Heading into the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Sarah Hughes wasn't widely predicted to make the podium. Hughes was the third-place qualifier just among the American women, and after the short program at the Olympics, she was in fourth place. Then came the free skate, in which Hughes landed seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations.
According to the scoring rules at the time, Hughes wasn't guaranteed gold despite scoring the highest in the free skate. Her fourth-place finish in the short program meant that teammate Michelle Kwan, who led after the short, would have to land in third place or lower in the free in order for Hughes to stand atop the podium. That's exactly what happened, leading to a memorable moment for Hughes, who became the only American to win Olympic gold without ever winning a national or world championship.
Watch Hughes's Olympic free skate here.