NBC had a one-hour special dedicated to the top 30 Olympic events during the network's broadcasting tenure (1988-present). The top two moments were Kerri Strug's vault in the team competition in Atlanta and Jason Lezak's anchor leg in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay in Beijing. No arguments there, those are two of the most dramatic events over the last quarter century. However, there were some glaring omissions:
- Greg Louganis, Seoul 1988 - His final dive on the 10 meter platform to edge Xiong Ni of China and capture his fourth gold medal was one of the indelible moments of the 1988 Olympics.
- Florence Griffith-Joyner, Seoul 1988 - Were world records in the 200 meter semifinals and final made her the face of those Games.
- Misty Hyman - Sydney 2000 - Hyman's upset win in the 200 meter butterfly over the hometown favorite, world record holder and defending champion Susie O'Neil was one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.
I think they missed the mark on a couple of moments they did include:
Jackie Joyer-Kersee made the list with her heptathlon win in 1992, but her 1988 win, coupled with a gold in the long jump, was a world record that still stands today.
Janet Evans made the list with her third gold medal in Seoul in the 800 meter freestyle. However, the most dramatic moment for Janet in 1988 was her world record swim in the 400 meter freestyle, punctuated be the shot of of disbelief on her face when she realized how fast she had swum.
The U.S. Women's soccer team was on the list with the 1996 gold medal in the inaugural women's soccer tournament. I think that the 2004 win after a silver four years earlier was much more dramatic than the first as it was the swansong for several of the legends of that team including Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.
It could have been worse, when I first heard of the list being 30 moments long, I figured they would have to find 16 events that Michael Phelps hadn't won.