Top Emotional Moments of 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Announced
Fans Log on to NBCOlympics.com to Select Their Favorite Kleenex Moments(TM)
ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- An Olympic Games without emotional stories is like a day in Athens without sunshine. Since the Opening Ceremonies began on Friday, Aug. 13, unforgettable moments of triumph and tragedy have kept sports fans -- and the sentimental -- on the edge of their seats, and logging onto http://NBCOlympics.com to vote for their favorite "Kleenex Moment of the Day." As an official supplier for the U.S. Olympic Team, Kleenex(R) Brand tissue has captured and chronicled the most unforgettable moments in Athens throughout the 2004 Olympic Games that struck an emotional chord with Americans back home. Each day, NBCOlympics.com featured three new moments from the previous day's competition, allowing fans to rewind, replay and reminisce about the emotional moments of the Olympic Games. A photo gallery of images will continue to run until September 15. The following Kleenex Moments received the most votes from fans on NBCOlympics.com: 1. Carly makes it two in a row Carly Patterson and her coach were all smiles following another historic U.S. triumph in all-around gymnastics. A night after gymnast Paul Hamm's victory, Patterson made the U.S. the only nation other than the Soviet Union ever to sweep the all-around titles at one Olympics. 2. Rulon's bronze goodbye Rulon Gardner won our hearts with an incredible victory in Sydney. He won Olympic bronze after overcoming a series of injuries and accidents to qualify for his second Games. The happy, weeping Greco-Roman giant left his shoes on the mat to declare his retirement. 3. Paul Hamm lands a gold Paul Hamm nailed the landing on the horizontal bar and knew right then that he'd just become the first American man ever to win an Olympic gymnastics all-around title. It was an incredible recovery from what could have been a disastrous error on the vault, where he fell over on the landing. 4. Phelps and Vendt celebrate Swimmer Michael Phelps is on a singular quest but still a team player. After a world record performance in the 400m IM, winning the first of six gold medals, the 19-year-old embraced his teammate Erik Vendt, the silver medallist. The pair let out celebratory whoops and raised their arms in victory. 5. Freestyle gold, by a hair The U.S. pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the Games by winning the men's 4x200m freestyle relay by the thinnest of margins. The victory earned Michael Phelps his second gold of the night and ended a seven-year Australian winning streak. When Klete Keller touched the wall .13 second before Ian Thorpe, the foursome went wild. These moments, which often happen outside the realm of competition, give athletes, and fans alike, memories that last a lifetime. According to John Naber, a four-time gold medallist and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, the emotional moments associated with the Olympic Games bring viewers closer to athletes in a way unlike any other sporting competition. "When fans watch athletes competing in Olympic Games, they witness ordinary people achieving the extraordinary," notes Naber. "For that reason, whether you're sitting in the stadium, at home on your couch, you feel every bit of excitement, pride, joy and sorrow the athletes do during the Olympic Games." Past Kleenex Moments of the Olympic Games include wrestler Jeff Blatnick falling to his knees seconds after winning the gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, just two years after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease; Janet Evans passing the Olympic torch to Muhammad Ali during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta; and Kerri Strug waving to the crowd, from coach Bela Karolyi's arms after spraining her ankle on her final vault days later.
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