That's History

No Medals Awarded for Political Stands

Tuesday, 7/31/12

The International Olympic Committee portrays the Olympic Games as a competition between the world’s greatest athletes in an effort to promote unity, competition, and pride.They believe the games should transcend political and other issues. As with many things in life, what ought to be is not what actually exists. The reality is that many participants and countries have used the games to make political statements. Some of the more extreme statements have resulted in tragedies such as the bombings in Atlanta in 1996 or the hostage situation in the Munich games in 1972.

In this edition of That’s History, Jonathan Zimmerman looks at the relationship between politics and the games, including the IOC’s refusal to hold a moment of silence in commemoration of the tragedy at Munich.

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