Modern Olympics was a revival of the ancient games held every four years at Olympia.
The four year interval is called an Olympiad. The ancient Greeks use Olympiad instead of years when describing dates.
Pierre de Coubertin created the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894.
IOC selects a city or cities to hold the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. The two Olympics are interlaced.
Drama in the Olympics
Summer Olympics has its share of drama.
The 1936 Summer Olympics was held in Berlin and was attended by Adolf Hitler (who promoted the supremacy of the Aryan race). Jesse Owens, a black athlete from the USA, won four Gold medals : 100m, 200m, 4 x 100m relay, and Long Jump.
The drama supposedly occurred in the Long Jump event. Jesse Owens was having some problems in the Long Jump when the German competitor Lang advised him to leave about six inches gap behind the broad to prevent overstepping and getting disqualified. Jesse took the advice, regained his poise and went on to win the Long Jump Gold. (One article stated that Jessie Owens later retracted his story.)
1972 Olympics in Munich saw both good and bad.
Mark Spitz (USA) won seven Gold medals in swimming : 100m & 200m Freestyle, 100m & 200m Butterfly, 4 x 100m Freestyle relay, 4 x 200m Freestyle relay, and 4 x 100 Medley relay. He saved energy by not competing in the trials for selected relay events.
Olga Kolburt (USSR) was awarded a couple of Perfect Ten in Gymnastics.
Eleven Israeli athletes were kidnapped (shown live on TV) and murdered by Black September. Mossad took several years to track down and decimate Black September.
USA boycotted the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow.
USSR retaliated with a boycott of the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles.
Highlights from Summer Olympics
- 1896 Athens (Inaugural Olympics)
- 1900 Paris (first time)
- 1904 St. Louis
- 1908 London (first time)
- 1912 Stockholm
- 1916 (Cancelled due to WWI)
- 1924 Paris (second time)
- 1928 Amsterdam
- 1932 Los Angeles (first time)
- 1936 Berlin (attended by Adolph Hitler)
- 1940 (Cancelled due to WWII)
- 1944 (Cancelled due to WWII)
- 1948 London (second time)
- 1952 Helsinki (e.g. Flying Finn in Track and Field)
- 1956 Melbourne (e.g. Dawn Fraser, female Swimmer)
- 1960 Rome (e.g. Abibi Bikila, barefoot Marathoner)
- 1964 Tokyo (e.g. Japanese female Volleyball)
- 1968 Mexico City (e.g. Long Jump Leap by Bob Beamon)
- 1972 Munich (e.g. Mark Sptiz, swimmer; Black September)
- 1976 Montreal (e.g. Nadia Comancie, gymnast)
- 1980 Moscow (Boycott by USA)
- 1984 Los Angeles (second time; Boycott by USSR)
- 1988 Seoul (e.g. Carl Lewis, sprinter and long jumper)
- 1992 Barcelona (e.g. USA Dream Team for Basketball)
- 1996 Atlanta (e.g. USA, most medals)
- 2000 Sydney (e.g. held in September rather than June or July)
- 2004 Athens (second time)
- 2008 Beijing (e.g. Michael Phelps, swimmer)
- 2012 London (third time)
- 2016 Rio De Janerio (first Olympics held in South America)
- 2020 Tokyo (Postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic)
Jesse Owens : Four Golds in 1936 Berlin Olympics (for Track and Field)
Later equaled by Carl Lewis
Mark Spitz : Seven Gold Medals in 1972 Munich Olympics (for Swimming)
Michael Phelps later won Eight Gold Medals
Some Olympians went on to have illustrious careers.
Johnny Weissmuller, swimming champion, gained fame as Tarzan in the movies.
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion, went on to become Mohammad Ali, three time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
During my SPHS days, there was no television in Burma. I received a ticket from Brother Austin as a prize to see the “1960 Rome Olympics” documentary at Thamada (President) cinema.
I was in the UK and was fortunate to see the 1972 Munich Olympics on a Color television.