Idol Chatter


As I’m staying up late and watching coverage of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the spirit of the Games has once again taken hold over me: America’s Jason Lezak chasing down France’s Alain Bernard in the final leg of the 4×100 free relay to secure a gold medal for his team (and for Michael Phelps, who needed this team win to keep him on track for his historic gold medal run) or when the Russian and Georgian female athletes (who won silver and bronze in shooting) embraced after their wins–while their countries were battling.
Anticipating moments like these are what compelled me and fellow Olympics junkie (and Beliefnet editor) Lilit Marcus to put together the Top 15 Most Inspirational Olympic Moments gallery. But let’s face it–everything hasn’t always been inspirational and heartwarming at the Olympics. Though the inspirational and exciting moments certainly outweigh the bad ones, they do exist.
So, without Olympic fanfare, here are some of the most un-inspiring Olympic moments in history:

  • The 1980 Games (in Moscow) and 1984 Games (in Los Angeles), when the United States and the Soviet Union boycotted each other’s Olympics. Who suffered? All the athletes who spent their lives training for those Games.
  • At the 1988 Games in Seoul, when there seemed to be so many backroom dealings that ended up in lots of disputed medals for some of the Korean boxers (and when they didn’t win, trouble for the refs of those matches.
  • All the different doping scandals throughout the years (most recently, Marion Jones, one of the most known, Ben Johnson, and of course East Germany’s massive doping programs throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
  • 1994 in Lillehammer (which gave us one us one of the top inspirational Olympic moments by the way of Dan Jansen) brought the torrid saga of Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan to the world.
  • 2002 in Salt Lake City when crooked judging cost Canadian pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier the gold medal (they later were awarded it).
  • And let’s not forget America’s own athletic god Michael Jordan, who in 1992 at Barcelona refused to get on the medal stand to receive his gold medal if he had to wear a Reebok sweat suit (he made millions endorsing Nike).

Let’s hope that the inspirational moments completely outweigh the uninspiring ones at the Beijing Games.
Did we forget any? Post your comments below.
XXIX Summer Olympics at

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