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World Photography Day

Top 10 most powerful images in sporting history

Tommie Smith and John Carlos

At the 1968 Olympics and during the height of the Civil Rights movement, US 200m runners Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right) raised their black-gloved fists during the playing of the US national anthem. Silver medallist Peter Norman sported a human rights badge in support of his fellow athletes, but the Olympic Committee subsequently disqualified Smith and Carlos for their protest.

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela hands the Rugby World Cup to South Africa captain Francois Pienaar in 1995. Mandela had been elected as South Africa's president a year earlier after the end of apartheid in 1993. South Africa were huge underdogs at the tournament, having been banned from competing during the apartheid era. The tournament was credited with bringing the nation together.

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Brandi Chastain

At the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in 1999, Brandi Chastain ensured her place in history when she scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out against China in the World Cup final. It was the first time a female player had pulld off her shirt in celebration and raised heckles in the bible belt. However, in a sign of changing times and shifting attitudes, the image was published on the front page of Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Time.

Photo: HECTOR MATA AFP/Getty Images

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Usain Bolt

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Bolt matched Carl Lewis' feat of winning the sprint double and set a new world record for the 200m of 19.30 seconds. He also set a world record of 9.69 in the 100m, which he would go on to beat a year later with the new mark of 9.58.

Photo: DYLAN MARTINEZ REUTERS

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Diego Maradona

The Argentinean showed both sides to his game in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final match against England, in which he scored twice. Maradona's second, when he raced through the entire England team with the ball glued to his boot, is often referred to as the Goal of the Century. But it will always play second fiddle to his first - the "Hand of God" as Maradona himself termed it after the game, which Argentina won 2-1.

Photo: DIARIO AS DIARIO AS

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Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston

Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston on 25 May 1965 to retain his World Heavyweight crown. The fight was dogged by allegations of fixing after Ali's first round win, which he achieved with the so-called "anchor punch." Taunting Liston and telling his opponent to "Get up and fight, sucker!" gave the world the single most-famous image in the history of boxing.

Photo: DIARIO AS DIARIO AS

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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan celebrates the 1991 NBA title after the Chicago Bulls beat the LA Lakers to hand the player many consider the greatest in the history of the sport the first of his six championships.

Photo: Ken Levine DIARIO AS

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Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens spoiled Adolf Hitler's party at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin by winning four gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres, long jump, and 4 × 100 metre relay. Pictued here with Naoto Tajima (left) and Luz Long (right), Owens' supremacy caused the Nazi leader to leave the stadium to avoid having to shake hands. Owens was later credited with "single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy."

Photo: Popperfoto DIARIO AS

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Roger Bannister

Bannister was a British middle-distance athlete and neurologist who ran the first-ever sub-four minute mile on 6 May, 1954, a feat that saw him named Athlete of the Year by Sports Illustrated - the first time a British sportsperson had been awarded that particular honour.

Photo: Bettmann Bettmann Archive

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Rui Costa and Materazzi

A 2005 Milan derby was halted for a time after fans hurled flares all over the pitch. This picture of opponents Rui Costa and Marco Materazzi quickly became a hit in newspapers across the world.

Photo: STEFANO RELLANDINI REUTERS

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