Today marks the #1YearToGo countdown to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games. To celebrate the occasion, we're sharing some of our favorite, most memorable Summer Olympic moments throughout the years. It’s impossible to list every last awesome moment (unless you have a few days to sit through footage), but these are a few that had us jumping on our couches and stayed with us for years. These are the kind of athletes who unite us — and remind us what greatness is.
Fly For It
Mary Lou Retton needed a perfect vault to take home the gold in Women's Artistic Gymnastics at the 1984 Olympics. She did it — and still completed her second try just to secure the victory. Retton became a well-known legacy — one which has inspired other gymnasts for more than 30 years.
After Dominique Moceanu uncharacteristically failed to land both of her vaults during the 1996 Team Finals, the last chance to secure Gold for the U.S. fell entirely on Kerri Strug. When she, too, fell on her first vault — and then limped back down the vault runway — it looked like all was lost. But not only did Strug perform a clean vault with an injured ankle, she stuck the landing on one foot and clinched the win for the U.S. Now that’s what you call grit.
Triple Gold When this dominant duo hit the sand, everyone was hoping for another round of greatness like in '04 and '08 — and that's just what they delivered. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings took home their third gold medal in Beach Volleyball at the 2012 London Olympics.
Caitlyn Jenner (known as Bruce during the Games) won the Olympic gold medal in the Decathlon during the 1976 Montreal Olympics, setting a new world record in the process. She showed us what the power of will and mental fortitude can really accomplish — and continues to do so today.
Team Effort Known as The Fierce Five, the U.S. gymnastics team was packed with personalities: Bubbly superstar Gabby Douglas, you-can-count-on-her Aly Raisman, national champion Jordyn Wieber, “Not Impressed” McKayla Maroney and the quiet force of Kyla Ross. As seen above, the anticipation of waiting for the team’s results was nerve racking — and when they found out they won, it was heartwarming and well-deserved.
Lightning Fast Talk about speedy: Sanya Richards-Ross winning the 400m run at the 2012 London Olympics (in 49.55 seconds!) inspired us to want to up our sprint game, too. Richards-Ross also has golds from ’04 and ’08.
The U.S. synchronized swimming team's performance at the 1996 Atlanta Games was nothing short of spectacular. Not only was this the Olympic debut of a team event for Synchronized Swimming, but the grace and perfection was mesmerizing to watch.