Donovan Bailey, 4 x 100 relay team top Canadians’ most memorable Summer Olympics moments

Before the Olympics, Yahoo! Canada asked readers to vote for the country's most memorable Summer Olympics moments.

It turns out sprinters get the most attention, perhaps not surprising. Donovan Bailey becoming the fastest man on the planet at the time by setting a 100 metres record and anchoring Canada's victorious relay team in 1996 took the gold. Ben Johnson's disqualification in 1988 and sailor Larry Lemieux abandoning his Finn-class race to rescue two sailors who had been tossed overboard took the silver and bronze.

Here's a look at what you voted for:

1. Canada celebrates two Saturday night sprinting specials (Atlanta 1996): 25% (421 votes)

Eight years after the Ben Johnson scandal, Donovan Bailey provided redemption for Canada by winning the men's 100 in a world-record 9.84 seconds. Seven days later, on the final day of the track and field competition, Bailey, current Yahoo! Sports Olympic expert Bruny Surin, Glenroy Gilbert and Robert Esmie beat the U.S. on its home soil in the men's 4 x 100 relay. The impact is still felt today; Gilbert coached the 4 x 100 team which nearly medalled in London last Saturday.

[Slideshow: Memorable Summer Olympics moments]

2. Ben Johnson goes from glory to disgrace (Seoul 1988): 15% (250 votes)

Johnson gave the country a moment of pure elation when he beat U.S. legend Carl Lewis to win the 100. That turned to outrage when he tested positive for a banned steroid and was stripped of his gold medal and world record in what is now known as the dirtiest race in history. The story is the subject of a new documentary, 9.79*, which is playing in the Toronto Interational Film Festival.

3. Larry Lemieux goes on a rescue mission (Seoul 1988): 9% (157 votes)

Lemieux bravely abandoned his yachting race, plunging into cold, choppy waters to rescue two sailors whose boat had capsized. Lemieux, who was in position to win the silver medal at that moment, navigated four-metre-high waves to bring the two men to safety. He was in a silver-medal position at the time, but his bravery earned him the IOC's Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship.

[Related: The true measure of Canadian success]

4. Silken Laumann bounces back (Barcelona 1992): 9% (155 votes)

The world champion rower was touted to win a gold medal, but a collision with another boat just weeks before the Games shattered her right leg, fracturing her fibula while lodging 200 pieces of wood in her leg and tearing part of her muscles away from her bones. Laumann fought through the angst of wondering if she'd even keep the leg and the five surgeries to sustain her Olympic dream. She went on to win a bronze medal.

5. Sylvie Fréchette's gold-medal odyssey/saga (Barcelona 1992): 8% (133 votes)

The synchronized swimmer held it together to give a gold-worthy performance in Barcelona even though her fiancé had taken his life just a week before the Games and her beloved grandfather had also died earlier in the year. But a judge punched in the wrong score, dropping Fréchette to the silver behind Kristen Babb-Sprague of the United States. Canada's Dick Pound, then IOC vice-president, led some intensive negotiations and the mistake was corrected 16 months later when Fréchette was awarded a second gold medal. That also set the precedent that enabled Jamie Salé and David Pelletier to receive a gold medal after SkateGate at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

[More: How the London Games changed the Olympics forever]

The rest of the top 10:

6 (tie). Canada hosts its first Summer Games as Greg Joy makes a country proud (Montreal 1976): 8%, 129 votes

6 (tie). Daniel Igali thanks his adopted land with a gift of gold (Sydney 2000): 8%, 129 votes

8. Canada's best Summer Games performance ever (Los Angeles 1984): 7%, 117 votes

9. Marnie McBean strikes gold twice in Barcelona (Barcelona 1992): 6%, 104 votes

10. Percy Williams's sprints to double gold in Amsterdam (Amsterdam 1928): 6%, 103 votes

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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