Niagara Gazette

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February 8, 2014

VIDEO: Memorable moments from the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics open today in Sochi, Russia, and seem poised to provide their share of indelible memories. Take a look back at some other memorable moments from past Games.

'Miracle on Ice' (1980)

Without hyperbole, it still stands as arguably one of the greatest moments in U.S. sports history. A lightly regarded U.S. hockey team, stocked with little-known college players, upset a Soviet powerhouse thought to be invincible in world hockey at the time. Mike Eruzione scored the go-ahead goal in a 4-3 win, and to seal the moment, ABC broadcaster Al Michaels uttered his famous phrase, "Do you believe in miracles?"

Dan Jansen wins at last (1994)

Dan Jansen’s journey to a speed skating gold medal spanned four Olympic Games and is commemorated in a Visa commercial with the following words: “Hours before his race in ’88, Dan Jansen’s sister, Jane, passed away. He’d promised her he’d win gold. He didn’t…until six years later. Then, he skated a victory lap with his daughter, Jane.”

Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan (1994)

Perhaps never has an Olympic competition been so overshadowed by an incident that occurred away from the Games. A month prior to the 1994 Lillehammer Games, U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was injured at the American skating championships in Detroit when Shane Stant struck her in the knee with a baton. It was later learned that Stant was hired by Tonya Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly. The ensuing media frenzy, it's safe to say, proved to be a distraction for both skaters. Kerrigan won a silver medal in the figure skating competition; Harding finished 10th.

Judging scandal in Salt Lake (2002)

In 2002 the pairs figure skating competition was thrown into chaos when the Canadian duo of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, despite skating a flawless long program, was docked points by a French judge who later admitted to taking part in a "vote trading" scheme. The fallout included a complete overhaul in methodology for scoring future skating competitions, and Sale and Pelletier were awarded gold medals four days later.

Eric Heiden makes history (1980)

No athlete before or since -- in the Summer or Winter Olympics -- has pulled off what Heiden achieved at Lake Placid in 1980. He swept all five speed skating events (500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters), winning gold in each and setting four world records in the process.

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