Frenzied, cheering crowds. Stunned, elated athletes. Solemn, tear-soaked medal ceremonies. The Olympics are a powerfully moving celebration of athletic achievement. All the athletes who participate have spent long hours, shed buckets of sweat and dedicated themselves to training in hopes that they'll one day be the best of the best.
But there are some Olympic athletes who truly stand out. Athletes whose stories are so incredible that it's hard to believe they're true. Whether they overcame great odds to reach the top of the podium or were just so extraordinarily talented it defies the mind, their accomplishments are unforgettable.
Every one of the Olympic athletes on this list fits that bill of absolutely amazing, so let's kick things off with a bang -- and race right off the starting blocks.