Eight years of heartbreak led Pablo Morales to this: the 1992 100-meter butterfly final and a chance to write one of the great comeback stories in U.S. swimming history.
Morales had been favored to win the 1984 100 fly and finished second. He then didn't qualify for the '88 Games, a shocking development that led to a three-and-a-half year retirement.
His mother's death from cancer in 1991 inspired Morales to get back in the pool and the 27-year-old surprised most observers by quickly recovering his old form.
On a sunny day in Barcelona, with his father watching from the stands, Morales finished .03 seconds ahead of Poland's Rafal Szukala to finally win that elusive gold medal.
He also become the oldest American to capture an Olympic swimming title since 1920.
Morales told reporters afterward:
"When I was up on the victory stand I was thinking that my mother would want to be here to experience this, and I know that she was with me in spirit. This was my time at last."*
*Information via The Complete Book of the Olympics