Iconic sports moments in pictures
We’ve added 3.5 million new images so you can revive the most spectacular moments in sports history.
6 min read
Ayrton Senna of Brazil during the final practice session, Japanese Grand Prix 1988
All was almost lost. The starting lights turned green and Ayrton Senna’s car didn’t start. The races in the 1988 season were spectacular –– all races (except one) were won by either Senna or his teammate Alain Prost. The Japanese Grand Prix was the decider. Winning would see Senna crowned as world champion, unfortunately his troubled start to the race pushed him back to 16th position. Yet, in the 28th lap the impossible happened, Senna passed his teammate and competitor Prost to take poll position and went on to win the world championship.
Billie Jean King is honored at the U.S. Open, 2006
Billie Jean King became an icon, best known for her victory over former world champion Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. Over 50 million people worldwide watched the game via television and it was one of many steps for women's equality in sports. Aside from her epic sports career – which includes 20 championship title wins at Wimbledon, and the first female to win more than $100,000 in a single year – King actively fights for women’s and LGBTQ rights until this very day.
Ben Johnson wins gold in the 100m sprint, Olympics 1988
With his bullet start and phenomenal speed, Ben Johnson left rivals in his wake while spectators watched in awe. The Canadian sprinter not only won the Olympic Gold medal in the 100 meter final, but also set a new world record (9.79 seconds). 24 hours later it was reported that Johnson failed a drug test. A banned anabolic steroid was spotted in his sample and he was stripped of his gold medal and title.
Lindsey Vonn celebrates after the Women's Downhill final race, FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup 2018
It is the end of an era – skiing icon Lindsey Vonn announced that season 2018/19 will be her last. If Vonn wins five World Cup titles this winter, she'll surpass Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 total World Cup wins. Vonn's consistency and strength throughout the years are remarkable given her devastating crash in February 2013, and another 9 months later which almost ended her career.
Diego Maradona holds up the World Cup trophy, 1986
The 1980s were tumultuous for Maradona. First, the Argentinian dropped out of his national team for a couple of years after receiving a red card during the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Then in December of the same year he was diagnosed with hepatitis.
In 1983 Maradona seriously injured his leg when Andoni Goikoetxea (known as the “Butcher of Bilbao”) executed an ill-timed tackle that almost ended Maradona’s career. Following significant treatment, Maradona got back on his feet, leading his country team to the final of the 1986 World Cup. The first goal, scored by Maradona in the 51st minute, became known as the "Hand of God goal".
Serena Williams celebrates a point in tie break, US Open 1999
Don’t stop me now!
1999 delivered a breakthrough season for 17-year-old Serena Williams, who would go on to become an activist for women in sports.
Williams managed to play herself to the 1999 US Open women's singles final –– facing the world’s number one, Martina Hingis. Williams’ powerful and clean strokes to set up shorter replies for Hingis to counter. Both women pushed each other during the game, keeping everyone in suspense. Even the security guard stood up through pure excitement. Winning the 1999 US Open set the tone for Serena Williams' record-breaking career.
Muhammad Ali defends his WBA Heavyweight Title against Richard Dunn,1976
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee"
In 1960, at just 18-years-old, Muhammad Ali won his first Olympic Gold in Rome. Four years later, he became world heavyweight champion –– a title he would claim three times. Despite controversies, due to his involvement with the Nation of Islam and his refusal to serve after being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, he was lauded for his immense power, agility and stamina. Ali was also known for a particularly deadly strategy: Patiently waiting for his opponent to tire out then striking with precision.