Various Crises in The History of the Olympics

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Although the Olympics scheduled for 2020, the decision has been made to postpone the Games due to the coronavirus spreading. The modern Olympic Games, which began in 1896, not held on three occasions. The 1916 Olympics due to the effects of the First World War, and the 1940 and 1944 Olympics due to the impact of the Second World War.

In the Olympics’ history, it carried crises such as strikes, bans in certain countries, terrorist attacks, and bombings. That is why this article is written to provide information on several such concerns in the Olympics’ history.

1920 Olympics
The 1920 Olympic Games were initially scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary. However, with the end of World War I, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria were banned from participating in the Olympics. As a result of the ban, only Germany lost the 1924 Olympics too. Hungary lost the chance of host, and it passed to Belgium in 1919.

1936 Olympics – Germany
Shortly before the Games’ start, the German fascist newspaper Polnischer Beobachter stated that Negroes had no right to compete in the Olympics and be expelled from the Olympics. As a result of the newspaper report, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ordered the German government to issue a clear statement before starting the games that it would not violate the Olympic Charter’s rules. Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman competed in the men’s 100m relay at the Olympics, settled the environment. After Hitler pressured them to withdraw from the tournament because they were Jews, the United States withdrew the pair started without those two athletes, but the Americans won the men’s 100m relay. Also, the German government decided not to acknowledge the achievements of Jesse Owens, an American Negro who excelled at the Olympics. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) intervened and had to acknowledged Owens’ achievements.

1948 Olympics – Britain
The 1948 Olympic Games were held in London, Britain, after a long silence of 12 years. By that time, World War II had ended several years earlier. Japan and Germany, the losers in that war, were banned from the Olympics.

1956 Olympics
About 10 days before the 1956 Olympics, British, French, and Israeli forces invaded Egypt to capture the Suez Canal. Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria boycotted the Olympics in protest. Also, about 2 weeks before the start of the Olympics, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary. However, Soviet Russia took the Hungarian sports team aboard via the Soviet merchant ship to the Melbourne Olympics to show that there was peace in Hungary.

It was a special occasion for the Hungarian team. They were marching; the crowd expressed their opposition by chanting anti-Soviet Russian slogans. The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain boycotted the tournament in protest of Soviet Russia’s invasion.

1972 Munich Olympics
An Arab guerrilla group known as the Black September Squad stormed the Olympic Village, killing two Israeli athletes and taking 18 hostages, while 18 others escaped. It called on the Israeli government to release Arab guerrillas in Israeli prisons to free the hostages. Baader and Meinhof, both notorious German terrorists, demanded the release of Kōzō Okamoto, a Japanese Brigade soldier captured by Israel and allow to return to any country of their choice. At that time, the German and Israeli governments secretly launched an operation to free the hostages but failed, and 11 Israeli athletes lost their lives.

1976 Montreal Olympics – Canada
New Zealand sent a rugby team to South Africa, which has been banned from racing due to apartheid, and the African Sports Council called for its removal from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not agree to the request, as rugby was not included in the Olympics at the time, and South Africa had been expelled from the IOC. Accordingly, 28 countries that were members of the African Sports Council at that time boycotted the Olympics.

1980 Moscow Olympics
In late 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. In protest, the United States and other Western nations called on the Olympic Committee not to allow Soviet Russia to host the Olympics. But in the end, 65 Western countries, including the United States, boycotted the Olympics in Moscow, Russia. This went down in history as the massive number of boycotts in the history of the modern Olympics.

1984 Olympics – USA
The 1984 Olympics were in Los Angeles, USA. Four years ago, 65 Western nations, including the United States, boycotted the Moscow Olympics. In revenge, 14 Eastern countries, including Soviet Russia, boycotted the Olympics.

1996 Atlanta Olympics – USA
The 1996 Olympics at Atlanta, a bomb blast near the Olympic Village killed two people and injured 111 others. Investigations revealed that the attack was carried out by Eric Rudolph, an American internal terrorist.

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