To reflect on sports history is to conjure up lasting images of winning moments. Whether these memories recall our favorite teams' victories, Olympic and World Cup triumphs for our country, or career-defining plays for the athletes from posters on our walls, they're often imprinted in both our minds and in famous photographs.

Visual markers in sports capture the rawest emotions of highly specific moments in sports history. Those images have the power to transport us back to our feelings at the time--even if, 20 years on, we can't remember where we were. The United States women's national team won the 1999 World Cup on home soil when, after 90 minutes of regulation and extra time, Brandi Chastain converted a game-winning penalty. Wherever we watched, the enduring memory is when Chastain tore off her jersey in victory, took to her knees, and raised both clenched fists to the sky. Her moment was so visually powerful that is has transcended soccer and come to represent patriotism.

Other winning moments in sports history are best emulated by one crucial play down the stretch, all at once showcasing will, talent, identity, and success; the time when the fragile line between the thrill of victory and agony of defeat hinged on a split-second choice despite a season's investment. LeBron James' example proved so significant, it earned a nickname in NBA Finals lore and Cleveland sports history: "The block." His Game 7 chasedown stop of the Warriors' Andre Iguodala inside two minutes stood for the Cavaliers team, the blue-collar nature of Cleveland, and the possibility of defeating the seemingly unbeatable.

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.