The Most Amazing Olympic Medal Moments from the Past 50 Years

The world's best athletes will arrive in Paris on July 26 to compete for a medal at the 2024 Olympic Games

Published Time: 01.07.2024 - 16:31:09 Modified Time: 01.07.2024 - 16:31:09

The world's best athletes will arrive in Paris on July 26 to compete for a medal at the 2024 Olympic Games. The athletic competition — which has been around for more than 100 years — showcases some of the best examples of hard work, perseverance, determination and good sportsmanship.

From Florence Griffith-Joyner setting a world record for the 200-meter race in 1988 to Michael Phelps winning his seventh gold medal in 2008, here are some of the most memorable, emotional or astonishing medal moments from the past 50 years.

At the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, Nadia Comăneci became the first gymnast to earn a perfect score of 10.0 at the age of 14. The Romanian gymnast went on to win three gold medals at the Montreal games.

Carrie Steinseifer gives a joyful thumbs up after her team (Jenna Johnson, Dara Torres and Nancy Hogshead) takes the gold in the 100M freestyle at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States celebrates winning gold in the women's 100-meter final event during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Griffith-Joyner won three gold medals and one silver medal at the 1988 games and also set a world record for the 200-meter race — which still stands.

Paralympic track stars Candace Cable (who won bronze) and Sharon Hedrick (gold) listen to the national anthem at the conclusion of their victorious 800M race.

Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler were among the members of the so-called Dream Team — the first USA basketball squad to feature professional players — which dominated the Barcelona games by an average of 44 points per match-up. Jordan and Pippen, both members of the Chicago Bulls at the time, also had the distinction of being the first to win an NBA championship and Olympic gold in the same year.

Magic Johnson (top) captured the joy of the moment when the team was awarded their gold medals.

Michael Johnson of the United States celebrates after winning gold in the men's 200 meters and setting a new world record time of 19.32 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Johnson went on to win another gold medal at the Atlanta games for the 400 meter race.

Kerri Strug earned a spot on the cover of PEOPLE for her jaw-dropping final vault — executed on a badly injured ankle — that put her team over the edge and earned them the gold. But all of the members of the "Magnificent Seven" contributed to the team's squeaked-out lead over Russia, and were inducted into the United States Olympics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Jennifer Azzi, Lisa Leslie and Carla McGhee have an emotional moment with their gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta games.

The tennis phenomenons were just getting started! Sisters Venus and Serena Williams showed off their new hardware at the Sydney games, where they won doubles.

Tennis champ Andre Agassi gets emotional as he hears the anthem being played in honor of his singles victory in Atlanta.

The United States' team scored a major upset when they earned their first-ever gold by defeating Cuba in Sydney, the first time that team hadn't taken the top spot sin -

ce it became a full medal sport.

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller take a moment for the United States' national anthem after taking gold in the 200M freestyle relay, during one of USA Swim's most memorable outings at the games. Phelps would compete until 2016, and eventually become the most-decorated Olympian in any sport.

Christie Rampone, Carli Lloyd and Kate Markgraf share their gold medals for their winning soccer performance in Beijing with some very special spectators: Rampone and Markgraf's children.

Kobe Bryant celebrates with his teammates after winning against Spain for the men's basketball gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Bryant, who died in 2020, was captain of the 2008 team which also included LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt competes in the men's 100 meter semifinal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Bolt won three gold medals at the Rio Olympic Games for the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4x100 meter relay.

Team USA had a clean sweep at 2016's Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in the 100m hurdles, which is why you see (from left) bronze medalist USA's Kristi Castlin, gold medalist USA's Brianna Rollins and silver medalist USA's Nia Ali all jumping for joy. The podium takeover was the first by any country in the 100m hurdles and the first by women from Team USA in any Olympic event.

Gymnasts (from left) Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian, Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas of the United States got the gold (and inspired a gazillion athletes everywhere) when they dominated the women's artistic team all-around competition at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

USA's Ashton Eaton (center) grins as he crosses the finish line in a men's decathlon 100m heat at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games — and takes home the gold.

The Paralympic athlete waits for his medal after winning his first gold (he has three total, over two games) at the Rio games.

India's Neeraj Chopra shows off his new hardware from the podium after winning a gold medal in the men's javelin throw at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Chopra became the first Indian to win a gold medal in a track and field event and the second Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi celebrate on the podium after becoming joint gold medalists for the men's high jump at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The two friends shared an emotional hug upon their decision to each take home a gold rather than move into a jump-off to determine a winner.

Gabrielle Thomas took a lap with the stars and stripes after earning her bronze medal in the 200m relay.

Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Sunisa Leeof Team USA took home the silver at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Biles joined her team on the podium but would later drop out of solo competition, citing mental health concerns.

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