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There is something about the victory of an underdog or a seemingly superhuman triumph in the world of sports that fills us with inspiration and excitement like nothing else can. Even those who do not take a particular interest in athletics can feel the thrill of a narrow win or an impressive feat of teamwork and strength. 

Throughout history, there have been certain moments when athletes and teams have risen to new heights and accomplished what was previously not thought humanly possible. Here are seven of the most inspiring moments in sports that will have fans and non-fans alike marveling at the power of human strength and determination. 

  1. In the spring of 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier of Major League Baseball, rising to stardom despite discrimination and racist attacks from those inside and outside the sports industry. 
  2. In 1954, British runner Roger Bannister was the first athlete to break the 4-minute mile mark by running a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. 
  3. In 1960, Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila ran the Summer Olympics barefoot, and became the first Black African Olympian to win a gold medal. 
  4. In 1988, the Caribbean island of Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the Winter Olympics. Although the team finished last in the event, their participation was an enormous feat given that Jamaica has no natural snow or ice and had previously only competed in Summer Games. 
  5. In 1993, Jim Abbot pitched a no-hitter without a right hand—in one of only 279 no-hitters to be pitched in Major League Baseball. 
  6. In 1996, U.S. women’s gymnast Kerri Strung sealed a victory for the United States by completing a vault despite tearing ligaments in her ankle. 
  7. In 2008, Michael Phelps broke the gold medal record by winning 8 gold medals in the swimming category. He beat out previous US olympian Mark Spitz’ record of 7 gold medals.

What are your personal favorite moments from sports history? 

Athlete on Demand connects organizations with motivational sports celebrities for a range of events and speaking engagements. We empower current and retired professional athletes transitioning to entrepreneurship by eliminating middle men like booking agents and giving athletes more control over their business careers.