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The Rio Olympics are nearly upon us, and in spite to the current fears surrounding geo-political events and Zika concerns at this year’s games, there’s always the potential for real greatness to manifest on the track, in the pool, on the ocean or in the gym. Athletes train their entire lives for a chance at Olympic gold, so in spite of what world leaders may be plotting, you can bet that there are several people out there who want their shot at destiny. They’ll be building on a proud tradition of greatness that began decades ago and continues to this day. Here are some of the most inspiring moments of Summer Olympics past.

15. Uplifting Strongman Beats His Own Record

Sometimes, it’s the pure athletic acumen on display at the Olympics that can inspire normal people in their everyday life. In 1976, weightlifter Vasily Alexeev was at the top of his game. He’d beaten down the competition with relative ease and yet he still persevered, attempting to best even his own impressive records. In 1976, in Montreal, he managed to hoist an astounding 562 pounds above his head in one lift, demolishing his previous records.


14. The American Upset

Yeah, you always think of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” with this one, right? Well, in 2000, the Olympic Gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling was destined to go to Russian Aleksander Karelin, a competitor who hadn’t lost a match in 13 years (and hadn’t given up a point in the previous 6 years). It was a sure thing … until he came up against Wyoming-born Rulon Gardner who pulled out a win in an overtime shocker.


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