US Olympics setbacks we’ll never forget

USA's Kerri Strug, of Houston, Texas grimaces in pain after injuring her left leg following her landing on the vault rotation during the women's team gymnastics competition at the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 23,...
USA's Kerri Strug, of Houston, Texas grimaces in pain after injuring her left leg following her landing on the vault rotation during the women's team gymnastics competition at the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 23,... (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – Simone Biles leaving team competition is just one of the striking moments in the United States history of the Games.

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Here are some of the stunning and heartbreaking moments of sadness -- and sometimes triumph -- for the United States teams and stars of Olympics past.

1. Kerri Strug’s painful vault for the win:

To seal a gold win against Russia in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Kerri Strug had to land a vault after her teammate Dominique Moceanu fell on her vault performance landing. Strug completed one vault performance but heard something snap in her ankle. In pain, she ran the vault again and stuck the landing -- hopping on one foot to complete the final pose. The iconic images of the pain on her face as she tried to leave the mat and her coach carrying her are photos we’ll never forget. Watch the moment below.

2. Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board

During the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, American diver Greg Louganis suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds.

Louganis said he heard a “big hollow thud,” according to History.com.

That “big hollow thud” was the back of Louganis’ head, which collided with the springboard.

He went on to win gold in both the springboard and platform diving events.

Louganis -- who is HIV positive -- was stitched up by a doctor who wore no gloves. No one was affected, but Louganis later revealed his diagnosis and said it helped to advance acceptance of HIV/AIDS among Americans, according to History.com.

Diver Greg Louganis, who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. Louganis' achievement during the 1988 Summer Olympics is all the more memorable as it came after he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds. (Tony Duffy /Allsport)

3. Roy Jones Jr. loses to his opponent’s surprise

At the 1988 Games in Seoul, U.S. light middleweight Roy Jones Jr. lost the gold medal fight to his South Korean opponent, Park Si-hun. The controversial fight left Jones in astonishment. Watch highlights from the bout here.

4. U.S. Basketball falls to USSR

The United States fell to the USSR in basketball at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Amid the backdrop of the Cold War, the United States was considered the dominant team in the sport, but ultimately lost the game following confusion over the final moments.

The United States appealed the decision but lost, with some saying the jury was loaded because of the five people on the jury, three -- from Cuba, Poland and the USSR -- were from Communist countries. The US appeal was rejected 3-2.

Watch highlights from the controversial game in the video below.

Did we miss any moments you remember? Let us know in the comments.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.