Political contraversies and Olympics

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The Oly movement had its share of contraversies and political boycotts. Munich massacre, racial discrimination, Black power salute in 1968 Games, political boycotts during cold war era, boycott protesting apartheid et al. However Oly movement has come out unscathed.

The boycott scares during the cold war era rubbed The Games on the wrong side but eventually the Oly movement survived and emerged more stronger with more and more countries taking part in the post cold war period. From Seoul Oly in 1988 to the previous games in Athens no boycotts were reported. However when Beijing's candidature got the nod in 2001 to host 2008 games many believed that there would be more boycotts in support of Tibet's cause but so far no boycott call from pro-Tibetian nations including United States have registered. OneIndia enlightens you on boycotts...

*1956 Melbourne Oly: The Soviet invasion of Hungary provoked protests from numerous western countries and some of them, such as Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands, withdrew from the Games. Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq refused to participate in protest of the Franco-British Suez intervention. And the People's Republic of China refused to participate because of the presence of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This conflict would take 28 years to be resolved.

* Montreal Oly 1976: Tanzania-led African nationa-as many as 22- boycotted the Games in protest against New Zealand's participation in Montreal Games as Kiwis Rugby team travelled to the aparthaid South Africa. The IOC tried to convince African nations that Rugby was not a Oly sport and it isn't fair to prevent NZ from participating. But the African nations were in no mood to relent. However despite African nations boycott the Games were successful, thanks largely to galore of individual brilliances including that of Nadia Comeneci, Aleksander Dityatin, spitz et al. In the same event People's Republic of China (Mainland China) refused to participate as Taiwan participated under Republic of China.

* Moscow Oly 1980: The Olympics were disrupted by another, even larger boycott, this one led by US president Jimmy Carter, part of a package of actions to protest the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Carter engaged in extensive arm-twisting to gain support from other nations. Some governments, like those of Great Britain and Australia, supported the boycott but allowed the athletes to decide for themselves whether to go to Moscow. No such freedom of choice was allowed US athletes, as Carter threatened to revoke the passport of any athlete who tried to travel to the USSR. In the end, 65 nations turned down their invitations to the Olympics; probably 45 to 50 did so because of the US-led boycott. Eighty nations did participate - the lowest number since 1956.

* LA Oly 1984: With the Olympics being held in the United States only four years after the US- led boycott of the Moscow Games, it was not surprising that the Soviet Union organised a revenge boycott in 1984. This time only 14 nations stayed away - but those nations accounted for 58% of the gold medals at the 1976 Olympics.

* Munich Massacre 1972: 1972 Munich Games officially known as XX olympiad was the first olympics held in Post war Germany. Earliar it was held in Hitler"s Germany. They have every reason to celebrate. But their happiness was short lived. Ten days after the start of the games Eleven Isreali atheletes were abducted and held as hostages by Palestinian terrorists. They put forth an impossible demand for release of 200 palestinian prisioners held in Isreal and 2 German prisionars. Their demand was rejected. Germany offered any amount of money for their release. The terrorists not to be yielded. In a botched attempt by the incompetent German Police the recue operation was miscerably failed resulting in the killing of all the hostages. The event was came to be known as Munich Massacre. Instead of canceling the Games Avery Brundge the International Olympic committee President decided that "the Games must go on."

The story did not end there. In an operation called The Wrath of God Isreal Mossad launched a global manhunt and killed many key members of the Black September including two key members of the Terrorists that were involved in the massacre.

* Nazi Olympics 1936: The IOC had awarded the Games to Berlin in 1931 with no idea that Hitler was to take power in Germany two years later. By 1936, the Nazis had control over Germany and had already begun to implement their racist policies. The Nazis saw the event as a way to promote their ideology. They built four grandiose stadiums, swimming pools, an outdoor theater, a polo field, and an Olympic Village that had 150 cottages for the male athletes. Throughout the Games, the Olympic complex was covered in Nazi banners.

In 1936 Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes German athletes would dominate the games with victories (the German athletes did indeed achieve a top of the table medal haul). Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan racial superiority" and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals in 100m, 200m, long jump and 4X100 relay events to give Hitler-led Germany a reality check.

* Rome 1960: Mohammad Alis 'own' Olympics: In 1960, Muhammad Ali won a gold medal for boxing at the Rome Olympics. He was 18 years old at the time, and his medal was in the light heavyweight division. At that time, he was known as Cassius Clay, not Muhammad Ali. Clay won in the light heavy weight gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rome with a decision over Poland's Zbigniew Pietrzykowski.. Before one of his matches, he predicted that he would win by a knockout in the second round. His prediction came true. After that, Clay kept making predictions, often in rhyme. These predictions made the boxing matches more interesting for his fans.Upon returning to his native Louisville, Clay finds he's not immune to the racism that is so prevalent in the U.S. After being refused service by a waitress at a "whites-only" restaurant, and then fighting with a white gang, a disgusted Clay throws his gold medal into the Ohio.

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