23 Of The Most Powerful Pictures In Olympic History

A look back at the most memorable and iconic moments in Olympic history.

Betty Robinson becomes the first woman to take gold in a track and field event in 1928.

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American athlete Betty Robinson (second from left) wins the final of the women's 100-meter event during the Olympic Games in Amsterdam on July 31, 1928.

Jesse Owens beats the Nazis in 1936.

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The medalists in the long jump competition salute from the victory stand at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin on Aug. 8, 1936. From left, Japan's Naoto Tajima (bronze); American Jesse Owens (gold), who set an Olympic record in the event and offers an American-style salute with his hand to his forehead; and Germany's Luz Long (silver) giving a Nazi salute.

The Olympic team from Formosa (Taiwan) take a stand in 1960.

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The Olympic team from Formosa, now Taiwan, protest after they were forced to change their name from the Republic of China to Formosa on Aug. 25, 1960.

Cassius Clay wins Olympic gold for light heavyweight boxing in 1960.

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The 1960 Olympic medalists for light heavyweight boxing take the winners' podium at Rome: Cassius Clay, gold; Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland (right), silver; and Giulio Saraudi (Italy) and Anthony Madigan (Australia), joint bronze.

Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia runs the men's marathon final while completely barefoot in 1960 — and wins.

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Abebe Bikila crosses the finish line while barefoot on Sept. 11, 1960, at the Olympic Games in Rome.

PE teacher Ann Packer of Britain returns to her students as an Olympic champion in 1964.

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British athlete Ann Packer is cheered on by students at the Coombe County Girls School, after winning the 800 meters at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and setting a new world record in the process.

Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos of the USA each extend a gloved fist in racial protest in 1968.

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American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists and give the Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. The move was a symbolic protest against racism in the United States. Smith, the gold medalist, and Carlos, who took bronze, were subsequently suspended from their team for their actions.

A hostage situation unfolds at the Olympic Village in 1972.

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A masked PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) terrorist is seen in the Olympic Village after taking hostages and later killing nine members of the Israeli Olympic Team during the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz of Poland sticks it to the Soviet Union in 1980.

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Poland's Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz joyfully claims the gold medal after clearing the best height and setting a new world record in the Olympic pole vault event on July 30, 1980, in Moscow. In Poland, the gesture was viewed as a symbol of resistance against Soviet dominance.

An extreme entrance to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

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A stuntman attempts to parachute into the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.

Britain's Derek Redmond is helped across the finish line by his father in 1992.

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Britain's Derek Redmond grimaces as he is helped across the finish line by his father in Barcelona's Olympic Stadium on Aug. 3, 1992. Redmond was injured when he fell during the semifinals of the men's 400-meter race.

The "greatest collection of basketball talent on the planet" takes home gold in 1992.

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From left: Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, and Karl Malone stand victorious with the American flag after winning the final game in Barcelona on Aug. 8, 1992.

Tonya Harding of the USA gets emotional after a problem with her skate in 1994.

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Harding leaves the ice in tears at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics on Feb. 23, 1994. After consulting the judges, she was allowed more time to repair her boot lace and returned to finish her program.

Muhammad Ali returns with the Olympic flame in 1996.

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Muhammad Ali lights the Olympic flame during the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

An injured Kerri Strug takes home gold for the USA in 1996.

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Unofficial US woman's gymnastics team coach Bela Karolyi lifts Strug in his arms after the US won their first Olympic team gold medal ever.

North and South Korea march under a single, unified banner in 2000.

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Flag bearers Eun-Soon Chung and Jang-Choo Pak lead the Korean Olympic Teams from the North and South together in a gesture of reconciliation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea competes alone in 2000 for the first time in an Olympic-size pool.

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After all other competitors were disqualified for false starts, Moussambani completed the men's 100-meter freestyle at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in a time of 1:52.72, over a minute behind the world record for the distance. This was his first time swimming in an Olympic-size pool.

Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil is sabotaged by an Irish former priest in 2004.

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The Brazilian was attacked by a spectator in the latter stages of the marathon on Aug. 29, 2004. De Lima who was expected to win the gold, finished in third place and earned the bronze medal.

Ángel Valodia Matos of Cuba lands an illegal kick on the referee in 2008.

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Ángel Valodia Matos kicks referee Chakir Chelbat after he lost his bronze medal contest in the men's +80 kg taekwondo competition during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 23, 2008.

Weightlifter Janos Baranyai of Hungary experiences a horrific injury in 2008.

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Janos Baranyai of Hungary screams in pain after an injury during the men's 77kg weightlifting competition on Day 5 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Michael Phelps of the USA brings home an astonishing eight gold medals in 2008.

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Michael Phelps reacts after winning the men's 100-meter butterfly swimming final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica secures his place as the fastest man in the world in 2016.

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Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the men's 100-meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Aug. 14. Bolt took home his third consecutive gold.


The terrorist group Black September took hostages at the 1972 Olympics. An earlier version of this post misstated the organization. Additionally, terrorists killed 11 hostages. An earlier version of this post misstated the number.