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Marathon Runner Attacked at Athens Olympics – August 29, 2004

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Olympic Marathon 2004 Athens, leader is taken out by deranged protester

Olympic Marathon 2004 Athens, leader is taken out by deranged protester
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Wack-Job pushes the leader off the course. He manages to finish the race in third place.

At the 22-mile mark of the 26.2 mile race, Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima looked like he was cruising toward the gold medal, when a deranged, defrocked priest from Ireland, adorned in a red kilt and green knee socks, ran out onto the course and pushed de Lima off to the sideline. It took de Lima 15 seconds to get back into the race, and it probably cost him the gold medal.

Miraculously, the Brazilian was able to finish the race and win the bronze medal. De Lima also was awarded the 2004 Pierre de Coubertin (founder of the International Olympic Committee) Award for Sportsmanship.

Appeal Denied

Notwithstanding having won the sportsmanship award, De Lima appealed to the Court of Arbitration of Sport and asked them to award a gold medal to him. (He asked them to award a second gold medal rather than take away the medals that were given to the first and second place finishers.) His appeal was denied.

Read about more Olympic Controversies

First New York Marathon

First Womens’ Olympic Marathon


Munich Olympics Open – August 26, 1972

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The Munich Olympics opened on August 26, 1972.
The following day, Shirley Povitch wrote in the Washington Post:

It was a smashing effort by the opulent city-state of Munich, only seven miles from the Dachau of foul memory, to compensate for Germany’s remembered sins of that era. For the crowd of 80,000 in Olympische Stadion and almost one billion television viewers around the world, Munich wheeled out its best Bavarian manners, and Gemutlichkeit was rampant. Peace, love and joy were the motif of the ceremonies. From on high in Bonn descended the order to stomp any military note, and even army officers detailed to help with the administration had orders to wear civilian clothes. After the parades, 3,200 boys and girls of Munich, aged 10-14, serenaded the 7,000 athletes before the Olympic flame was lighted. This was a switch from 1936 when thousands of Hitler Youth, shouting the glories of Nazi Germany, attended the Olympics in Berlin, and 40,000 helmeted storm troopers lined an avenue for the entrance of their Fuehrer. The Germans were on their good behavior today, and thinking of everything. They gave the opening ceremonies a script unmatched by any previous Olympics, even to edging the entire stadium with the pale, robin’s-egg blue uniforms of the thousands of hostesses and Olympic workers framed against the 360-degree skyline. The joyful skip-dances of Munich’s children were tasteful affairs as they brandished their flower wreaths woven with halo effects.

Opening day at the Munich Olympics wasn’t all sweetness and light. Twenty members of the Rhodesian team (Rhodesia is now known as Zimbabwe.) watched the ceremonies from the stands. Their team was “uninvited” four days before the start of the games.

Rhodesia has been thrown out of the Olympic Games with just four days to go before the opening ceremony in Munich, Germany.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted by 36 to 31 with three abstentions to recommend Rhodesia’s expulsion in the face of mounting international pressure. Two days ago the National Olympic Committees of Africa threatened to pull out of the games unless Rhodesia was barred from competing.
The African nations were demanding Rhodesia’s expulsion on the grounds the country was an illegal regime and members of its team were not therefore British subjects. Read more,

There was also a March against the War in Vietnam The LA Times reported:

About 5,000 anti-Vietnam War protestors marched through Munich Saturday.
The demon strators, armed with clubs hidden beneath their jackets and holding masks and helmets, marched behind a banne r. It read, “Two Faces of Imperialism— Genocide in Vietnam and a Peace Show in Munich.”
Special trains and buses had brought the protestors from various areas of Germany.

And of course among the 7,000 athletes who marched into the Olympic Stadium, were several Israeli team members who were massacred by terrorists, 10 days after the opening ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies 1972 Munich Olympics 10 members of Israeli Team would soon be massacred

Opening Ceremonies 1972 Munich Olympics
10 members of Israeli Team would soon be massacred
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Pete Rose Banned from Baseball – August 24, 1989

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Pete Rose Banned Click Image to See on eBay

Pete Rose Banned Click Image to See on eBay

Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life by Commissioner Bart Giamotti, on August 24, 1989. There is no doubt that Rose bet on games that he was involved with, and that was obviously against the rules, and of course it was bad for baseball. But unlike Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, Rose wasn’t a cheater.

