71Winter OlympicsEric the Great
Date / Feb 23, 1980
Location / Sheffield Olympic Skating Rink | Lake Placid, NY
Moment / In 1980, no athlete in any Winter Olympic games had ever won five individual gold medals. Eric Heiden changed that, winning five in speed skating. The night before his fifth and final event, the 10,000-meter race, he went to the U.S.-Soviet Union hockey game. So thrilled after the American victory, he had issues falling asleep, and then overslept for his race. He hurried to the race, then broke the world record by 6.2 seconds.
Impact / While other American Olympic champions signed endorsement deals and became public figures, Heiden didn’t like the popularity. He retired from speed skating at the end of the season. He competed in the Tour de France in 1986, then became a speed-skating analyst on television.