Kerri Strug at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
Muhammad Ali, Boxing, 1960
Karen Perreira, Receiving Supervisor
An 18-year-old Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) dominated the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Olympics, defeating Zbigniew Pietryskowsky of Poland with a 5-0 decision for the gold. It’s been said that Ali was so excited about winning that he didn’t take off the medal for two days. Ali helped popularize boxing with his personality as well as his skill. In 1964 Ali won the World Heavyweight Championship over Sonny Liston, won it again in 1974 over George Foreman, and then won it once more in 1978 over Leon Spinks.
Olga Korbut, Gymnastics, 1972
Terry Converse, Assistant Controller/Creative Design
In contrast to the stoic appearance of most Russian gymnasts, Olga Korbut wore her emotions on her sleeve and became the darling of the 1972 Olympics. Korbut earned gold in the balance beam, floor exercise and the team competition. In 1976, injuries affected her ability to challenge Romania’s Nadia Comaneci, but she won gold in the team competition and silver in the balance beam.
Nadia Comaneci, Gymnast, 1976
Carol Boulet, Receiving
In 1976 Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first Olympian to score a perfect 10, doing so during the uneven bars in the team portion of the competition. As the scoreboard could not display 10.0, the marks were instead listed as 1.00. In addition to winning the all-around title in those Games, she also earned gold in the uneven bars and the balance beam. In 1980 she won two more gold medals: the balance beam and the floor; in total for the two Games, Comaneci won nine Olympic medals.
Bruce Jenner, Track, 1976
Mike Drowne, Property and Facility Manager
Although he’s now best known for being the stepfather of Kardashian “kids” Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob, Jenner won the gold medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics for the decathlon. Jenner dominated with a world record 8,618 points (exceeding the record of 8,429 he’d set the previous year) over West Germany’s Guido Kratschmer. After the Games Jenner appeared on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box.
Sugar Ray Leonard, Boxing, 1976
Karim Ghonem, Creative/Design Coordinator
In 1976 Sugar Ray Leonard won the light welterweight gold medal, winning all six bouts with a 5-0 decision. Leonard became the first boxer to earn $100 million in prize money and titles in five bodyweight divisions, defeating boxing legends such as Wilfred Benitez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durán and Marvin Hagler.
Vasily Alexeev, Weightlifting, 1976
Kim Goss, Editor
The winner of the super heavyweight gold medal in the Olympics earns the title “Strongest Man in the World.” The most famous of these gold medal winners is Vasily Alexeev. An easy winner in 1972, he went into the 1976 Games not holding any world records. Alexeev secured the gold medal on his first clean and jerk with a lift of 230 kilos and then jumped to 255 kilos to reclaim his clean and jerk and total world records. In addition to earning these two golds, Alexeev broke 80 world records, the most of any weightlifter in the history of the sport.
Mary Lou Retton, Gymnastics, 1984
Heidi Clarke, Customer Service Representative
With her bubbly personality and infectious smile, Mary Lou Retton broke the European dominance in gymnastics by capturing gold in the all-around title, along with two silver medals (team, vault) and two bronze (uneven bars, floor). She was named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year” (and appeared on the Wheaties box).
1984 Carl Lewis, Track, 1984
Matt Campagnone, Shipping Department
Carl Lewis won gold in four Olympics (1984, ’88, ’92, ’96) in four events. One of his goals was to match the four gold medals Jesse Owens won in the 1936 Games, and Lewis did this in 1984 when he won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100-meter relay and the long jump. During his career he won nine Olympic gold medals and one silver. Lewis set world records in the 100 meters, 4x100 meters, 4x200-meter relay, and the indoor world record in the long jump; over a span of 10 years he won 65 consecutive victories in the long jump.
Florence Griffith-Joyner, Sprints, 1988
Laanna Carrasco, Editor
In the 1988 Olympics sprinter Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith-Joyner captured gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. In the 100, she ran 10.54 to defeat 1984 Olympic champion Evelyn Ashford. In the 200, Flo-Jo broke the world record with 21.34. She became an international sensation with her six-inch fuchsia nails and the one-legged leotards she designed, which she nicknamed “athletic negligees.”
Jackie Joyner Kersee, Track, 1988
Kathy Bertwell, Receptionist
Jacqueline “Jackie” Joyner-Kersee established herself as one of the greatest athletes in the world in the 1988 Olympics when she won the heptathlon with 7,291 points, a world record that still stands. She also won the long jump. Joyner-Kersee competed in four Olympics and won three gold medals, one silver and two bronze.
