Greek divers Thomas Bimis and Nikolaos Siranidis were said to have absolutely no chance of medaling at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Instead they emerged as champions, earning the city its first gold medals of the games, as well as Greece's first ever medals in diving. Needless to say, they made a huge splash -- although, of course, that was with news media and avid fans, not in the pool.
Synchronized divers on the 3-meter platform, the duo was the only team to keep their cool throughout their series of dives, even after a man in a tutu broke free from the crowd, jumped up onto the diving platform, and with an advertisement emblazoned across his chest, proceeded to belly flop into the water below.
With badly rattled nerves, team after team choked following the incident, but the Greeks didn't let that bizarre intermission shake them up and they finished the competition victorious. Immediately following the judges' proclamation, however, they -- and a bevy of extremely fired up fans -- went wild with exhilaration and delight. The pair was enveloped in an ecstatic crowd, all of them singing, dancing and waving Greek flags with unadulterated pride.
Author's Note: 5 Amazing Olympic Athletes
I love the Olympics. Really, really love them. As in, I do little else but sit glued to the TV for the two weeks they run. (Uh, sorry Boss.) So, obviously, I extremely enjoyed writing this article. These were all such wonderful and inspiring stories. Reading about Jesse Owens, for example, definitely left me a little teary eyed. So did writing about Thomas Bimis and Nikolaos Siranidis. I remember watching them on TV as they found out they had emerged from the competition victorious. Their incredible excitement and pure elation is something I will never forget. And not to overlook giving Babe Didrikson a shout out here, she was simply one of the most amazing athletes ever. I'm such a fan I've even visited her museum. That was one impressive lady!
- "1904 Olympics." DatabaseOlympics.com. (May 4, 2012) http://www.databaseolympics.com/games/gamessport.htm?g=3&sp=GYM
- Agence France-Presse. "Artistic Gymnasts." ESPN. 2008. (May 4, 2012) http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/fanguide/athlete?athlete=7745
- "Babe Didrikson Zaharias." BabeDidriksonZaharias.org. (May 4, 2012). http://www.babedidriksonzaharias.org/wp/
- Berg, Aimee. "Greek Divers Win Unexpected Gold As Favorites Flop." The New York Sun. Aug. 17, 2004. (May 4, 2012) http://www.nysun.com/sports/greek-divers-win-unexpected-gold-as-favorites-flop/386/
- Fraser, Andrew. "Greek duo revel in golden delight." BBC. (May 4, 2012) http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics_2004/3571738.stm
- "George Eyser." DataBaseOlympics.com. (May 4, 2012) http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ey/george-eyser-1.html
- "George Eyser." Olympics.org. (May 4, 2012) http://www.olympic.org/medallists-results?games=31373&athletename=eyser&category=1&sport=&event=&mengender=true&womengender=false&mixedgender=false&teamclassification=false&individualclassification=false&continent=&country=&goldmedal=false&silvermedal=false&bronzemedal=false&targetresults=true&worldrecord=false&olympicrecord=false
- "George Eyser." SportReference.com. (May 4, 2012) http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ey/george-eyser-1.html
- "George Eyser -- amputee Olympic Gymnast." GymnasticCoaching.com. July 30, 2011. (May 4, 2012) http://gymnasticscoaching.com/new/2011/07/george-eyser-amputee-olympic-gymnast/
- JesseOwens.com. (May 4, 2012) http://www.jesseowens.com/
- Jesse Owens Memorial Park Web site. (May 4, 2012) http://www.jesseowensmuseum.org/
- London 2012 (May 4, 2012) http://www.london2012com/
- NBC Olympics Coverage. (May 4, 2012) http://www.nbcolympics.com.
- NBC Universal. "Diving: Inside This Sport: History." NBC Beijing 2008. (May 4, 2012) http://www.2008.nbcolympics.com/diving/insidethissport/history/newsid=119258.html
- Official Site of the Olympics Movement. (May 4, 2012) http://www.olympic.org/
- "Olympics 2012." Families Online. April 23, 2012 (May 4, 2012) http://www.familiesonline.co.uk/LOCATIONS/Chiltern/Articles2/Olympics-20122/Olympics-2012#.T6gzLejOypc
- Schwartz, Larry. "Didrikson was a woman ahead of her time." ESPN. http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00014147.html
- Sochi 2014. (May 4, 2012) http://sochi2014.com/en/
- Spalding, A. G. "Spalding's Official Athletic Almanac." January 1905. (May 4, 2012) http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1904/1904Spal.pdf
The Olympic opening ceremony is an emotional and inspiring parade of athletes. Learn about the Olympic opening ceremonies at HowStuffWorks.