It’s never dull at the Olympics.
After all, it’s an event built on athleticism so great, it takes your breath away practically every time. Still, as evidenced by more than 100 years of modern Olympic history, there are moments that still manage to stand out from the rest—in more ways than one. Whether they set the bar higher than we even thought possible, make a statement louder than the sport itself, spark controversy or exemplify humanity in an unexpected way, the Olympic Games have been the stage for some truly remarkable events.
Now, with the long-awaited 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo finally officially kicking off on Friday, July 23, it’s only a matter of hours before more athletes get the chance to not only take home the gold, but perhaps leave their infinite mark on sports history.
As we keep our eyes peeled, rest assured they’ll be in incredible company. We’ve rounded up many of the moments in Olympics history that remain unforgettable to this day. Some will amaze you, shock you, might make you cry and, perhaps, push you to take that next step toward your own dreams.