25 Most Memorable Sports Plays In History

Although the past century has certainly had its share of memorable moments in sporting, there are certain instances that stand out above the rest. Sometimes it’s something huge like when American sprinter Jesse Owens stood up to the Nazis during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and other times its something much smaller, like an act of incredible sportsmanship. Whatever it is though, from big to small and everything in between, here are the 25 most memorable sports plays in history.

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Lynn Swann’s Juggling Catch (1975)

Lynn Swann’s Juggling Catch 1975

Lynn Swann’s performance during Super Bowl X resulted in him being named as the year’s most valuable player. The highlight moment was his 53-yard juggling reception. As he tipped the ball to himself, he was able to somehow catch it as it fell to the ground and the Steelers took the Cowboys 21-17.


Jesse Owens Debunks Aryan Myth (1936)

Jesse Owens Debunks Aryan Myth 1936

Jesse Owens, an African American athlete, went directly up against the Aryan dominance message of the Third Reich during the summer Olympics of 1936 in Berlin. He showed his dominance by setting three world records and one Olympic record, a feat that remained unmatched for 48 years. He won the Olympic record of 10.3 seconds in the 100-meter dash, another Olympic record of 20.7 seconds in the 200 meters, and yet another world record 39.8 seconds in the 4×100-meter relay.


Jackie Robinson’s Major League Contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1945)

Jackie Robinson’s Major League Contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers 1945

Jackie Robinson was hailed as the first man to break the color barrier in the world of baseball when he became the first African American to play in the major leagues. After enduring trials and tribulations, he led the Brooklyn Dodgers to the World Series, while being honored as the Rookie of the Year. Here he was not only credited for his memorable sports plays, but in his determination as well to raise the lot of his countrymen away from social emancipation.


Roger Bannister Breaks Four-Minute Mile (1954)

Roger Bannister Breaks Four-Minute Mile 1954

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man to achieve an unthinkable feat – to run a mile in less than four minutes. A 25-year-old British medical student, his close time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds was accomplished at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England during a 15mph crosswind with up to 25 mph gusts of wind, which at first was the reason why he wanted to call of the event. His feat was witnessed by 3,000 spectators including Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, both of whom made the announcement of his feat in the final 200-yard push and immortalized his record.


The Catch (1954)

The Catch (1954)

This was the name given to the “play” made by New York Giant’s outfielder Willie Mays during the 1954 World Series. One of the most memorable catches in the game’s history, it prevented the Indians from scoring any more runs and the Giants won the game in overtime going on to sweep the series.

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