30+ Iconic Moments in Sports That Made History Records

This article appeared in Carterfive and has been published here with permission.

These Moments Have Redefined the Game

The world of sports is extremely competitive, with bitter rivalries, matches that last for days, and moments that defy everything we thought was possible. Some poignant, some triumphing, these iconic moments from the history of sports have changed how we view the game and created an impact that has resonated through centuries. Read on to know more about these memorable sports moments.

Tiger Woods 1997 Masters Win

Tiger Woods is a name that is synonymous with golf; no man has done more for the recognition of golf as a sport than him. From his illustrious and fantastic career, one of the most memorable moments remains from 1997, which made him the youngest ever Masters win.

Tiger Woods 1997 Masters Win

Following his win, an emotional Woods embraced his father Earl, the moment going down in sports history as the start of Tiger Woods’s domination of golf.

Michael Jordan’s Last Shot With Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan’s last shot while he donned the uniform of the Chicago Bulls has gone down in sports history for many reasons. The first and foremost is the legendary basketball player’s last ever shot with the team.

Michael Jordan’s Last Shot With Chicago Bulls

The other reasons are that Jordan made the shot and it became the basket that won them their sixth NBA title in eight years. That’s what we call going out with a bang.

Brandi Chastain’s 1999 Game Win

In 1999, footballer Brandi Chastain became the face of female athletes worldwide. Her penalty kick in the final match against China won Team USA the FIFA Women’s World Cup that year.

Brandi Chastain’s 1999 Game Win

For all the 90,000 fans who watched it, that moment is forever ingrained in their brain as a turning point. As for the women worldwide, it gave them another amazing sports hero to look up to!

The Broken Curse of the Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox didn’t have a perfect time for a very long time, 86 years to be precise. The Curse of the Bambino (as it was called) began when the team traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919.

The Broken Curse of the Boston Red Sox

For the next 86 years, the Red Sox didn’t win a single World Series. It was only in 2004 that the team finally lifted the trophy and made fans go wild.

The Undefeated Miami Dolphins

The football team Miami Dolphins went down in the history books for having a perfect season. The Super Bowl Champs proved their mettle in 1972 when they went through the regular season and playoffs without being defeated.

The Undefeated Miami Dolphins

The undefeated champs became the first and only NFL team to have that honor. The moment is an impactful and important one in NFL history.

N.C. State’s Cinderella Story

College Basketball is a time when everybody is glued to their screens, and teams fight for the title the best they can. In 1983, sixth-seeded N.C. The state didn’t hope they’d get to the top, but they did all that and more.

N.C. State’s Cinderella Story

Becoming one of the most memorable Cinderella stories in the history of March Madness, the team beat all the competition and won the 1983 NCAA National Championship. They’re now forever a part of college basketball history.

The English Premier League Finals 2012

This is another story of how a match was completely overthrown at the last minute with a team pulling a miraculous win. The match was between bitter rivals Manchester City and Manchester United.

The English Premier League Finals 2012

United had more or less secured the victory, but in the very last minutes, Man City scored two goals, securing the title for the first time in 44 years. That day was bitter for United fans, but Man City fans all over the world rejoiced their title.

India’s Cricket Tour in Pakistan

Whenever there is a sports match between India vs Pakistan, the entire world gets excited, especially when it has to do with cricket. The game is viral in both countries and is a source of competition for the fans.

India’s Cricket Tour in Pakistan

However, in 2004, the Indian cricket team toured Pakistan for matches as a part of a friendly sign. Let it never be said that sports didn’t bring people together.

Steve Redgrave’s Fifth Gold Medal

Steve Redgrave’s choice of sport was rowing, and the sportsman ensured that he gave the sport all he had. The rower had already won four consecutive gold medals in the Olympic Games when he participated in the Sydney 2000 Games.

Steve Redgrave’s Fifth Gold Medal

The British rower, then 38, won his fifth consecutive medal in the 2000 games, cinching his status among the sporting giants of the world. Great Britain’s won the dramatic race by only 0.38 seconds.

Michael Phelps Breaks Olympic Record

Swimmer Michael Phelps is an Olympic legend. The decorated athlete holds the record for the most Olympic medals to have been won by somebody, with his count reaching a whopping 28.

Michael Phelps Breaks Olympic Record

However, the highlight of his career was during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when Phelps won eight medals in the swimming category. This win helped him break the previously set record by U.S. Olympian Mark Spritz of seven medals and turned him from an excellent sportsman to a legendary one.

Bobby Riggs VS Billie Jean King

This is probably the most critical match in sports history in disavowing the age-old bias that men are better at sports than women.

