Who can forget Spitz feat? He inspired my Olympic dream

From seven golds in the pool to Ali lighting the flame: Sharron Davies recalls her top 10 Olympic moments


1. Spitz wins his seven golds: Munich 1972


In every sport people have a life-changing, eureka moment. Mine was watching Mark Spitz win seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics in Munich when I was 11. It was all over the newspaper and it's stuck in my brain. There were huge news stories going on about the shootings but I don't remember those, I just remember him collecting all of his medals. It was very inspiring – a career defining moment for me.

2. Phelps equals Spitz's feat: Beijing 2008

Years later I was at the side of the pool, in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, when Michael Phelps came out of the water after winning the 100m fly by 0.01sec. He's so in demand and obviously goes to American TV first but I'd put in to speak to him and he was talking to me when he realised he'd got it, he was so animated and practically bouncing off the wall.



3. Watching my friends Christie and Gunnell hit gold: Barcelona 1992

The Barcelona Olympics in 1992 were particularly special to me as they were the last time I competed at a Games, at the age of 30. I'd been competing in them since I was 13 but now I was grown up and could appreciate how special it was to be there. I got to watch Linford Christie win the 100m gold and Sally Gunnell win the 400m hurdles gold on the track – watching your friends do that is special.



4. Korbut captivates: Munich '72; Comaneci is perfect: Montreal '76

In the 1972 Munich Games 17-year-old Olga Korbut captured the hearts of the world. She was an impish little Russian on the uneven bars and wiped tears from her eyes after a disappointing display in that event. She made everyone realise the Russians weren't all robots. Four years later, Nadia Comaneci from Romania, at 14, got perfect 10s in the same event, something that had never happened before.



5. 'Eric the Eel' epitomises the Olympic spirit: Sydney 2000

Eric Moussambani – or "Eric The Eel" – is one of those people that epitomises the Olympics. He trained in a river to represent Guinea in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I was standing at the side of the pool thinking, "I'm going to have to dive in and save him." While everyone wants to see top athletes competing, the Olympics are about encompassing the world and are an important lesson for everyone.



6. Redgrave becomes Britain's greatest Olympian: Sydney 2000

I was on an exercise bike in my hotel room in Australia watching on TV when Steve Redgrave won his fifth rowing gold medal – his fifth successive Games with a gold medal – in the coxless four. It was one of those moments everyone in Britain knows where they were when it happened.



7. Redmond's dad helps him over the line: Barcelona 1992

No one can forget when Derek Redmond was helped over the finish line by his father after pulling a hamstring in the 400m semi-final in the 1992 Olympics. He'd been plagued with injury all his life and then this happens. I watched it afterwards and ended up marrying Derek.



8. Louganis cracks his head on the board: Seoul 1988

It was a chilling moment when Greg Louganis split his head open on the diving board in the 1988 Seoul Games. There was massive controversy afterwards when he revealed he was HIV positive and had lied to the doctors about it.



9. Tears of joy at watching Chariots of Fire: Moscow 1980

A group of us who had won medals at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow were invited to a big awards ceremony and decided to see the film Chariots of Fire, about two inspiring athletes in the 1924 Paris Games, beforehand. There were 30 of us and we sat there with tears rolling down our faces.



10. Stricken Ali lights the flame at opening ceremony: Atlanta '96

You could hear a pin drop the moment Muhammad Ali, with his hand shaking due to Parkinson's, lit the flame at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?