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5 Of the Most Memorable Moments in The Winter Olympics

February 02, 2022

Looking back at miraculous moments in Winter Olympics history.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in is much more than another excuse to turn on your TV and watch a group of athletes compete for their chance of victory. It’s the source of some of the greatest moments in sporting history. From seeing underdogs win their first gold medals to watching your favorite athlete set a new record, it’s not an event you want to miss. In anticipation of this year’s games, let’s recap some of the most iconic moments in Winter Olympics history. 

1. 1980 Miracle on Ice 
During the political tension of the Cold War, a four-time defending champion team from Russia was slated to compete against a group of amateur players from America in a game of ice hockey. No one was expecting the Americans to even compete, let alone take the Soviets by storm like they did. The U.S. team dramatically took a lead in the third period and defeated the Soviets in one of the most iconic moments in the games and U.S. sports. During the final seconds of the game, Al Michaels from ABC exclaimed, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”  The U.S. team then went on to defeat Finland and take the gold. 
2. 1988 the Jamaican Bobsled Team Competes 
One of the biggest criticisms of the Winter Olympics is that it’s predominantly a competition amongst cold-weather countries. So, when a team of four military men from Jamaica entered the games in 1988 they were welcomed with open arms. They may not have won any medals, but they received worldwide admiration as they finished the race by walking to the finish line with their sled in hand. Five years later, Disney would produce a movie based on them called Cool Runnings, available on Disney+ via Contour TV or Contour Stream Player. 
3. Nancy Kerrigan's Silver Medal After Being Attacked  
Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were rivals on the ice, and Harding viewed her as the one thing standing in the way of her victory. On January 6, 1994, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after practice by a hitman named Shane Stant. Stant was hired by Harding’s husband to help propel her to victory. Despite Harding’s attempt to take Kerrigan out of the game, she impressed everyone by taking home the silver medal just seven weeks after being clubbed in her right leg. The attack is known as one of the biggest sport scandals in history.
4. Hermann Maier's Crash and Comeback 
In 1998 Austria’s Hermann Maier was on course to win the overall World Cup title for the first time in his skiing career. However, on February 13 of the same year, things took an unexpected turn. Maier went full speed downhill on Mount Karamatsu, flying 30 feet off course before crashing into two fences during a competition. The images of this crash were seen around the world, though he somehow walked away with only a few bruises. Three days later, Maier made a remarkable comeback, winning two gold medals in the super-G and giant slalom. 
5. The Collision That Led to Steven Bradbury’s Victory  
Steven Bradbury was an Australian speed skater and an underdog at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He’d managed to progress to the semi-finals only after defending world champion, Marc Gagnon of Canada, was disqualified. He started the race lagging behind the other skaters, drifting further and further behind. However, two of the leading skaters bumped into each other and took out all four of the front-runners as well. Bradbury was able to avoid the collision and skate past his rivals to win one of the most unexpected gold medals in history. 
From surprising wins to heart-wrenching upsets, you never know what might happen during the Olympic Winter Games. Tune in to NBCUniversal’s 2022 Winter Olympics coverage from February 3-20 and experience every moment at home or on the go with the Contour app. Find all your favorite Olympics content easily with your Contour Voice Remote by simply saying "Olympics" or "Winter Sports" into your remote.

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