The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are a little more than a month away, and athletes around the world are gearing up to participate in their events.
No doubt legends will be made at this year's games, but the quadrennial event has already had its share of historic moments in its 90-year history.
Before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver kicked off, tragedy struck. After qualifying for the Games, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was on a training run when lost control on the final turn of the track and crashed, slamming into a metal pole at nearly 90 miles per hour. Kumaritashvili died shortly thereafter of his injuries, the fourth athlete in Winter Olympic history to died practicing during the Games.
Before the 1980 "Miracle on Ice," the 1960 U.S. men's hockey team made history in their own way. In what has become known as the "Forgotten Miracle," the squad earned the first U.S. gold medal in men's hockey at Squaw Valley, Calif., defeating the more dominant Soviet, Canadian and Czechoslovkian teams.
A judging scandal hit the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in the doubles figureskating competition. Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier walked to the podium to take their silver, when they should have received gold after performing flawlessly on the ice. Instead, Russians Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze took top honors, despite a noticeable error in their routine.
Negative reactions were immediate, with even the crowd upset with the judgment. Eventually, the French judge from the competition admitted to wrongdoing, leading to Sale and Pelletier receiving their deserved gold medals.
Bonnie Blair's triumph isn't told over one, but three Winter Olympic Games over which she became one of the most successful Olympic athletes of all time. Blair claimed six medals in two events, a gold and a bronze in Calgary in 1988, setting a world record at her debut Games; two golds in Albertville in 1992; and two golds in Lillehammer in 1994. For the years in which she competed, Blair was the dominant force in women's speed skating.
At the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Eric Heiden did what no Summer or Winter Olympian had done before him: winning five gold medals, all in individual events.
Over the course of nine days, the 21-year-old American set four Olympic records and one world record on his road to gold.
After a major crash that looked like a career-ender from the dramatic footage, downhill skier Herman Maier, also known as the "Herminator," walked away from the accident and days later won gold in giant slalom and super giant slalom. The accident, which made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and turn-around success made Maier internationally famous.
Dan Jansen, an American speed skater, chased Olympic gold for four Games before finally getting his medal.
Losing out on a medal in 1984 at Sarajevo in what was then Yugoslavia, Jansen was favored to take top honors at Calgary four years later. Prior to the 1988 Olympics, however, his sister, Jane, lost her battle with leukemia. Jansen lost both events he competed in.
In 1992, Jansen again failed to medal at Albertville, leaving the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer as his last chance for Olympic victory. Losing his first event, Jansen finally got his gold in the 1,000-meter, skating a victory lap with his infant daughter, named after his late sister.
Nancy Kerrigan was the favorite to take home gold for the United States ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer. In a bizarre twist, rival figure skater Tonya Harding enlisted her ex-husband to handicap Kerrigan. Despite being struck with a metal baton in the knee at the U.S. Championships, Kerrigan recovered in time for the Games, earning silver. Despite the scandal, Harding was still permitted to participate, finishing eighth.
Immortalized in the largely fictionalized 1993 movie "Cool Runnings," the Jamaican bobsled team first competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The team was built with the sprinters who had never before competed in the winter sport.
With the help of other countries' bobsledding teams who helped the tropical upstart with equipment and advice, the team managed to qualify for the Games. During one of their four runs during the game, the bobsled turned over and crashed. Though they didn't finish the race officialy, the team got up and walked their bobsled to the finish line.
The 1980 "Miracle on Ice" is undoubtedly the most well-known legend of the Winter Olympics and among the greatest underdog stories in history.
Coached by a former player who was cut from the 1960 U.S. men's hockey team, a U.S. Olympic team composed of college players managed to defeat the then-dominant Soviet squad in a 4-3 semifinal victory in upstate New York, scoring its last two game-winning goals in the third period. The team eventually went on to defeat Finland in the finals to claim gold.
Sports Illustrated named the "Miracle on Ice" as the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.