The Olympic Games is one of the world’s most anticipated athletic events, with more than 200 nations taking part. The Olympic Games are arranged every four years, alternating every two years during the four years between the Summer and Winter Olympics. The Olympics and their current media attention provide athletes, the host city, and the nations the chance to introduce themselves to the world.
The Olympics’ roots are shrouded in mystery and mythology. In ancient times, the war between the participating city-states during the Games was postponed until the Games were over. The end of the war was known as peace or truce in the Olympic times.
These are the top seven most emblematic moments of the Olympics worth remembering.
Black Power Salute, Mexico City Summer Olympics
In Mexico, 1968, the African American athletes made a statement on racism in their home country when Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the podium to accept their gold and bronze medals.
During the height of the civil rights movement, their protest took place when some advocates called for black American athletes to boycott the Games. Instead, Smith and Carlos’ non-violent gesture has brought international recognition that has remained an iconic moment.
Miracle on Ice, Lake Placid Winter Olympics
The U.S. hockey team put blood, sweat, and tears into defeating the Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, held at the Cold War’s height, referred to as the “Miracle on Ice” (and the real story behind the movie ‘Miracle’).
Nobody had predicted the U.S. 1980 Men’s team in Olympic Hockey to win a lot of it. They also hoped the team would go out there and play their hearts out, made up of amateur and college players. That determination and dedication led the U.S. team in a spectacular 4-3 semi-final victory to overcome the Soviet powerhouse. The team would go on to beat and win gold in Finland.
Abebe Bikila Snatched the Gold Barefoot, Rome Summer Olympics
When Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila finished the Olympic marathon in a record time of two hours, fifteen minutes, and seventeen seconds, he became the first African to earn a gold medal at the Olympics, an achievement he earned running barefoot. We are not talking about 2012 when one of the cool things to do was run barefoot. It was Rome in 1960!
I, Tonya, Lillehammer Winter Olympics
In 1994, after she was hit on the leg while leaving the practice rink seven weeks before the Olympics, Nancy Kerrigan found herself engulfed in one of the most dramatic events in figure skating history. The favorite skating figure, however, made a strong comeback and won the silver medal.
Her rival and accomplice in the assault, Tonya Harding, also entered, but landed in eighth place and was later disqualified for her sport participation. This incident soon became a hit movie in 2017, ‘I, Tonya,’ starring Margot Robbie.
North and South Korea Unite, Sydney Summer Olympics
It was a symbolic display of reconciliation at the opening ceremony in Sydney in 2000, when delegates from North Korea and South Korea marched together under one Korean flag.
All Blacks’ Olympic fallout, Montreal Olympics
New Zealand media has highlighted demonstrations against the Olympic Torch Relay in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics and calls for human rights and press freedom organizations to boycott the opening ceremony. It was not the first time people in power or their rivals had used the Olympics for political purposes. New Zealand athletes were at the core of a furor in 1976 that cast a dark cloud over Montreal’s Games.
African nations boycotted the 1976 Games because New Zealand’s rugby team had toured South Africa earlier even though the country was under apartheid. Meanwhile, since 1964, South Africa had been barred from sending a team to the Olympics because of its apartheid policies.
Munich Massacre, Munich Summer Olympics
The Olympics are frequently synonymous with unity and solidarity between nations. Still, the picture of international peace was broken at the 1972 Munich Games, when the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took hostage and killed 11 Israeli Olympic team members (they also killed a German policeman).
Having scaled the fence into the Olympic Village, the heavily armed attackers used stolen keys to gain entry to Israeli-occupied apartments. Nine Israeli athletes were taken hostage after having killed two of them and the former were eventually killed after many failed rescue attempts.
The Olympics have evolved so far from the Ancient Games; this rise has produced history’s most famous events like protests, boycotts, and even terrorist attacks. However, overall, this event is one of the things we most missed this pandemic, right?