When It Was Taken: 1996 Summer Olympics
Why It's Iconic: The year 1996 was the year the Women's U.S. Gymnastics team swore they would bring home gold for the first time. They promised.
They were so focused that they stayed in a hotel outside of the Olympic village. They wanted this bad.
Going into the final event, the vault, the U.S. had a commanding lead over Russia. They were so far out in front that some Russian gymnasts had already begun to cry before the vault started.
But then, the lead started to evaporate like water on a stove when one of U.S.A.'s best, Dominique Moceanu, fell twice leaving the gold medal very much up for grabs.
It was all up to quiet, 4'9" gymnast Kerri Strug, considered by many, one of the team's weakest links.
On her first vault she takes an ugly spill and hears her left ankle snap. When her score, 9.162 is posted it seems hope for gold is all but lost.
Strug tries to psyche herself up for her second vault, but her leg is in agonizing pain. Coach Bela Karyoli approaches her and says, "Kerri, we need you to go one more time. We need you to go one more time for the gold."
Strug removes the ice pack from her ankle, stands up and says a prayer: "Please, God, help me make this vault. I know I can do it one more time, injured ankle or not."
She sprints down the runaway on a severely damaged ankle and nails a back handspring onto the vault, then descends into the air.
Everybody in the gym realizes the pain she'll be in once she lands. But somehow, someway she lands it without stumbling. But she hears another crack in her ankle, so she tucks it behind her and keeps her balance on one-leg to stay in traditional post-performance position.
After she's stood just long enough to please the judges, she falls to the mat crying and holding her crushed ankle. So her coach scoops her up and carries her around the gym as it erupts to chants of "Kerri, Kerri!"
She's carried off on a stretcher before her score—9.712 (enough to ensure U.S. victory)—appears on the scoreboard.
The paramedics are ready to take Kerri to the hospital for X-rays, but she says no. She wants to be with her team. So coach Karyoli carries her toward the podium where her teammates then lift her up to accept their gold medals.
Strug gets extra points here for actually making us care about gymnastics.