Countdown to Rio 2016: The most inspiring moments in Olympic running

Jesse Owens

A trip down Olympic memory lane…

To count down to Rio 2016 and remind ourselves of the magical, moving nature of the Games, we’ve taken a look back at some of the most inspiring moments in Olympic running.

Who’s ready to watch athletes make history on the world stage in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from Friday the 5th of August 2016? Cos we are!

Jesse Owens gives Adolf Hitler a real kick in the teeth (Berlin 1936)

Hitler and other government officials had high hopes that German athletes would dominate the 1936 Games – German propaganda promoting concepts of Aryan superiority and depicting others (including those of African descent) as inferior.

US runner Jesse Owens (pictured above), proved Hitler wrong, smashing records and taking home four gold medals for the 100m sprint, the long jump, the 200m sprint and the 4 x 100m relay. That’s a wrap!

Abebe Bikila wins barefoot (Rome 1960)

Abebe Bikila The world and his wife will tell you for a good run you need good, proper-fitting shoes (at Run4It it’s a mantra we live by). Yet at the 1960 Games in Rome, Ethiopian runner, Abebe Bikila, showed the world shoes are dispensable!

The story goes that Bikila got to the pile of sponsor Adidas shoes, to find there were no pairs that fit him. Like a champ, he ran 26.2 miles barefoot, crossing the line in 2.15.16 to take gold.

Four years later, in Tokyo, Bikila won again – this time with shoes!

Ann Packer surprises & delights with a world record 800m win (Tokyo 1964)

Ann Packer Britain’s Ann Packer made history, when she won the 800m title in a world record time in Tokyo, having raced the distance only seven times before. Packer travelled to Tokyo hoping to win her favourite event, the 400m, but was outrun by Australian Betty Cuthbert.

Her 800m success surprised even her! Packer overtook France’s Maryvonne Dupureur in the final straight to become the first British woman to win an Olympic track gold.

Derek Redmond’s Dad helps his Son cross the line (Barcelona 1992)

Derek Redmond It was a devastating moment for British sprinter Derek Redmond. And an unexpected turn of events that captured the hearts of the Olympic crowd and came to represent a story of determination, dedication and love of the game.

During the 400m semi-finals, Redmond severely tore his hamstring. He rose to his feet and tried to continue in immense pain. His father Jim was watching and broke through security to join his son on the track, supporting him across the finish line. Dad to the rescue!

Michael Johnson becomes the first man in history to win both the 200m & 400m gold medals at a single Olympics (Atlanta 1966)

Michael Johnson

 

Johnson set Olympic record times in both events (19.32 seconds in the 200m and 43.49 seconds in the 400m), as he secured his place as first man in history to win both races at the same Olympic Games!

Australia’s Cathy Freeman wins 400m gold in front of her home
crowd (Sydney 2000)
Cathy Freeman

As Australia’s foremost Aboriginal athlete and sole track and field medal hope, Freeman carried a burden of expectation at the Sydney games… the hopes and dreams of 110,000 Aussie fans in the Olympic Stadium (and another 9 million tuned in on TV) were on her shoulders.

Freeman took off in a space-age morph suit and won the 400m race in a spectacular 49.13 seconds. becoming Australia’s second Aboriginal Olympic champion!

Kelly Holmes’ double gold (Athens 2004)

Kelly Holmes
Kelly Holmes suffered her fair share of knock backs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as a result of a string of injuries and bouts of depression. This made her success during six glorious days at the 2004 Games even more magical and memorable.

Holmes won a nail-biting 800m race by five hundredths of a second, crossing the line at 1.56.38. And went on to secure the double gold with a 1500m win in 3.57.90.

Usain Bolt defends both his 100m & 200m sprint titles (London 2012)

 Usain Bolt

Like a boss, Usain Bolt became the first man ever to defend both Olympic sprint titles, as he led home a gold and green Jamaica clean sweep in the 200m sprint.

Oh… and he set a new an Olympic record of 9.63 seconds for the 100m! Just 0.05 seconds slower than his own staggering world record of 9.58 seconds.

Jessica Ennis wins Olympic Heptathlon Gold (London 2012)

Jessica EnnisPerforming on home turf in front of adoring and rapturous crowds, Jessica Ennis stepped forward for her final event – the 800m race – almost certain of the gold Heptatlon title.

And boy did she deliver, passing rivals to cross the line a metre ahead at 2.08.65. Ennis’ total of 6,955 points was a whopping 306 points ahead of Germany’s Lilli Schwarzkopf in silver and 327 clear of world champion Tatyana Chernova in bronze.

 

Mo Farah becomes the first Briton to win an Olympic 10,000m final (London 2012)

Mo FarahIn a show of true tenacity and talent, Mo Farah ran the 10,000m circuit, striding past the Ethiopian world record holder Kenenisa Bekele in the last lap, to claim victory with a sprint finish and race time of 26.46.57.

The London Olympic stadium was drowned in sound, as Farah’s stunning performance and win, sealed the deal for Team GB, making that Saturday (the 3rd of August 2012) the most successful day for British athletics since 1908!!! Farah took Team GB’s gold medal count to six in one day!

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Road to Rio

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