Bobby Riggs VS Billie Jean King

Retired tennis player Bobby Riggs openly challenged all top female tennis players to a match in 1973, claiming that female tennis was a lesser sport. He played against champion Billie Jean King in a game. Billie Jean emerged victorious, making it a monumental moment for women in sports.

Liverpool Wins the 2005 Champion League

There is probably no other football match that has turned around so quickly and spectacularly as the one between Liverpool and AC Milan’s Champion League Final.

Liverpool Wins the 2005 Champion League

The 2005 match saw AC Milan reigning the scoreboard with 3-0 during halftime. While the team was busy celebrating, Liverpool was busy plotting. Soon, the scoreboard turned upside down when Liverpool scored three goals in under six minutes. The team leveled the game and went on to win it during the penalties.

Roger Bannister Breaks Four-Minute Mile

For a very long time, four minutes was the minimum time it took to finish a mile-long race. For middle-distance runners, that all changed in 1954 when British runner Roger Bannister managed to finish it under that time, but only barely.

Roger Bannister Breaks Four-Minute Mile

Despite being able to train only 45 minutes daily due to his work in the medical field, the runner finished the race in three minutes and 59.4 seconds. Today, the record is three minutes 43.13 seconds, set by Hicham El Geurrouj in 1999.

Chris Hoy Wins 3 Medals

Cyclist Chris Hoy’s life changed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when he managed to win three gold medals for the Great Britain team.

Chris Hoy Wins 3 Medals

Following his win, Hoy became the face of Britain for the cycling world. He upped his medal count in 2012, winning two more gold medals. Hoy was granted a knighthood for his amazing feat and even voted Sports Personality of the Year.

Derek Redmond Finishes With Father’s Help

The footage of Derek Redmond hobbling along the track at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games is bound to make even the most cold-hearted person tearful. The runner was running the 400 m race when he tore his hamstring in the middle.

Derek Redmond Finishes With Father’s Help

Despite the pain, Redmond seemed determined to finish out the lap. It was his father who barrelled past security and onto the track to help his son reach the finish. Although Redmond was disqualified from the race, the moment has gone down in history as one of the most touching moments ever.

England Wins Ashes Tournament After 18 Years

For England, cricket is a revered game. Sadly, the country hadn’t won the Ashes in 18 years, not since the 1986-87 series in Australia. All that came to an end after a spectacular match in 2005.

England Wins Ashes Tournament After 18 Years

Under the captaincy of Michael Vaughan, the team managed to lift the trophy again in 2005. The cherry on top? They managed to become the champs at their home ground, at Lord’s in London.

Chicago Cubs Breaks Curse

Curses in the sports world are no joke. Athletes and sports fans are very superstitious about their favorite teams. The Chicago Cubs faced something similar for 106 years, with too many curses to track and zero World Series wins.

Chicago Cubs Breaks Curse

Finally, in 2016, the Chicago cubs lifted the trophy for the World Series, and fans of the team all around the country went wild. After a long and dramatic season and more than a century’s worth of losses, the Cubs finally became winners.

Malcolm Butler Steals Super Bowl Win

Super Bowl is the national pastime for the country, with every eye glued to the TV to see which team will triumph. In the 2016 Super Bowl XLIX, the Seattle Seahawks only needed a touchdown to secure their second title.

Malcolm Butler Steals Super Bowl Win

With only two minutes left on the board, the Seattle Seahawks made their play. However, Malcolm Butler jumped the route and stole the victory for his team. The Patriots added another victory to their name with this play, and the world witnessed one of the greatest plays in NFL history.

Eagles Use Philly Special in Super Bowl Finals

The Philadelphia Eagles were facing the most significant NFL dynasty, the Patriots, in the finals for Super Bowl LII. The 2018 match saw tensions running high, but the Eagles only managed to change the course of NFL history before halftime.

Eagles Use Philly Special in Super Bowl Finals

Coach Doug Pederson switched up the play with seconds remaining in the first half, keeping the offense on the field. This trick play went down in NFL history as Philly Special, and the Eagles won the series 41-33.

Villanova Wins National Championship At Buzzer

The 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship was a nail-biter for sure. UNC was behind by ten points with only five minutes remaining but managed to get the score evened out with only five seconds left on the buzzer.

Villanova Wins National Championship At Buzzer

At such a crucial point, Villanova junior Kris Jenkins shot a three-pointer, saving the game from going into overtime and cinching a heroic win for the Wildcats, their first title since 1985.

Alex Honnold Free Solos El Capitán

El Capitan is a 3,200 ft high granite summit and the ultimate climb for professional climber Alex Honnold. Honnold’s dream was to free solo the climb, meaning without the help of any equipment.

