Known as much for his track feats as the golf hat he wore while running, Wottle surprised the track and field world with his 800-meter victory in 1972.
2 of 8Bob Martin/SI
The first Ethiopian woman to win an Olympic medal, Tulu won gold in the 10,000 meters in 1992 by more than five seconds and again in 2000. She took bronze in Athens.
3 of 8John G. Zimmerman/SI
Running barefoot in Italy, the country that had occupied his homeland, Ethiopia, 20 years prior, Bikila became the first black African to win Olympic gold when he won the 1960 marathon. He repeated the feat four years later in Tokyo.
4 of 8Vandystadt/Getty Images
Arad became the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, putting the sport of judo on the map in her country when she finished second in Barcelona, dedicating her victory to the victims of the 1972 Munich Massacre.
5 of 8Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Alexander Karelin had been undefeated for 13 years and had not given up a point in six years until Rulon Gardner defeated the Russian in the 2000 gold medal wrestling match. Gardner took bronze in 2004.
6 of 8David Cannon/Getty Images
Just two years after a cancer diagnosis prompted the removal of Blatnick's spleen and appendix and forced him to get extensive radiation treatment, he joined 1984 Olympic teammate Steve Fraser as the first Americans to win a Greco-Roman wrestling gold medal.
7 of 8Gray Mortimore/Getty Images
Britain's Redmond was expected to compete for a medal in the 400 meters in Barcelona, but pulled a hamstring in the backstretch and crumpled to the ground. Rather than take a stretcher, Redmond got up and hobbled the final 200 meters, his father joining him on the track for the homestretch as the crowd gave a standing ovation.
8 of 8John G. Zimmerman/SI
Born prematurely, Rudolph suffered scarlet fever, double pneumonia and eventually polio as a child, which forced her into metal leg braces at age 6. Fourteen years later, she won both the 100 and 200-meters at the 1960 Olympics to become the first American woman to win three gold medals at one Olympics.
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