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Olympic Games tainted by political activity

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Olympic Games tainted by political activity

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The Olympic charter states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Despite this, the Games are often used as a political arena.

Berlin 1936
Hitler uses the games to promote National Socialism

Melbourne 1956
The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland boycott the Games in protest against the Soviet repression in Hungary.

From 1964
The exclusion of South Africa.
In 1968, 1972 and 1976 numerous African countries boycotted the Olympic Games in protest against the South African apartheid regime. The system of apartheid was contrary to Olympic values.

Mexico 1968
American Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos adopt the pose of the Black Panthers, a militant self-defense group against racial segregation, on the winners’ podium.

Munich 1972
Assassination of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militant group Black September.

Moscow 1980
Fifty countries boycott the event in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Moscow 1980
In the midst of the Cold War, Polish pole-vaulter Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz makes a rude gesture to the Russian audience while accepting his gold medal (the anti-Soviet movement was growing at the time in Poland). He later explained that he had fallen victim to a muscle spasm to avoid disqualification

Los Angeles 1984
Countries from the Soviet Block boycott the Olympic Games, replicating 1980, under the pretext that the teams’ security couldn’t be guaranteed owing to American Pershing missiles installed in Western Europe.

Seoul 1988
Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua refuse to participate in protest against the exclusion of North Korea.

Barcelona 1992
Hassiba Boulmerka becomes the first Algerian to win an Olympic title with gold in the 1500m. But because she runs in shorts she is frequently hassled by Muslim groups and receives death threats. She competes in 1992 with a police escort.

Atlanta 1992
Far-right extremist Eric Rudolf kills two with a bomb left in the Centennial Olympic Park in a protest against abortion.

Sydney 2000
Afghanistan is banned from the games after refusing to allow women it its delegation.

Peking 2008
A protest led by Reporters Sans Frontiers tries to convince countries to boycott the opening ceremony in protests at China’s human rights record.

London 2012
Saudi Arabia is threatened with exclusion after failing to allow women into its delegation. A compromise is found (where a veiled judo suit is permitted) but the decision is widely criticised.

Rio 2016
A team of refugees is allowed to compete for the very first time. Created by the International Olympic Committee and comprising sportsmen from countries including Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Syria and Ethiopia, it will march under the Olympic flag.

Rio 2016
Russian athletes are excluded after a decision by the IAAF following allegations of organised doping.

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