Olympics: From Athens 1896 to Beijing 2008 (Part IV)

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1968-Mexico Olympics:
1968: The lanky US long jumper Bob Beamon takes a huge leap en route to his record-breaking feat at Mexico. Bob recorded a jump of 8.90 still an Oly record.The high altitude of Mexico City (2240 m) made it difficult for many endurance athletes to adapt to the oxygen-deprived air. The high altitude was also credited with contributing to many record setting jumps and leaps in the long jump, high jump and pole vault events, as well as all the track events 400m and under (men's). Bob Beamon jumped 8.90 m in the long jump a 55 cm improvement of the world record that would stand until 1991(when it was broken by Mike Powell); it is still the Olympic record. United States athletes Jim Hines and Lee Evans also set long world records in the 100 m and 400 m, respectively. For the first time in Olympic history Doping test was conducted in Mexico Olympics. The man with the golden arms Al Oerter, a discus thrower from United States, threw a record 68.74 mtrs to bag his fourth gold on trot. Swedish pentathlete Hans Gunnar Liljenwall was diqualified for alchol use. As many as 112 nations graced the games.

1972- Munich Olympics:
1972 Oly: Mark Spitz of United States bagged as many as seven gold medals in swimming event. A record for max gold in single Games.Olympic mascot was first used in Munich Olympics. The first Olympic mascot was the dachshund 'Waldi' of Munich Olympics.However, this joyful mood of the games was ruined by the killings of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorist in an event known as the "Munich massacre." Mark Spitz, a swimmer from the United States, set a world record when he won seven gold medals (while on the way to setting a new world record for each of his seven gold medals) in a single Olympics, bringing his lifetime total to nine (he had won two golds in Mexico games four years earlier).The United States also lost an Olympic basketball game for the first time ever (they were 62-0) when the Soviets were given three chances to convert a last-second inbound pass and finally won, 51-50. The U.S. refused the silver medal.

1976-Montreal Olympics:
1976 Oly: The graceful little gymnast fro Romania Nadia Comaneci hogged the limelight with perfect 10s in seven events.Canada, the host country, left with only five silver and six bronze medals in this Olympics. It was the first and only time to date in Olympic history that the host country of the Summer Games won no gold medals. Notably, the were a financial disaster for Montreal, as the city faced debts for 30 years after the Games had finished. 92 nations participated in the games. Nadia Comaneci, a 14 year old Romanian gymnast, stole the limelight in the games when he scoredd seven perfect 10s on her way to three gold medals

1980-Moscow Olympics:
1980 Oly: Brit distance runner Sebastian Coe stole the show when he famously battled back from behind to clinch gold in 1500m.U.S. and its NATO allies boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.While Soviet gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin became the first athlete to win eight medals in one year, the belle of Montreal, Nadia Comaneci of Romania, returned to win two more gold medals and Cuban heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson became the first boxer to win three golds in the same weight division.In track and field, Miruts Yifter of Ethiopia won at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, but the most thrilling moment of the Games came in the last lap of the 1,500 meters where Sebastian Coe of Great Britain outran countryman Steve Ovett and Jurgen Straub of East Germany for the gold. India won thier a last title in men's hockey in Moscow Olympics

1984-Los Angeles Olympics:
1984 Oly: Carl Lewis reapeted the feat of his countryman Jesse Owens. Lewis won gold in 100, 200, long jump and 4X100 relay.Soviet Union and 13 Communist allies boycotted Los Angeles Olympics in an obvious payback for the West's snub of Moscow in 1980. As a result, the United States won a record 83 gold medals in the most lopsided Summer Games since St. Louis .The American gold rush was led by 23-year-old Carl Lewis, who broked Jesse Owens' 1936 track and field grand slam by winning the 100 and 200 meters and the long jump, and anchoring the 4x100 meter relay. Romanian gymnast Ecaterina Szabó matched Lewis' four gold medals and added a silver, but the darling of the Games was little , 16-year-old Mary Lou Retton, who won the women's All-Around with a pair of 10s in her last two events.


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