In honour of the long and hopefully hot sporting sumer ahead we have picked our most iconic sporting images over the past few years. I’m sure not everybody will agree with all of these, if you want to suggest your own nominations in the comments, if we get enough we may open up a poll in a couple of weeks time to find your definitive sporting image!
(p.s. Not listed in order of importance)
1) Muhammed Ali vs Sonny Liston rematch (1965)
First minute, first round, an anchor punch, and the former heavyweight champ, Sonny, was down. He quite literally didn’t know what hit him (or stung him).
Adding insult to injury (‘xcuse the pun), Ali then stood over him and yelled for him to get up.
I personally would have stayed away after the first match, but obviously, Sonny boy had teeth to spare.
2) Maradona (Argentina v England – 1986 World Cup, Mexico)
The first goal in which Maradona touched the ball with his hand (or with the ‘Hand of God’ as he later on said)… well, God saw what happened. Unfortunately, the referees didn’t.
But let’s not let it distract us from the stunning 2nd goal, people.
Did you see it? Did ya? Sheer poetry in motion.
Maradona weaved himself past not 1, not 2, but 6 England players to score that amazing goal. Ok, so they might have been traumatised by the first goal, but WAKE UP ENGLAND, he’s about to score a second one ….with his feet this time.
3) Paul Gascoigne bawling at the World Cup semis.
It’s 1990. It’s the semi-finals. England’s playing against West Germany. Football widows abound.
Towards the end of the match, Gazza’s shown a yellow card, and realising what this means (potentially missing the final if England wins), cries his little heart out (while revealing a very fine six-pack indeed – yum!).
England went on to lose the semis, but the picture of Gazza crying remains a classic as it embodied the feelings of millions of fans.
4) Flo Jo wins gold…
The 1988 Seoul Olympics. Florence Griffiths-Joyner wins the 100m gold and sets a world record of 10.49secs.
Though it was one of four medals she won at that particular event, it was the picture of her smiling – her multi-coloured fingernails raised to the sky in triumph – that remains in the hearts and minds of many.
5) Pele & Bobby Moore swap t-shirts…
1970. Mexico World Cup. England vs Brazil.
Final score: Brazil 1; England 0.
At the end of the game, Pele and Bobby Moore swap t-shirts.
A beautiful picture, it showed the great respect these two amazing players had for each other.
6) Tommie Smith & John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics
Smith had won the 200m race, while Carlos had clinched the bronze. On the medal stand, each athlete wore a black glove. And as the US anthem played, they both bowed their heads and raised a fist in a Black Power salute to highlight the civil rights climate and celebrate black pride.
It caused a wave of uproar amongst many white Americans (proving Smith’s & Carlos’ point, don’t you think?). They were subsequently banned from the Olympics and ostracized upon returning to the US.
Nevertheless, their stand remains a defining moment, a powerful silent act of courage that empowered many black people in the US …and beyond.
7) Bobby Moore – World Cup, 1966
England: 4. West Germany: 2.
Balanced on his team-mates’ shoulders, Bobby Moore raises the Jules Rimet cup in the air for England. He had the look of a man who really couldn’t ask for more, a man whose beans on toast wouldn’t taste quite the same the next morning, a man who, like Gazza, epitomised the nation’s love of the beautiful game.
Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics, 1936
Oh dear, things didn’t quite go according to plan for Hitler at the Berlin Olympics, did they? The super-duper world-class athlete, Owens, disproved Hitler’s theories of Aryan superiority several times over by winning 4 gold medals (100m, 200m, long jump and 4 by 100m relay), breaking and setting 3 world records and one Olympic record in the process.