The 32 Summer Olympics Moments That Made Us Laugh, Sweat, and Cry

A brief history of the Games

GREECE - AUGUST 26:  Abby Wambach of the U.S. is hugged by a teammate after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against Brazil in the women's soccer gold medal match at Karaiskaki Stadium during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. Mia Hamm (right) runs over to join the celebration, as Brazil's Marta looks on.  (Photo by Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

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Usain Bolt winning the 100-meter sprint—with his left shoelace untied. America’s soccer team. Michael Phelps taking home an improbable eight golds. When everything is on the line, and the entire world is watching, the planet’s top athletes are capable of pulling off the most incredible feats. It’s what makes the Olympics perhaps the most captivating event on television.

So it's no surprise that we're all glued to our screens. Since the first modern Olympiad in 1896, the Games have drawn the attention of the globe. People the world over have waited anxiously for newspaper reports, live radio broadcasts, and, now, beautiful 4K livestreams. No other event delivers such a unique blend of drama, tears, and utter joy. Ordinarily in sports, we focus on winners and losers, cheaters and heroes. But it’s the unexpected stories that enthrall us most at the Olympics. The underdogs, the renegades, the survivors. They have our attention—at least once every two years.

So in appreciation of what makes the Games so great, we’ve scoured the archives, polled our editors, and dredged the Web for the greatest Olympic moments of all time. We laughed; we cried. And we bet you will, too.

Oakley is the official eyewear supplier to Team USA but had no input into the moments included in this piece.

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