Alex Honnold Free Solos El Capitán

Despite all the risk it presented, so much so that even Honnold’s sponsors pulled out, the climber managed to complete the feat. Not only that, but he did it in only three hours and 56 minutes. Where there is a will, there indeed is a way.

Usain Bolt Proves He’s the Fastest Man Alive

Usain Bolt repeatedly proved to the world that he isn’t just a simple runner but the Fastest Man Alive. After clinching the title, the athlete had his status elevated to almost that of a superhero.

Usain Bolt Proves He’s the Fastest Man Alive

During the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, Bolt won gold medals in the 100, 200, and 4X100 meter races. The man is fast and knows it, and his photo smiling at his opponents while he bolts past them is proof of it.

Tua Tagovailoa Takes Over and Wins Championship

The Alabama Crimson Tide Football team had a rough go in the 2018 national championship. Come halftime, head coach Nick Saban decided to change up his lineup.

Tua Tagovailoa Takes Over and Wins Championship

He benched starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and put freshman Tua Tagovailoa on the field. The next match with Tagovailoa on the field turned massively in favor of the Crimson Tide, with the team managing to push the game into overtime, finally winning and taking the title.

Patriots Win Super Bowl LI After Trailing Behind

The Patriots did not have the best start for the Super Bowl LI finals in 2017. Halfway through the third quarter, the legendary team trailed behind the Falcons, leading with scores 28-3.

Patriots Win Super Bowl LI After Trailing Behind

However, the Patriots soon turned the game around and, in the final minutes, scored 25 points. The game got pushed into overtime, and the Patriots clinched the title with the most dramatic comeback in NFL history. The game later came to be known as 28-3.

Leicester City Wins Premier League

In 2016, Leicester City was one of the most unlikely teams to win the Premier League when they entered. The team went in with only a little chance to lift the trophy, but the determined team refused to back down.

Leicester City Wins Premier League

The underdogs went on with full force in the season, finishing 23-12-3 and lifting the trophy! The most unlikely win in almost a decade.

Alex Ovechkin Finally Wins the Stanley Cup

Alex Ovechkin was the face of hockey for almost a decade in the United States. The sportsman was one of the best of his teams, dominating games and leading the NHL scoreboard six times in goal in ten years.

Alex Ovechkin Finally Wins the Stanley Cup

However, Ovechkin’s dream of lifting the Stanley Cup was long overdue despite all this. His team finally won the prestigious cup in 2018 and brought the title to D.C.

Derek Jeter’s Final Hit at Home Stadium

Derek Jeter is a superhero among Yankee fans. The baseball player had an illustrious and fruitful career that spanned over two decades and played his last match in 2014 in his home stadium — and what better way to end!

Derek Jeter’s Final Hit at Home Stadium

The legendary player’s last hit was a walk-off single that made the fans, his teammates, and even the announcers go wild. Such a brilliant ending couldn’t have been written even if somebody tried, proving that, sometimes, reality is better than fiction.

Kobe Bryant Scores 60 Points in Last Game

2016 saw the end of an era when Kobe Bryant took to the court for the last time. During his 20-season stint with the Lakers, the basketball legend was an 18-Time All-Star.

Kobe Bryant Scores 60 Points in Last Game

His last match was at the Staples Center, and fans were going crazy knowing the specialty of the match. What made it even better was that Bryant played the game and scored 60 points, all thanks to his teammates and the home crowd.

The 2018 U.S. Open Final

The 2018 Women’s U.S. Open Final was a game full of controversy and drama, not just because of the players but because of everything.

The 2018 U.S. Open Final

Not only was the game an amazing one — 20-year-old Naomi Osaka beating her idol Serena Williams to take home the title — but it had a lot of other memorable moments. Some include Osaka in tears after winning, Williams embracing the young champion, and the umpire Carlos Ramos being booed by the crowd.

Klay Thompson’s 37 – Point Quarter

Basketball has seen many elite scorers trying to score basket after basket to make records, break down the norms and emerge victorious.

Klay Thompson’s 37 – Point Quarter

Despite having many such players, the most outstanding performance ever in the NBA was given by Klay Thompson in a 2015 match against the Sacramento Kings. Thompson scored 37 points in a single quarter, an almost unheard of feat. For basketball fans, it was the closest any player had to come to a perfect video game title, ‘on fire.’

Odell Beckham Jr.’s Three-Fingered Catch

Football was thought to be played with brute strength and speed and was attributed to being a caveman sport. However, some key moments, like a 2014 Sunday Night Football Game, have changed the perception.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s Three-Fingered Catch

In this game, the famous Odell Beckham Jr. Made a beautiful catch near the goal line, using just three of his fingers. This proved that grace and flexibility are as important as everything else to play the game in the best way possible.