Greg Louganis, Diving, 1988
Wendy Gallo, Customer Service Representative
A gold medal winner in 1984 in the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform, Louganis was a favorite to repeat in 1988. However, during the preliminary rounds he hit his head performing a reverse 2 ½ pike and suffered a concussion. He came back to dominate 3-meter springboard by 25 points; then, in the 10-meter finals it went to the last dive, and his total of 638.61 surpassed the silver medalist by just 1.15 points.
Dream Team, Basketball, 1992
Caroleen Jones, COO
Winning only bronze in basketball didn’t sit well with the US in 1988, and so for 1992 the US put together 11 NBA players and one collegiate player to form what became known as the “Dream Team.” The team was a Who’s Who of basketball legends: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler and John Stockton; the college selection was Christian Laettner, who began his pro career after the Games with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Dream Team won each game by an average of 43.8 points and the gold by a score of 117-85 over Croatia.
Kerri Strug, Gymnastics, 1996
Jo-Ann Chandler, Controller &
Kris Gray, Customer Service Representative
At the age of 14 Strug was a member of the 1992 gymnastics team that won a bronze in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She returned in 1996 to help her team win gold that year. Strug is remembered for her courage for completing a vault after severely injuring her ankle; she earned a score of 9.712, landing on both feet and then hopping to her uninjured foot to salute the judges.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Beach Volleyball, 2004
Janelle Avila, Director of Development
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh competed as a team in their first Olympics in 2004, dominating by not losing a single game in their seven matches; they followed their success with gold in 2008. This team is considered “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time” and hopes to win a third consecutive gold medal in the London Games.
Usain Bolt, Sprints, 2008
Stephanie Melfi, Director of E-Commerce
Considered primarily a 200-meter runner, Bolt started focusing on the 100 meters only 13 months prior to the 2008 Olympics. Nevertheless, Bolt ran a world record 9.69, then followed that with a world record in the 200 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. Three gold medals and three world records – and he made all of them look easy.
Dara Torres, Swimming, 2008
Paula Rabbitt, Administrative Assistant
Proving age is just a number, Dara Torres has competed in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2004, 2008) and has won a total of 12 medals, four of which are gold. In the 2008 games, at the age of 41, she won a silver medal in the women’s 50-meter freestyle and set an American record in the process; the first time she broke an American record in that event was at the age of 15. She won two more silver medals in the 2008 games, the 4x100-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley. She almost made her sixth Olympics, just missing placing third in the final of the 2012 trials for the 50-meter freestyle.
Michael Johnson, Track, 1996
Chris Schmidt, Education Department
Michael Johnson won gold medals in three Olympics; in 1996 he won the 200- and 400-meter sprint events, becoming the first (and, so far, only) male athlete to do so. Johnson used an unconventional running style that did not have the conventional high knee lift used by many sprinters. Wearing gold racing spikes, Johnson broke the 200-meter world record of 19.32; he also won gold in the 400 with an Olympic record of 43.49, nearly a second ahead of the silver medalist. Early that year he broke the world record in the 200 with 19.66, breaking the existing record of 19.72, which had been held for 17 years, making his 19.32 in the Olympics even more remarkable.
Shawn Johnson, Gymnastics, 2008
Kelsey DeSanctis, Education Department
Shawn Johnson earned a gold medal in the balance team and three silvers in Beijing in 2008. Teammate Nastia Luikin edged Johnson for the all-around title, a result that made history, as it was the first time the US took gold and silver in this competition in the same Games. Johnson became a familiar face in the media, and won season eight of the ABC’s Dancing with the Stars with partner Mark Ballas.
Brazil, Women’s Volleyball, 2008
Erna Gianfrancesco, Shipping Department
The Brazil National Women’s Volleyball Team had always been a powerful force in Olympic competition, and prior to coming to Beijing had earned bronze medals in the 1996 and 2000 Games. In 2008, Brazil finally won gold, defeating the United States, 3-1, in front of 13,000 fans.
Michael Phelps, Swimmer, 2008
Jarred Seaback, Shipping Department
Michael Phelps has won more Olympic medals than any other athlete, a total of 16 medals, 14 of them gold. The big number Phelps was chasing in the 2008 Games was seven, which is the number of gold medals that Mark Spitz won in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Phelps won his eighth gold medal in the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay with a time of 3 minutes and 29.34 seconds, a world record.
Those are our picks – who are your champions?