Happy 4th of July to all!
I hope everyone enjoys a day of alcohol, blowing shit up, family, swimming, BBQ and wearing obnoxious Murica apparel.
While there is still plenty of progress to be made on this great nation, today we celebrate our independence. One of the biggest triumphs is being back to back World War champs. Then, there was also the time President Thomas J. Whitmore rallied the world to defeat those damn aliens.
Of course that doesn’t happen without the great sacrifice of Randy Quaid.
Here are my 10 Best Team USA moments…
10. 1992 Dream Team
It would be wrong to leave them off given this was the best Team USA ever assembled. The reason it’s not higher is because they did what they were supposed to do, obliterate everyone in their path.
9. Jesse Owens (Berlin 1936)
He will forever be an icon in US and Olympic History. Not only did he, as an American, go to Nazi Germany and dominate. He was also black. A Black American sticking it to one of the most disgusting leaders in modern history, it doesn’t get much better than that.
8. Muhammad Ali Takes the Torch (Atlanta 1996)
One of my favorite athletes in the history of sports. There will always be a soft spot for the baddest. Ali was asked to be part of the torch lighting at the 1996 Olympics. This was after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Janet Evans runs up the ramp as Ali emerges from the other side. You can see his body shaking from the disease. But, he stands there with the torch valiantly and prideful as ever.
7. Tommie Smith and John Carlos
One of the most iconic images in the history of US sports. During the medal ceremony as the National Anthem is played, Smith and Carlos hold up their fists as a salute to black power. This was several months after the Civil Rights Act was established.
6. Carli Lloyd Turns into Cheat Code (2015)
I remember watching the final of the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and couldn’t believe what was actually happening. It took Lloyd all of 16 minutes to secure the hat trick, including one from near midfield.
5. Landon Donovan 91st Minute Goal
It could be the most iconic goal in US Men’s Soccer history to date. In a World Cup game against Algeria, US pushes the ball up knowing there isn’t much time. After a save by the goal keeper leaves him on the ground, Donovan mops up the leftovers and US seals the victory. For a team that ultimately sucks on the international stage, it was certainly an amazing moment.
4. 1999 Women’s World Cup Win Over China
This is my first and earliest memory of US Women’s Soccer. From this point forward, I was hooked to this team. They defeated China in 1996 2-1 for the Gold at the Olympics. They met them again in the World Cup Final. After several near goals in extra time, the game ended 0-0 thus going to a shootout. The US goes on to win 5-4. In one of the more controversial moments, Brandi Chastain seals it with her goal and then takes off her jersey revealing a sports bra falling to her knees in celebration. Absolutely fucking glorious moment.
3. Michael Phelps’ 8 Gold Medals (2008)
The most decorated and greatest Olympian to date. It all began in 2008 when he won 8 gold medals breaking Mark Spitz’ record of 7.
2. Miracle on Ice (1980)
I will never not love this moment for so many reasons. One, sports are all about the underdogs. USA was the ultimate under dog in this game. Second, the “do you believe in miracles? YES!” is easily the greatest call in sports history. So thanks Al Michaels. You can’t watch that not and get goosebumps.
1. Julie “The Cat” Gaffney Elevates Team USA over Iceland (1994 Junior Goodwill Games)
The greatest coach in sports history, Gordon Bombay makes a gutsy call pulling Greg Goldberg in favor of Gaffney to face off with the greatest youth hockey star, Gunner Stahl of Iceland. The move paid off as Stahl was no match for The Cat’s quick glove. They upset the heavy favorite in the final after losing earlier in the tournament 12-1. As Bombay said in his pre-tourney presser, “we’re Team USA and we’re going all the way.”