Isner Vs Mahut — The Longest Match in Tennis History

This was the match that refused to end, and the two players refused to give up. Nicholas Mahut and Jonathan Isner went toe to toe in 2010 at Wimbledon in a match that lasted for three days.

Isner Vs Mahut — The Longest Match in Tennis History

Isner ultimately won, but the match became known for its duration more than the consequent win. The two went down in history for their long game and would probably hold the record forever as Wimbledon changed the rules regarding its tie-breakers.

Jordan Spieth Makes the Shot of the Decade

Jordan Spieth’s miraculous Shot at No.13 in the 2017 British Open was probably the most impressive athletic achievement of the decade.

Jordan Spieth Makes the Shot of the Decade

After taking an unplayable lie, Speith quickly regrouped with his caddie, and the duo searched for 20 minutes to devise the perfect plan for the shot. Thankfully, the duo found it, and Spieth won the tournament.

Iceland’s Good Summer in the 2016 Euro Tournament

The football world has countries that reign at the top and have done so for almost all their existence. Iceland has never really been a strong contender, but the summer of 2016 saw all that change.

Iceland’s Good Summer in the 2016 Euro Tournament

The country of barely 350,000 residents not only managed to pass the group stage and gain entry into their first Euros tournament, but they also managed to take down England 2-1. No fan could have ever dreamt of this happening.

Tonya Harding Gets Banned From USFSA

Iconic historical sports moments are all amazing, but some remain memorable for darker things. Indeed, competition sometimes breeds darkness, which is never more accurate than in the Winter Olympics in 1994.

Tonya Harding Gets Banned From USFSA

Figure skating rivals Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were all set to compete to make it to the U.S. Olympics team when Kerrigan’s knee was intentionally hurt. The culprit turned out to be Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. Harding took a plea bargain, losing her title and getting banned from the USFSA.

Eric Heiden Sleeping in on His Big Day

Jitters before a big game are common, losing sleep over it even more so. That’s what happened to American speed skater Eric Heiden, who could not sleep before the fifth and final competition in the 1980 Olympics.

Eric Heiden Sleeping in on His Big Day

This led to him sleeping late and getting up late for his match! Thankfully, Heiden managed to get to the rink on time and won his fifth gold medal for the season, setting a new world record.

Federer Vs Nadal

In tennis, no male players are on a higher level than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The two have met repeatedly on the court and have even played one of the most extended games in tennis history with their 2008 Wimbledon final.

Federer Vs Nadal

However, all this failed before the display of the two long-term rivals and friends at Federer’s farewell in 2022. The duo sat hand in hand, sobbing uncontrollably. The moment’s photo has garnered international acclaim, proving that sports bring everybody together.

New Zealand Team Performs a Ceremonial Dance

New Zealand’s rugby team shocked everybody in 1888 when they performed the ceremonial dance Haka in preparation for the game.

New Zealand Team Performs a Ceremonial Dance

The dance, a pre-game ritual serving as a homage to the native people of New Zealand, the Maori, has become one of the most prominent pre-game rituals in sports history. The Māoris danced to show the tribe’s strength and unity, which are very important in any winning team.

Conor McGregor VS Aldo

Conor McGregor became an international sensation after his fight with the champion. Jose Aldo ended in a way nobody, serious McRoger fans, could have predicted.

Conor McGregor VS Aldo

13 seconds into the 2015 fight, McGregor knocked out opponent Aldo. The fight went down in history as the fastest finish for the UFC title, putting McGregor on top of the game worldwide.

American Pharoah Wins Triple Crown

The horse-racing world is elite. One of the most significant moments in the history of this exciting sport is when the horse American Pharaoh won the three powerful crowns in the same year.

American Pharoah Wins Triple Crown

No horse had achieved this feat for over 30 years when Bob Baffert’s house stole the triple crown in 2015. The three races include the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

The Undefeated Rocky Marciano

Boxing legend Rocky Marciano retired with 49 wins under his belt. He declared his hanging up of the gloves in 1952 at the age of 32.

The Undefeated Rocky Marciano

What cements this moment as a historical one is that Marciano remained undefeated throughout his career, winning all the fights he had ever played in his professional career. The heavyweight champion started fighting professionally in 1948, and until he stopped fighting, he wowed people with his prowess in the ring.

The Rumble in the Jungle

Muhammad Ali was a legendary fighter, but the boxer went through many problems before emerging victorious. Ali had to let go of all these boxing titles in 1967, with the decision only being overturned in 1971.

The Rumble in the Jungle

Three years later, Ali met heavyweight champion George Foreman in a match that went on for eight rounds. Not only did Ali emerge victorious and reclaim his crown, the event, known as Rumble in the Jungle, cemented his status as a legend in the field.