With this being the eve of the Fourth of July, Metro thinks it’s only right to look back at the Top 5 Most American Sports Moments in history.
5. Whitney Houston’s Rousing National Anthem at The Super Bowl
Whitney Houston’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa back in 1991 was so powerful and rousing that Arista Records subsequently released it as a single and video due to public demand. The timing of Houston’s glowing, beautiful singing of the national anthem coincided with the start of the Gulf War, making it all the more memorable and impactful. More than 27 years later, Houston’s stirring rendition of the song still stands the test of time.
4. Brandi Chastain’s World Cup Winning Goal
Absolute euphoria. That’s the best way to describe the way Brandi Chastain felt scoring a penalty shootout goal against China to win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. After scoring the electric goal, an elated Chastain removed her U.S. jersey and threw her arms in the air in celebration, wearing only a sports bra in an image that was immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Awesome.
3. Jesse Owens Blasts Hitler
Hitler wanted to use the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin as a global platform to flex Nazi Germany’s muscle. Well, as a Black man, Jesse Owens shattered that attempt, winning four gold medals: long jump, 100 meters, 200 meters and 4 x 100-meter relay. It’s American sports dominance that will never be forgotten.
2. Mike Piazza’s Post-9/11 Home Run
It was 10 days since 9/11, the most horrific terrorist attack on U.S. soil, when New York hosted a sporting event. The New York Mets were hosting the Atlanta Braves that night, Sept. 21, at Shea Stadium, with the crowd — and country — looking for a brief escape and to get back into the swing of normal, everyday life. The Mets’ then-catcher, Mike Piazza, provided both by hitting an eighth-inning home run, which paved the way for the team to win and for New York City to crack a much-needed smile.
Piazza’s memorable homer from that game is one of the post-9/11 moments included in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum’s new exhibit, which documents how sports helped the country heal following the terrorist attacks. Another moment included is then-president George W. Bush throwing the first pitch at Yankee Stadium before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.
1. Miracle on Ice
On one side, it was the Soviet Union, winners of five of the past six Winter Olympic men’s ice hockey gold medals, with a squad consisting of mostly professional players. On the other side, it was all-amateur players representing the Americans. The Soviet Union demolished the U.S., 10-3, in an exhibition game days before the 1980 Winter Olympics began made the Americans that much more of an underdog against its Cold War rival.
That being said, the U.S. was somehow able to rally from a 3-2 third-period deficit to score two unanswered goals and shock the Soviets with a 4-3 upset in the medal round. That prompted sports broadcaster Al Michaels’s iconic call, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
The U.S. went on to capture the gold medal by defeating Finland in the final. The fact that those Olympics were on U.S. soil (Lake Placid, NY) made the monumental upset all the more patriotic.