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Mary Lou Retton Wins The First Gold Medal In U.S. Gymnastics History
1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles
Once upon a time, no American — male or female — had ever won a gold medal in gymnastics. Then, a 16-year-old gymnast with a pixie cut named Mary Lou Retton came along and won all-around gold by just .05 points. The best moment from her victory? When Retton scored a perfect 10 on not one, but both of her vaults — just to show she could.
Kristi Yamaguchi Ends Team USA's 16-Year Gold-Medal Drought
1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville
Kristi Yamaguchi was only 22 years old when she claimed the first medal for U.S. women's figure skating since Dorothy Hamill in 1976. Her free skate included some insane triple-triple combinations that edged out the competition. But Yamaguchi didn't just end a 16-year gold-medal drought for Team USA; with this win she also became the first Asian-American woman to win Olympic gold in any sport.
Jesse Owens Wins Gold & Sets Records In Nazi Germany
1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin
Jesse Owens went down in history for his incredible performance at the 1936 Olympic Games, held in Nazi Germany. The story is so good that it's been turned into a movie. Yes, Hitler was there. Yes, Owens was thought to be "inferior" because of his race. And yes, he still competed.
Owens won a total of four gold medals that year: in the 100m, the 200m, the 4x100m relay, and the long-jump competitions. He also managed to break or equal nine Olympic records, and also set three world records. Hitler wanted the 1936 Berlin Games to prove his theory of Aryan racial superiority. Instead, Jesse Owens left a hero.
Michael Phelps Wins 19th Olympic Medal
2012 Summer Olympics in London
First, Michael Phelps made history when he passed Mark Spitz by winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Then, he became a legend at the 2012 Olympic games, where he became the most decorated Olympian of all time.