Over the course of time, sports has made a significant impact on history. When Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in the NBA to Nelson Mandela’s influence in the 1995 Rugby World Cup win. We will be taking a trip down history lane and explore the most iconic moments in sports history.
It was a regular Friday evening on the 2nd of March 1962 at the Hershey Sports Arena in Pennsylvania where the Philadelphia Warriors were set to face the New York Knicks. The Warriors were powered by Wilt Chamberlain’s record setting 100 points in a single game. Chamberlain’s record still stands as the most points scored in a single NBA game, one of many NBA records set by Chamberlain during his 15 year career.
The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was coming to a close with Usain Bolt dominating the 100 and 200 meter races, becoming the first man to win both of them in world record times. He ran the 100 meter race in 9.69 seconds and the 200 meter race in 19.30 seconds. He also added another world record as part of Jamaica’s 4×100 meter relay team. Bolt cemented himself in Olympics history with the Beijing performance and then again in the next Summer Olympics in London. He successfully defended all three titles in the 2012 Olympics. He currently holds three world records, 100 meters (9.58) 200 meters (19.19) and the 4×100 relay (36.84).
Keeping our focus still on the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. We move to the Beijing National Aquatics Center where Michael Phelps, with a record eighth gold medal on the line led the American team to set the world record in the men’s 4×100 meter medley relay, making Phelps the most decorated swimmer of all time. Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, passing Mark Spitz, for the most gold medals by an athlete at a single Olympic.
The summer of 1986 Mexico hosted the FIFA World Cup quarter finals between Argentina led by Diego Maradona and England led by Bryan Robson. The Argentinians were strong favourites to win the game, however England was not a walk in the park for the South Americans. Maradona scored the first goal with the use of his hand, thus the term ‘hand of god’. Argentina would go on to beat England 2-0 and eventually win the World Cup final against West Germany. Maradona would finish his career regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
The Summer of 1995 witnessed South Africa hosting the Rugby World Cup. The Rugby World was the first major sporting event held in South Africa after the end of the apartheid. It was also the first World Cup that South Africa was allowed to compete; after the IRFB (International Rugby Football Board) had readmitted South Africa in 1992, following negotiations to end the apartheid. In the final which was held at the Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa beat New Zealand 15 – 12 with Joel Stransky scoring a drop goal in extra time to win the match. Following the win, Nelson Mandela the President of South Africa, donning the Springbok jersey and cap presented the Webb Ellis trophy to Francois Pienaar. Mandela and Pienaar’s involvement in the World Cup is the subject of the 2009 film adaptation Invictus.
The Rugby World Cup was inaugurated in the year 1987 with New Zealand and Australia co – hosting it. New Zealand won the first tournament and from that point onwards they dominated Rugby union, however the World Cup was ever so elusive. Cometh the year 2011, New Zealand was set to host the World Cup. Facing stiff opposition from South Africa and Australia in the quarters finals and semi – finals, they were set to face the high riding France in the finals. The determination of the All Blacks was not deterred winning the Webb Ellis trophy 8 points to 7. Their dominance continued till the 2015 World Cup, making them the first team to win 2 successive world cups under the captaincy of Richie McCaw.
Sri Lankan born Muttiah Muralitharan is considered the greatest test match bowler of all time in the history of cricket. At the start of his final Test, he was eight wickets short of entering territory that no other cricketer had. He began his last day in Test cricket needing two, and took one. His partner threatened to take everything else and he could do nothing but keep on bowling, and wait. The umpire denied him a palpable lbw. VVS Laxman, who kept him at bay for so many hours, ran himself out and there was only one wicket left to take. He waited and perhaps even fretted. He nearly ran out the last pair himself, twice. After 23 wicket-less overs, with perhaps growing doubt about whether it would come at all, the moment arrived, and Muttiah Muralitharan was there, where no man had gone before. The long wait for the 800th wicket only exemplified the toil that went into the preceding 799. And by the way, Sri Lanka won his farewell Test too, by ten wickets for the seventh time.
These are what we think are the most iconic moments in sports history. If you think there is an iconic moment that should be included in this list, drop a comment on the comments section and let us know on what we have missed out.