Its been two weeks since London 2012 ended and by now most have overcome the stage of post Olympic depression. While some of us have moved back to our favorite television series and sitcoms, sports fans have turned their attention to Soccer (English Premier League), Cricket (India Vs New Zealand, Twenty20 World Cup), NFL and more.
Sports alone has this unique ability of revving up human emotions and bringing together people from across the world to a common platform. Iconic sporting moments are never forgotten. As a matter of fact they only get better with time bringing back great memories of the old days and players of yesteryear. When the legendary Indian cricketer VVS Laxman announced his retirement from International Cricket on August 18, 2012 most people who heard the news instantly connected him to his knock of 281 against Australia in 2001. An innings that produced one of the India’s most memorable Test match victories of all time. August, 2012 will always remain a special month for sports and before it ends, here’s a look at four iconic sporting moments of all time from across disciplines and countries.
India wins the Cricket World Cup 2011
Soccer is the most watched sport in the world played professionally by the maximum number of countries. The chance for a whole country to wildly celebrate the success of their national team is by far limited only to the European Soccer playing nations in addition to Brazil and Argentina. Developing countries in Asia have rarely had a chance to celebrate like the Spanish, Italians and Brazilians winning the Soccer world cup. Thus any occasion which sees one billion plus spread across the world go crazy deserves to be among the list of iconic sporting moments of all time.
On April 2, 2011 after 28 years of trying India won the ICC Cricket World Cup bringing to life the dream of millions of Indian Cricket fans in addition to their God, Sachin Tendulkar. In this case the victory was iconic but the wild celebrations among Indians across the world were even more soul-stirring. To top things up, India also won the Under 19 Cricket World Cup in Australia on August 26, 2012, a sweet victory but not as iconic as the real world cup victory in 2011.
Holyfield – Tyson II
Imagine a tennis duel between Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal which against all expectations ends up involving a verbal showdown or a physical confrontation (extremely unlikely). That particular moment would be captured in the annals of Tennis books as an iconic moment although in a negative sense. Iconic because it would be an incident in the history of the sport which was shocking, unexpected and involved two of the greatest players of the game in their era.
The Holyfield–Tyson II bout on June 28, 1997 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was one such instance in sport that is remembered for the wrong reasons. This re-match between two of the greatest boxers of their time ended with the well renowned heavyweight champion Mike Tyson being disqualified after biting of both the ears of his nemesis and biggest rival Evander Holyfield. As a result of biting Holyfield on both ears and other behavior, Tyson’s boxing license was revoked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and he was fined USD $3 million plus legal costs.
In the same context the Zinedine Zidane headbutt at the final of the 2006 Soccer World-cup also counts as being among the legion of iconic sporting moments. Had Zidane kept his cool and not head-butted Marco Materazzi, France and not Italy would have won the game and the World Cup.
Hand Of God
On 22 June 1986, a football match was played between Argentina and England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The game was held four years after the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom and was a key part in the already intense football rivalry between both nations. It was also a match which included two of the most famous goals (in actuality one famous and one infamous) in football history, both scored by Diego Maradona.
His first, after fifty-one minutes, was the Hand of God goal, in which Maradona scored a goal by using his hand. His second, after fifty-four minutes, saw him dribble past six England players, a goal which in 2002 was voted Goal of the Century by FIFA.com voters. Argentina won the game 2–1 and went on to win the 1986 World Cup with a victory over West Germany in the final. Maradona won the golden ball for player of the tournament whilst England’s goalscorer on the day, Gary Lineker, won the golden shoe for being the tournament’s top scorer.
The occurrence of this game amidst political tensions between the two countries and the controversy around the “Hand Of God” is what makes this game worth remembering. In many ways this match was reminiscent to the India Vs Pakistan Quarter Final at the 1999 Cricket World Cup which occurred after the Kargil War involving troops from both sides of the border.
Jerry West and the NBA Logo
Here’s a piece of fascinating trivia – Which famous Basketball player is represented on the current NBA Logo? The answer is Jerry West, who is also sometimes referred to as “The Logo” (see cover image).
If American sports are left aside one will find that most of the iconic sporting moments in the last century are seen in situations where different nations play against each other. Soccer, Cricket and the Olympics contribute to most of these iconic sporting moments which also sees representation from other sports such as Golf, Forumla 1 Racing and Tennis. Which iconic sporting moments do you remember the most? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.