What kind of amazing moments will come out of the venues of the 2012 Olympics? To get an idea of what's in store, here's a look back at the 10 most inspirational moments of the Summer Games.
Eric Moussambani, a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, gained entry into the 2000 Summer Games with a wildcard used to encourage developing countries that may not have training facilities. He had never seen an Olympic-sized pool before the Games, but that didn't stop him from jumping in the pool for the 100-meter freestyle qualifying. His final time in the qualifying heat was an abysmal 1:52.72 -- the gold medalist in the event finished in 47.84 seconds. But his determination to finish was an inspirational sight.
Unified in spirit
In 2000, both North and South Korea sent a delegation to the Olympics. But what was unusual this time around was that the two countries marched in the Opening Ceremonies together behind a flag representing a unified Korea. The teams also wore matching uniforms. And while the two countries did compete for their individual nations, it was the first time they marched together in the Summer Games. The feat was repeated at the Summer and Winter Games following the 2000 Sydney Games but ended in 2008 after deteriorating political issues once again led to the countries marching in separately.
Mistake to medal
During the preliminary rounds of competition at the 1988 Games in Seoul, American diver Greg Louganis suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during a dive in the preliminary rounds of competition. The American diver barely made it to the final with stitches in his head from his contact with the board, but he went on to win gold in the event. The incident was put under a microscope years later when the diver announced he was HIV-positive and knew of his condition at the time of the accident.
In 1984, Mary Lou Retton became the first American woman to win the all-around gymnastics gold medal at the Olympics -- and the first female gymnast outside of Eastern Europe to accomplish that feat. If that wasn't enough, Retton picked up two perfect 10s in floor exercise and vault helped her eek out a win against Romania's Ecaterina Szabo. The all-around was among the five medals she won in those games -- the most by any athlete that year.
Russian Aleksandr Karelin was undefeated in 13 years of international competition going into the final match of the 2000 Sydney Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. That's when he met Rulon Gardner, an American competing in is first Summer Games. Gardner wasn't intimidated and shockingly upset the champ to win the gold medal for the Americans.
Nadia Comaneci was only 14 years old when she went to Montreal in 1976 to represent Romania in the Summer Games, but she was still old enough to stun the Olympic crowds. Her uneven bars routine during team competition earned a perfect 10 -- the first perfect score in an Olympic gymnastics event. It was so unexpected that the scoreboards couldn't even display it, instead showing her score as 1.00. Comaneci went on to win five medals during the '76 Games -- and earned six more perfect 10s during the competition.
He is The Greatest
As Cassius Clay, he won a gold medal in boxing at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Four years later, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali and became one of the biggest boxing legends in history. But it was his Olympic career that was recognized when he was chosen to light the cauldron to open the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Despite the fact that his body was showing the effects of Parkinson's syndrome, Ali raised the torch confidently before the roaring crowd to light the flame.
British runner Derek Redmond's hamstring snapped during the 400-meter competition at the Games in 1992. Determined to finish the race, he got back up and began hobbling down the track as his father, Jim, who was in the stands, barged past security to come to the aid of his son. The two crossed the finish line together. Redmond was disqualified because he had someone help him finish the race, but fans still think of him -- and his father -- as winners. In 2012, it was announced that Jim Redmond would be a part of the Olympic torch relay leading up to the Summer Games in London.
Vault into spotlight
The Americans were neck-in-neck with the Russians in the team gymnastics competition at the 1996 Games in Atlanta when disaster struck. On her first attempt at the vault, American gymnast Kerri Strug injured her ankle. She hobbled up for her second attempt and successfully landed it despite the pain. But Strug couldn't put any weight on her injured ankle, which led to a moment many fans remember as her coach carried her to the podium to receive her gold medal. She was later diagnosed with an ankle sprain and tendon damage.
Chancellor Adolf Hitler expected the 1936 Games in Berlin to be a showcase for German athletes and to promote the idea of Aryan racial superiority. And then came American Jesse Owens, who shocked the Olympic community by winning four gold medals in track and field events. His performance also opened the eyes of many Americans during a time when blacks were denied equal rights in the United States. Owens' four-medal record was matched in 1984 when American Carl Lewis won gold medals in the same four events -- 100- and 200-meter dashes, 400 relay and long jump.