While there is no proof that that he didn’t bet against himself, there is absolutely no evidence that he did. And if you consider how sloppy Rose was about concealing his gambling habits, it’s likely that if he had bet against himself, we’d know it.

The evidence was so staggering that it was difficult to fathom. Records of phone call after phone call made to bookies, sometimes just minutes before the national anthem. Records of bets, one after another, day after day, on virtually every team, including the team he managed, along with the amount of the bet – wagering almost $20,000 per day.
The baseball world — and the world in general — was staggered by the amount of evidence, leaving little doubt that Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader and one of history’s greatest and celebrated players, had gambled on baseball and bet on his own team.
Read more: ESPN

Rose wasn’t a cheater. He was just a pathetic gambling addict.

I tried everything I could every night to win. I told the guy [I bet with] before the season I want my team every night and we’ll settle up at the end of the year. That was my first year without playing. Managing wasn’t enough. I needed more. The more was betting on my team every night.
Read more: Sports Illustrated


Chinese Gymnasts – How Young Were They? August 21, 2008

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Chinese Gymnasts won the “women’s” team all around Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. They were led by He Kexin, who also took a Gold Medal in the individual uneven bars. Even as they were competing, there was rampant speculation that He and several of her teammates were “under aged”. The official age minimum set by the International Olympic Committee at the time of the Beijing Olympics was 16.

On August 21, 2008, the New York Times and several other news sources reported that the I.O.C. was launching an official investigation to determine if the Chinese Gymnasts were in fact under aged.

BEIJING — The International Olympic Committee asked the world governing body for gymnastics to investigate whether members of the Chinese women’s team were too young to compete in the Olympics.

The I.O.C. instructed the international gymnastics federation, known as the F.I.G., to take up the issue with the Chinese gymnastics federation and the Chinese Olympic Committee and report back to the I.O.C. later Friday.

The F.I.G. has asked the Chinese for official documents, including birth certificates, of its entire women’s gymnastics team, according to I.O.C. officials. At the start of the Beijing Games, I.O.C. officials said that they had reviewed documentation provided by the Chinese team, and that they were satisfied that the gymnasts met age requirements.
Read more: NY Times

Bela Karolyi, the former coach of Olympic champions Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci, has said repeatedly he believes the Chinese are cheating. Reached at his Texas ranch Friday, he said he hopes the FIG investigates with objectivity.
“My personal opinion is they want to close it without spectacular results,” Karolyi said. “I’m afraid about that. They’re going to end the issue by saying they will investigate. Nothing much will result. But who knows? I can hope.”
Read more: USA Today

Karoli added:
These people think we are stupid…We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and they get lined up and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can’t be controlled.

On October 1, 2008, the I.O.C. cleared the Chinese Gymnasts

Ben Johnson Gold Medal Stripped

Five Chinese gymnasts suspected of being underage at the Beijing Olympics have been cleared by the International Gymnastic Federation (FIG).
He Kexin – one of the five – won the women’s uneven bars, pushing Britain’s Beth Tweddle into fourth place.
Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to compete.
In a statement, FIG said it regarded the case as “concluded” but insisted it is still looking at the ages of Chinese gymnasts at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Read more: BBC

Olympic Controversy, Read More

However, in 2010 a member of the the 2000 Chinese Gymnastics team was determined to be under aged and was stripped of her Bronze Medal.

