On this day 3 August 1996 (Exactly 24 years ago today) Nigeria made Olympic football history by becoming the first African and non-European and South American team to win the gold medal.
While the football tournament remained primarily an Under-23 competition, each of the 16 competing countries were allowed to use as many as three overage players in a compromise between FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.
The Nigerians, whom many observers predicted would be the first African side to win a World Cup, showed so much promise and expectations over the previous decade. They won the 1985 Under-16 World Tournament and finished second in 1987. They took third and second, respectively, at the 1985 and 1989 World Youth Championships. But they could never break the final barrier at the higher levels.
Nigeria, coached by Dutchman Johannes Bonfrere, started their path to the final with a 1-0 victory over Hungary and a 2-0 win over Japan before completing the first round with a 1-0 loss to Brazil.
The Africans then shut down Mexico and goalkeeper Jorge Campos, 2-0, in the quarter-finals to set up a pair of amazing matches.
Losing in the semi-finals to a favoured Brazilian side that boasted Bebeto, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, 3-1, Nigeria finally woke up in the 78th minute as Victor Ikpeba scored from 20 meters. As time was running out, captain Nwankwo Kanu took center stage, scoring in a scramble in front of the goal in the final minute to equalize.
With extra-time barely three minutes out, Kanu fired home the game-winner from 16 meters to complete one of the great comebacks of international football history and in what many observers felt was the greatest Olympic match ever played.
As if trying to top themselves, the Nigerians then staged another miraculous comeback against Argentina in the gold-medal match in front of 86,117 spectators in the Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.
The Argentins held a 2-1 advantage on goals by Claudio Lopez (third minute) and Hernan Crespo (tournament-best sixth goal on a penalty kick in the 50th minute) before the Nigerians equalized on Daniel Amokachi’s shot in the 74th minute.
With a minute remaining, Emmanuel Amunike pulled off some 11th-hour heroics as he took advantage of a botched offside trap and beat goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero from point-blank range for the winning goal in a 3-2 triumph.
“I guarantee you that as I talk to you now, everyone in Africa is celebrating,” forward Sunday Oliseh said. “There is no sleeping tonight. Everyone will be happy. This is for all the African countries.”
Claudio Lopez (Argentina) 3?
Celestine Babayaro (Nigeria) 28?
Hernan Crespo(Argentina) 50? Penalty goal,
Daniel Amokachi(Nigeria) 74?
Emmanuel Amunikke (Nigeria) 90?
Nigeria Line-up: Joseph DOSU (GK), Celestine Babayaro, Taribo West, Nwankwo Kanu, Uche Okechukwu, Tijani Babangida, Jay Jay Okocha (Garba Lawal 59?) ,Victor Ikpeba (Emmanuel Amunike72?) , Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh , Mobi Oparaku (Wilson Oruma 62?)
Argentina Line-up: Pablo Cavallero, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Ayala, Roberto Sensini, José Chamot, Christian Bassedas, Matías Almeyda,
Ariel Ortega, Hugo Morales (Diego Someone 58?, Claudio López, Hernán Crespo
Coach:Daniel Passarella (Argentina)
On this day 3 August 1936 (Exactly 84 years ago today) American sprinter Jesse Owens won the 100m in front of Adolf Hitler in a famous race at the Berlin Olympics, his first of 4 gold medals at the Games.
Owens won with a time of 10.3 seconds, defeating a teammate and a college friend Ralph Metcalfe by a tenth of a second and defeating Tinus Osendarp of the Netherlands by two tenths of a second.
On this day 3 August 1952(Exactly 68 years ago today) The 15th Summer Olympic games was closed in Helsinki, Finland with the United States topping the medal table with a total of 76 medals (including 40 gold), followed by the Soviet Union and Hungary with 22 and 16 gold medals respectively.
On this day 3 August 1980 (Exactly 40 years ago today) The XXII Summer Olympic Games closed in Moscow, Russia.
The Soviet Union won a record 80 gold medals, and their 195 total medals are the second best result in history
On this day 3 August 1996 (Exactly 24 years ago today) American Andre Agassi won the men’s singles Tennis gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics beating Spaniard Sergi Bruguera 6-2, 6-3,6-1
On this day 3 August 2001(Exactly 19 years ago today) Olympic champion Gezahegne Abera of Ethiopia became the first athlete to achieve Olympics-World Championships marathon double; run 2:12:42 to beat Kenya’s Simon Biwott by just 0.1s in Edmonton World Championships
On this day 3 August 2012 (Exactly 8 years ago today) American super-swimmer Michael Phelps won the 100m butterfly in London to take his all-time Olympic gold medal tally to a record 17.
Note: Phelps is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23).
When he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.
On this day 3 August 2012 (Exactly 8 years ago today) American Missy Franklin swum a world record 2:04.06 to win the 200m backstroke gold medal at the London Olympics
On this day 3 August 1999 (Exactly 21 years ago today) Arsenal FC completed a huge signing coup snapping up ace French striker Thierry Henry for a bargain £10 million from Italian club Juventus
On this day 3 August 1997 (Exactly 23 years ago today) Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-2 on penalties to win the Charity Shield, after a bad-tempered 1-all draw at Wembley.
The 1997 Charity Shield was a game of several “firsts”. Manchester United’s only goal of open play was from Ronny Johnsen, who scored his first goal in a competitive game for them.
It was the first competitive appearance in a Manchester United shirt for Johnsen’s teammate Teddy Sheringham, who had joined the club from Tottenham Hotspur five weeks earlier. It was also the first competitive appearance in a Chelsea shirt for goalkeeper Ed de Goey.
On this day 3 August 2017 (Exactly 3 years ago today) Brazilian soccer forward Neymar was transferred from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record transfer fee of €222 on a 5-year deal.
On this day 3 August 1952 (Exactly 68 years ago today) Italian Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari clinched Formula 1 World Drivers Championship by winning German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring
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