As the embers of the Olympic flame fade away the memories of 16 wondrous days promise to live on for much longer. The greatest athletes in the world descended on London to prove their worth and in the process provided some truly iconic moments.
There was Jessica Ennis’ golden performance in the heptathlon, David Rushida’s world record 800 metres run and Michael Phelps hanging up his swimsuit with just the 18 gold medals in tow. And that’s before you get to any of the Jamaican sprinters.
But perhaps the most enduring image of the Games will be Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, stood atop the podium after the pair had received their gold medals for the 5,000 metres and 4x100 metres respectively on Saturday, swapping their now famous poses; the Mobot and the lightning Bolt.
In a picture now seen round the world, the pair not only achieved unparalleled success on the track but also showed the rest of the world how to celebrate when the good times started rolling – and with the football season under a week away, here’s hoping the best of the Premier League has been taking note.
Of course, it hasn’t always been that way, there was a time when football celebrations were more than just a raised hand or a kissed badge – so with the Olympics gone and football set to take centre stage once more, here are the men who can rightly claim to stand shoulder to shoulder with Farah and Bolt, at least in the celebration stakes.
1. Marco Tardelli, Italy 1982
A genuine out-pouring of emotion and disbelief, Marco Tardelli set off having just scored in the 1982 World Cup Final for Italy - and didn’t stop running. Or screaming his own name, while flailing his arms around as if they were being remote-controlled by someone in the stand. A truly joyous moment.
2. Paul Gascoigne, England, 1996
A moment emblazoned on a nation’s memory who in this one moment believed football was coming home. Inevitably it didn’t, and ran off with a German lover instead, but when ‘Gazza’ lay prone on the floor, strapped himself into the dentist’s chair, the Three Lions stopped not to worry about cheering on a well-known alcoholic for celebrating imitating his infamous boozy stand, but gave him a ruddy hard pat on the back. The goal was pretty good too.
3. Roger Milla, Cameroon, 1990 World Cup
Somehow, embarrassing dancing from an elderly man who should know better is frowned upon at weddings up and down the land, but when the 38-year-old Roger Milla thrust his gyrating hips at a corner flag, the world went wild. The 1990 World Cup was never the same again.
4. Eric Cantona, Manchester United, 1996
Women swooned when ‘the King’ swaggered round the pitch. ‘Oooh Aah, Cantona’ went the refrain. He puffed out his chest, his upturned collar a nod to his Artisan arrogance as he surveyed the scene around him. Be that as it may, but what was the goalkeeper doing?
5. Jurgen Klinsmann, Tottenham, 1995
Who said the Germans had no sense of humour? Well, if you did, you're a racist, shame on you. Having helped knock England out of the 1990 World Cup, and in the process earned himself a reputation as a diver, Klinsmann was hardly a popular man when he signed on the dotted line for Spurs. The German duly scored on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday and flung himself into the air as if Vinny Jones had had his way with him.
6. Temuri Ketsbaia, Newcastle United, 1998
Just mental. It’s never nice seeing a footballer lose his mind on the pitch, but if he’s going to do it, it may as well be in done in the funniest way possible. Having just scored for Newcastle , Ketsbaia let all his pent up frustrations out, tried to take off his boots having whipped off his shirt , then lashed out at the advertising hoardings. What he has against MacDonalds and Adidas is a mystery.
7. Peter Crouch, England, 2006
He’s got a good touch for a big man, and he’s pretty handy on the dancefloor is his robot moves are anything to go by. Which they’re probably not. Either way, the robot came roaring back into fashion when the leggy blonde started strutting his stuff.
8. Gordon Strachan, Scotland, 1986
Not an intentional celebration but still one of the best by virtue of it being one of the funniest, Strachan scores, tries to euphorically run into the crowd and enjoy the moment with the fans only to meet with that insurmountable obstacle, the advertising hoarding. If only Temuri Ketsbaia was there to lend a helping hand.
9. Robbie Fowler, Liverpool, 1999
Now, recreational drugs are not big or clever, but when Robbie Fowler snaffled up a big pile of devil’s dandruff it certainly illicited a few chuckles. Not the stuffy squares at the FA though, they gave Fowler a big, old-fashioned ticking off.
10. Stjarnan FC, Iceland, 2011
In the absence of any real sporting prowess Stjarnan Fc needed a unique selling point, and by jingo they found one; to create the greatest goal celebrations of all time. This toilet themed effort is one of the finest but honourable mentions go to their ‘gone fishin’’ celebration and the human bike (complete with working ‘pedals’). Goal celebrations at their finest, Bravo good sirs, bravo. Watch them all here.
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