Many people remember the gold-medal winning Chinese gymnastic team from 2008. Not all of the competitors looked like they were 16, which is the minimum age to participate in the Olympics. In 2000, there was at least one underage gymnast: Dong Fangxiao. Her true age wasn’t discovered until 2008, when she applied to be an official in the Beijing Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just ruled that Dong Fangxiao was underage, and has taken away the Chinese bronze medal. This ruling changes the official Olympic record; at the same time, it also shows that the Chinese gymnasts from 2008 could eventually lose their medals, if they are proven to be underage at a later date. There is a lot of data supporting that they were underage as well; if they are proven underage, history could repeat itself.
Read more: Yahoo Voices


Tim Donaghy NBA Referee Pleads Guilty August 15, 2007

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Tim Donaghy left the basketball court as a disgraced former N.B.A. referee in July and left a federal court room yesterday as an admitted criminal, a conspirator and a gambling addict.

Donaghy’s downfall and the resulting scandal that has threatened the National Basketball Association’s integrity, came into focus when Donaghy, 40, surrendered to federal authorities and pleaded guilty to two felonies during a hearing at the United States District Court in Brooklyn.
For four years, Donaghy bet on N.B.A. games, including some that he officiated. For at least five months — starting in December 2006 — he advised professional gamblers about which teams to pick, through telephone calls and coded language. And he violated one of the primary tenets for referees by providing the gamblers with information about referee assignments, relationships between referees and players and the health of players.
Those details were disclosed when the charges were unsealed in the 10th-floor court room of Judge Carol B. Amon.
Read more: New York Times

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 — Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee at the center of a betting scandal that has rocked professional basketball, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two federal conspiracy charges, acknowledging that he used inside information to predict the winners of NBA games and passed on his picks to a professional gambler in return for cash.
Read more: Washington Post

NEW YORK (CNN) — Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was released on $250,000 bail after pleading guilty Wednesday to two felonies related to wagering on games he officiated and supplying inside information on games to others.

“Today’s guilty plea and charges serve as a warning that easy money often comes at a high price,” said U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf.

Two of Donaghy’s alleged co-conspirators — James Battista, also known as “Baba” and “Sheep,” and Thomas Martino — were also arraigned Wednesday for involvement in the gambling ring.

Neither of them entered a plea, and both also have been released on an unsecured $250,000 bond.
Read more: CNN


Baseball Strike Starts, Season Ends – August 12, 1994

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There was no Mr. October, and nobody suffered a September swoon; because they played the last games of the season on August 11. The longest ever baseball strike began on August 12, 1994. It lasted until the beginning of the 1995 season when then Federal Trial Judge Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction against Major League Baseball that effectively ended the strike.

NEW YORK (AP) — Tony Gwynn knows full well how costly a baseball strike could be.

The last time players walked out and a season was canceled, so too was Gwynn’s run at .400, Matt Williams’ bid for Roger Maris’ home run record, and a magical season in Montreal.

“There were a lot of guys having great years. We were all in the same position,” Gwynn said. “I think we made a mistake in ’94. Looking back on it, I don’t know if we gained very much. I don’t know if the owners gained very much. I think that should be an example. Both sides should look at what they accomplished and what they gained. I don’t think a strike fixed anything.”

Instead, it aborted a memorable season that also had the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians on the verge of ending playoff droughts and Frank Thomas and Albert Belle fighting for a Triple Crown.
Read more:Sports Illustrated

After years of crisis and scandal, everything that baseball touched, it seemed, now turned to gold. The sport looked healthier than ever, raking in record revenues from gate receipts and national television contracts. Its success reflected a rapidly expanding American economy, one fueled by the dot-com boom and government deregulation that encouraged a new, often mysterious brand of go-go capitalism. If it was not always clear how so much money was to be made by new internet services or new financial instruments, it did not seem to matter, so long as investors continued to believe in them.

Donald Fehr talks about distrust between the owners and the players
Bud Selig talks the history between the Players Association and Major League Baseball.
Tom Verducci talks about the bad blood between owners and players.
Donald Fehr talks about distrust between the owners and the players
Baseball’s prosperity, it would turn out, contained its own mysteries. Underneath all the prosperity, all the success on the field, trouble was brewing. The real game, it developed, was off the field, in corporate boardrooms and hotel conference centers, where men in business suits, not baseball uniforms, would bring the sport’s revival to a jolting halt.


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