In choosing the 7 greatest sporting moments of all time, the first thing which must be eliminated is parochialism – that one’s own sporting moments dominate the selection.
An example of this is the Wikipedia list of greatest moments, as chosen by a British poll. Naturally, it was heavily biased towards UK events. An American poll would include heaps of baseball and football and one mentioned “The shot heard round the world–The Yankees of the 1960” and Bill Mazeroski. Who? The Brits mention Prince Nazeem and the Americans ask, “Who?”
Nor is it enough to judge by how international the sport is or how many people remember it round the world. There might have been an amazing triumph in an obscure part of the globe. Perhaps the criteria are that it had to defy the odds, be a first, be at the elite level and make its way beyond its native shores.
I’m thinking of some Super Bowl triumphs which most people have never seen or some cricket highlights no Americans have ever seen.
So, in no particular order, these are mine from the 50s onwards:
1. Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10
2. Australia 2 lifting the America’s Cup after 132 years, a deed which saw both crews on the White House lawn with Ronald Reagan
3. Eddie the Eagle’s popularity at the Calgary Olympics
4. Germany, virtually destroyed after the war, took on the mighty Hungarian side in 1954 who had already beaten them 8-3 and they lifted the World Cup
5. The “Three Second Match” in which the USSR defeated the USA in basketball after one of the longest winning streaks. The American team refused their silver medals.
6. USA defeats the USSR in 1980 in the hockey Olympics
7. Roger Bannister’s mile