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.
Hitler uses the games to promote National Socialism
The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland boycott the Games in protest against the Soviet repression in Hungary.
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.
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.
Assassination of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militant group Black September.
Fifty countries boycott the event in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
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.
Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua refuse to participate in protest against the exclusion of North Korea.
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.
Far-right extremist Eric Rudolf kills two with a bomb left in the Centennial Olympic Park in a protest against abortion.
Afghanistan is banned from the games after refusing to allow women it its delegation.
A protest led by Reporters Sans Frontiers tries to convince countries to boycott the opening ceremony in protests at China’s human rights record.
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.
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.
Russian athletes are excluded after a decision by the IAAF following allegations of organised doping.