbury finished third in his quarter-final — only the first two skaters could progress to the semi-finals — but Bradbury was handed a second chance after Canadian Marc Gagnon was disqualified.
Luck favoured the Australian once again in the semi-final when defending champion Kim Dong-Sung, Li Jiajun and Mathieu Turcotte crashed allowing Bradbury to finish first. In the final consisting of home favourite Apolo Anton Ohno, Korean Ahn Hyun-Soo, Li and Turcotte, Bradbury was last throughout the race only for all of his opponents to crash 50m ahead of the finish line paving the way for Bradbury to clinch an unlikely gold. Bradbury became the first Australian to win a Winter Olympic gold medal and is considered a national hero.
Published Date: Feb 11, 2018 19:44 PM | Updated Date: Feb 11, 2018 19:44 PM