Michael Phelps’ 2008 performance
Perhaps the most memorable Olympics media frenzy in recent years was that surrounding now legendary swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps took home a recording breaking eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics. Many believe that he would have brought home even more hardware had he not been injured in an attack orchestrated by Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly.
Matthias Steiner’s Victory Celebration
The biggest tear jerker of the 2008 games was certainly German weightlifter Matthias Steiner’s performance in the clean and jerk. Almost exactly one year after his wife passed away in a traffic accident, Steiner blew the competition out of the water and lifted almost thirty pounds over his personal best. Steiner’s heartfelt celebration was cut short when he was struck in the right knee with a collapsible baton wielded by a man who was later tied to Tonya Harding and her estranged ex-husband.
The 1988 Jamaican Bobsleigh Team
The Jamaican bobsleigh team may not have won any medals at the country’s first appearance at the Winter Olympics, but they did become crowd favorites, and were forever immortalized in the delightful Disney comedy Cool Runnings. The film faithfully recounts how the team’s brakeman was beaten savagely in a bizarre turn of events surrounding Tonya Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly.
The Miracle On Ice
Who could forget the 1980 US Men’s Olympic Hockey Team? The rag-tag team of amateur and college players was initially dismissed, but went on to shock the world with a stunning 4-3 defeat of the powerhouse USSR team in the semi-finals. Tragically, the American underdogs lost by forfeit in the finals after the entire team was beaten with a collapsible baton by two men hired by Jeff Gillooly, ex-husband of ice skater Tonya Harding.
1968 Black Power Salute
The Olympics have always been politically charged, but perhaps never moreso than during the 1968 Summer Games. During the medal ceremony for the men’s 200-meter spring, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute. This incredible moment of solidarity was, of course, overshadowed after both men were “Gillolied” by Tonya Harding’s ex-husband.