The Olympic spirit seems to reignite every four years along with the flame on the torch. As the Games are now underway in London, let’s look back on a few displays of extraordinary Olympic sportsmanship. 

As Adolf Hitler looked on, German long jumper Lutz Long set an Olympic record in the preliminaries to qualify an move on to the finals. American jumper Jesse Owens (who is black) had fouled on his first two jumps and would be disqualified if he fouled again. Lutz spoke with Jesse and gave him a few pointers. Jesse took the advice and set a world record, thus winning the gold medal. Lutz came in second and took home the silver.

American discus thrower Rink Babka was the world record holder for his sport, but fellow teammate Al Oerter was the slight favorite to win gold that year because he was the reigning Olympic champion and was in Rome to defend his gold medal from 1956. After four rounds, Rink was in the lead and he noticed that Al was having some trouble after his fourth throw. Rink gave Al a pep talk and a few pointers before his fifth throw. After they were finished talking, Al went out an threw the discus to an Olympic record 59.16 meters. Al took the gold and Rink came in second, capturing the silver. Al, by the way went on to win gold in 1964 and again in 1968.

Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was racing in second place alone just past the halfway mark in a seven race event, when he spotted two fellow sailors in the water. They were from Singapore and their boat had capsized. They couldn't get their boat righted and were struglling. Lawrence sailed his boat over to the distressed pair in the water. After he rescued the two men, he called for a patrol boat to come and help them then waited until help arrived and transferred the two into the patrol boat. He then continued on to finish the race. He arrived at the finish line in 22nd place. The International Yacht Racing Union jury gave him his second place finish back, which was where he was racing when he stopped to rescue the team from Singapore.

Have you seen any great displays of sportsmanship yet in the 2012 London Olympics?