10 Incredible Stories From The Summer Olympics

Not every hero wears a cape. Some of them do gymnastics on broken legs and tear hamstrings.

Jesse Owens
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Olympics are the pinnacle of most athletes' careers, so there's no denying that anyone that makes it to the Games has to be pretty special. Amongst the medals, the cheers, and the fanfare are some exceptionally human moments that make you appreciate the people that give everything to their sport, their teammates, and their fellow competitors (except maybe Ryan Lochte).

From athletes that refuse to give up in spite of horrendous injuries, to those that have overcome immense personal battles, the Olympics undoubtedly has the most diverse crowd of athletes from all walks of life. Some of them are amazing people, like those on this list, some of them aren't (looking at you, Ryan Lochte), but each and every athlete at the Games has sacrificed a huge part of their life just for an attempt at a medal.

While it's easy to appreciate the athletic abilities of these people, their more human aspects often go unnoticed (except when Ryan Lochte turns out to be a colossal d**k). When they're competing, it is difficult to remember that these are real guys and gals as well, and not the talented part-cyborgs they appear to be.

Get the tissues ready, because these stories are insane, awe-inspiring, and absolutely heart-wrenching.

10. Lawrence Lemieux (1988)

Lawrence Lemieux was on course to take second place in his fifth race in the sailing at the Seoul Games when he spotted a boat in another race that had capsized in the rough weather. Realising that the crew was still trapped underneath the boat (and drawing on the rescue skills of his Italian plumber moustache), Lemieux abandoned his race, disqualifying himself in the process, in order to rescue the men.

After handing the men over to a rescue team from the South Korean Navy, Lemieux returned to his own race, finishing 22nd of 33. In recognition of his actions, the International Yacht Racing Union awarded Lemieux second place, the position he'd be on track to take before the rescue occurred. Lemieux went on to finish 11th in the sailing, but he didn't walk away without a medal.

At the awards ceremony, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, awarded Lemieux the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship for his actions. Lemieux was the fifth recipient at the time, and one of two to be given the medal while competing in the Olympic Games. Upon giving the medal to Lemieux, Samaranch told him that "by your sportsmanship, self-sacrifice and courage, you embody all that is right with the Olympic ideal."

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They don't let me write here anymore. I think they were put off by my handlebar moustache.