Political History and Protests at the Olympics – NBC10 Philadelphia

Ten years after the modern Olympic Games began, Irish long jumper Peter O’Connor climbed a pole at a stadium in Athens and replaced the Union Jack with a commemorative green Ireland flag. Despite knowing he had to compete under British auspices, he made politics the focus of international competition.

The ancient game seemed to be entangled in political intrigues. In 668 BC, a tyrant named Pheidon captured the site of the Olympics, the Sanctuary of Zeus on Olympia, from the city-state of Elis and presided over them, according to one traveler. Greece that the University of Pennsylvania museum. presented on its website.

The International Olympic Committee insists the Olympics are apolitical, but as activists draw attention to China’s record of human rights abuses – the United States calls its crackdown on its Uighur population in the United States. Xinjiang is genocide – this is a long historical protest. , boycott and tragedy.

1906 Alternate game

Peter O’Connor and his countrymen went to Athens to compete in the 1906 Alternate Olympics, that is, a set of separate Olympic Games in the intervening years, in green blazers. and wear a hat with a mannequin. Thought they would play for Ireland, but there is no Irish Olympic Committee yet. After O’Connor won a silver medal in the long jump, he raised his flag, which read “Erin Go Bragh” or Ireland Forever, a rallying cry for independence from Britain.

1908 London Olympics

This time, some Irish athletes boycotted the Olympics, which were taking place in London. Again, they did not want to represent England.

1916 Berlin Olympics

That year’s Summer Olympics were canceled because of World War I.

Antwerp Olympics 1920

Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and Turkey – all on the losing side of World War I – were not invited to participate. The ban on Germany is still in effect four years later.

1936 Berlin Olympics


beautiful pictures

American Jesse Owens leads a race at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. (Beautiful images)

Spain refuses to send athletes but tries to organize a broader boycott against the Nazi regime failed. In a debate that is now familiar, Avery Brundage, then president of the United States Olympic Committee, argued that the Olympics belonged to the athletes. He also claimed that a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy” was active against the United States. Other leaders, among them prominent Catholics, supported a boycott. The sprinter Jesse Owens won four gold medals, but several Jewish-American athletes did not compete.

Games 1940 and 1944

All games did not take place due to World War II. Both the 1940 Summer and Winter Olympics took place in Japan but were moved after the Japanese invasion of China: Summer Olympics to Helsinki, Winter Olympics to Germany. But then the Soviet Union attacked Finland and Germany invaded Poland.

London Olympics 1948

Ralph Craig, center, Albany, NY, who won the 100 and 200 meters in the 1912 Olympic Games

Photo / AP File

FILE – Team USA in the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the 1948 London Olympics. (AP/File)

Japan and Germany are both banned, although the International Olympic Committee thinks they should be included. Johannes Sigfrid Edstrom, president of the International Olympic Committee, wrote, “I am amazed that you have this attitude three years after the end of the war. We men of sport must show the way to diplomats. “

Melbourne Olympics 1956

Avery Brundage Delivering the closing speech


File: With the embroidered satin Olympic flag flying in the sky, Mr. Avery Brundage, president of the International Olympic Committee, delivered the closing remarks to the crowded Melbourne Cricket crowd.

Politics penetrated on various fronts. Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq were at home during the Suez crisis, during Israel’s invasion of Egypt following its nationalization. The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland protested the Soviet invasion of Hungary. China withdrew shortly before the opening to protest the inclusion of Taiwan.

1964 Tokyo Olympics


Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

File photo: Jed Graef of the United States (centre) celebrates with a gold medal on the podium with compatriot Gary Dilley (L) and bronze medalist Bob Bennett after the Men’s 200-meter backstroke on October 13, 1964 in The 18th Summer Olympic Games at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.

Indonesia and North Korea did not participate after the International Olympic Committee ruled that teams that had competed a year earlier in a new set of athletes, the Games of Emerging Forces, did not. can participate. The Olympics of Emerging Forces banned athletes from Israel and Taiwan.

South Africa was banned and would not return to competition until 1980.

Mexico City Olympics 1968

1968 Summer Olympics


File: Extending gloved hands to the sky in racial protest, US athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare down while playing the iconic Star Spangled Banner after Smith accepts the gold medal and Carlos bronze for the 200-meter track at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City on October 16, 1968.

US runners-up John Carlos and Tommie Smith saluted Black Power on the podium as the US national anthem played. Australian Peter Norman wore the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity. Carlos and Smith were suspended from the US team but in 2019 were inducted into the US Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame.

That same year, Czechoslovakian gymnast Věra Čáslavská turned her head from the Soviet flag when the Soviet anthem was played to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

1972 Munich Olympics

Munich Terror 1972


File: On September 5, 1972, a group of Palestinian commandos occupied the Israeli Olympic team’s grounds at the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany. A member of the commando team is seen here as he appears with a hood on his face on the balcony of the building, where they take several Israeli athletes hostage.

Eleven Israeli athletes and coaches were taken hostage and killed after members of the Palestinian Black September faction broke into the Olympic Village and negotiations to liberate them failed.

Montreal Olympics 1976

25 African countries boycotted the Olympics because New Zealand was allowed to participate. The country’s rugby team has toured in South Africa, which has been banned since 1964 because of apartheid.

Taiwan withdrew when it could not compete as the Republic of China.

Moscow Olympics 1980

The United States boycotted the Summer Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Australia and Britain supported the US despite eventually sending athletes to compete, but more than 60 countries, Japan and West Germany, among them, participated.

1980’s Plaid Olympics on Lake

Taiwan boycotts again when asked to compete as Chinese Taipei in the Winter Olympics

1984 Los Angeles Olympics

In turn, the Soviet Union, East Germany and other East Bloc countries boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics, officially citing security reasons.

1988 Seoul Olympics

North Korea boycotts the Olympics as well as Cuba. North Korea, with Cuba’s backing, has requested that it be the common host. Political History and Protests at the Olympics – NBC10 Philadelphia


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