We love the Olympics. You may not have the slightest idea of the rules that govern disciplines such as triathlon and even less what are the characteristics that are valued when judging an Olympic dive, but if we are on a screen with the Olympic joust, the most likely is let our attention stay punch there. And if the competition in question is athletics – in which the winner is simply the one who crosses the finish line first – nothing is more exciting than the so-called photo finals in which it seems that a certain athlete is about to be crowned to, surprisingly, see that someone else gets the glory.
It may interest you
The International Olympic Committee has a selection of the 10 best finals of Olympic athletics, very in tune with the finals of athletics in Tokyo 2020, and that we accompany with a brief overview of the competitions that marked the history of the Olympic Games.
10. Haile Gebrselassie in the 10,000 meters in Sydney 2000
The history of cross-country athletics had a rivalry in the style of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, with the Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie and the Kenyan Paul Tergat, who for years alternated the one and two in the 10,000 meters and different marathons. At Sydney 2000, Gebrselassie took gold after beating his friend and rival from behind. It was, according to the Ethiopian, “The triumph of his life”.
9. Evelyn Ashford in the 4x100m relays in Seoul 1988
Americans Florence Griffith-Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, two of the most successful athletes in the history of American athletics, owe one of their three gold medals to Evelyn Ashford, who after a poor delivery, had a legendary performance to leave behind Marlies Göhr from East Germany.
8. Pietro Mennea in the 200 meters in Moscow 1980
It took 17 years for the mark set by Pietro Mennea in the 200 meters, a test in which the record never dropped below 20 seconds until the Italian set it at 19.72. They called it “the arrow of the south” and it was an exception in an event dominated by black athletes. In Moscow 1980, he came from behind with an amazing sprint to achieve gold.
7. Mo Farah in the 10,000 meters in Rio 2016
The BBC He nodded Mo Farah’s feat as “A tremendous auction”, and is not for less. At the beginning of the race, the British athlete of Somali origin was last, but began to climb until he reached the middle of the group. Then he stumbled, but was back up in a matter of seconds. So he turned the tragedy into an epic.
6. Dieter Baumann in the 5,000 meters in Barcelona 1992
The chronicles of the epic speak of the 5,000 meters of Barcelona 92 as the time gold stopped being African. That honor belongs to Dieter Baumann, who triumphed among an authentic army of African athletes, as eight of the 16 finalists came from that continent. In Germany, his triumph will be remembered as one of the medals that marked the unification of the country, which competed as two: West Germany and Democratic Germany.
5. Peter Snell in the 800 meters in Rome 1960
Before running the final of the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, a group of Adidas executives gave away footwear to the runners who they considered capable of winning, among them the Belgian Roger Moens, the great favorite. Peter Snell, then 21, beat him like lightning in an incredible sprint. Four years later, he won the 800 meters and 1,500 meters again, a double that no one had achieved since 1920 and that no one has achieved again.
4. Dave Wottle in the 800 meters in Munich 1972
Up to 500 meters, American Dave Wottle remained at the back of the running peloton. Then it started to accelerate and beat each rival one by one. In the final stage, and in a true photographic finale, he beat the favorite, Soviet Yevgeny Arzhanov, by just 0.03 seconds. The Wottle race is considered one of the most memorable comebacks in athletics history.
3. Billy Mills in the 10,000 meters in Tokyo 1964
Shortly before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Billy Mills found out he was diabetic. But the news, instead of dampening his spirits, catapulted him. Between favorites like Australian Ron Clarke and Tunisian Mohammed Gammoudi, Mills – who is a Native American – found divine rhythm and in the final 50 meters of the race, he sped up to overtake the favorites.
2. Kelly Holmes in the 1,500 meters in Athens 2004
With “an imperial stride”, British Kelly Holmes was crowned in the 1,500 meters in Athens 2004. Days before the test, she had reached the gold in the 800 meters, so some of the athletes who would face her in the 1,500 meters expected her to arrive depleted. In the end, his victory was overwhelming.
1. Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the 400 meters at Rio 2016
Bahamas athlete Shaunae Miller had to resort to desperate action to culminate a historic victory that not only brought her to glory, but also deprived American Allyson Félix of being the first athlete in history with five Olympic golds. Miller was in the lead, but towards the end Felix sped up, looking like he would set the all-time record. Then, Miller jumped on the goal. The difference between one and the other was just seven hundredths.