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1936 Olympics Open, Nazis Rule August 1, 1936

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Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Olympics. On August 1 of that year, Adolph Hitler welcomed the world to Berlin for two weeks of fun, and nothing but fun, with just a little bit of political propaganda thrown in.

In 2011 on the 75th anniversary of the Berlin Olympics, Frank Deford wrote in Sports Illustrated:

While, of course, nothing can approach the horror of the terrorist murders at the 1972 Olympics, it is now the 75th anniversary of what were surely the most fascinating and historically influential Games—- those in Berlin that began this very week in the summer of ’36. It was novelty and glory and evil all in athletic conjunction as never before or since.

1931 Germany is awarded the games. 1933 the Nazis take over, and calls for Olympicb boycott begin

The games were awarded to Berlin by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1931, two years before Hitler came to power. In the German federal election in 1933, the Nazis won a plurality of the seats in the Reichstag. A few weeks after the election the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which effectively gave Hitler full dictatorial power.

Almost immediately the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was besieged with protests calling for the relocation of the 1936 games. Responding to the uproar, IOC President Comte Henri de Baillet-Latour wrote to Avery Brundage, President of the American Olympic Committee (AOC), “I am not personally fond of jews and of the jewish influence, but I will not have them molested in no way [sic] whatsoever.” He added, “I know that they [the Jews] shout before there is reason to do so.”

In 1934 Brundage went to Germany to see for himself how the Germans were treating the Jews. While he was there, he convinced himself that the AOC should ignore the calls for a a boycott. After returning to the U.S. Brundage wrote in an AOC’s pamphlet “Fair Play for American Athletes” that American athletes should not become involved in “the present Jew-Nazi altercation.”

Brundage has his way. There is no boycott

And so the U.S. and the rest of the world all accepted the Nazis’ invitation to compete at their Olympics, and that meant that the Germans had to do some “housekeeping”. In June of 1936 the Manchester Guardian reported that “the more conspicuous and easily removable anti-Semitic displays posters and signs have been removed so that visitors to the Olympic Games and the competitors shall not get an unfavorable impression of Germany.”

But the U.S. Team does not get a warm welcome

Even though the U.S. team dignified the Nazi Olympics by showing up, they did manage to stir up a mild controversy as they entered the stadium for the Parade of Nations. The night before, the Americans changed their plans so that they would not appear to be giving even a modified Nazi salute. They had originally intended to extend their arms with hats in hands, but instead they decided to just remove their hats, place them over their hearts and look eyes right, at their host, Adolph Hitler. The AP’s Alan Gould reported that the Americans “were welcomed with a noisy whistling reception which some European observers suggested was tantamount to the European “raspberries.”

Carter Announces Olympic Boycott Threat January 20, 1980
U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Wins 5 Gold Medals July 31,1976
Carl Lewis Wins 9th and Last Gold July 29, 1996
Mathias Repeats in Olympic Decathlon July 26, 1952
Edwin Moses Wins First Olympic Gold July 25, 1976
Perfect 10 for Nadia – July, 18 1976
Flo Jo Sets 100-Meter Record July 16, 1988

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U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Wins 5 Gold Medals July 31,1976

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The U.S. Olympic boxing team won seven medals on the night of July 31, 1976. The haul for the American fighters included five gold, one silver, and one bronze.

Several members of the 1976 team went on to win professional championships, including Boxing of Fame member Michael Spinks and his brother Leon Spinks. After turning professional, Leon Spinks won the heavyweight championship, defeating none other than Muhammad Ali.

Other gold medal winners on the 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team include Leo Randolph who won the bantamweight title; lightweight Howard Davis, winner of the Val Barker Tropy (awarded to the Olympic boxing athlete who exemplifies style during competition); and Sugar Ray Leonard, who won the gold as a light welter weight. Leonard had a spectacular professional career and is considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time.

MONTREAL-Digging and blasting like prospectors who know exactly what they’re doing, American boxers shook loose an avalanche of gold tonight in the Olympic finals at the Forum. When the last stick of dynamite had been detonatedby Leon Spinks in the light heavyweight class, the young team many experts thought would be outslugged by East Europeans and Cubans had walked off with five gold medals. They could have used a pack-mule to lug the gold, because no other United States boxing team has ever won any more of it than they did tonight before an appreciative standing room crowd of 20,000.
Steve Cady, NY Times, read more

U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Wins 5 Gold Medals July 31,1976
Carl Lewis Wins 9th and Last Gold July 29, 1996
Mathias Repeats in Olympic Decathlon July 26, 1952
Edwin Moses Wins First Olympic Gold July 25, 1976
Perfect 10 for Nadia – July, 18 1976
Flo Jo Sets 100-Meter Record
July 16, 1988

Carter Announces Olympic Boycott Threat January 20, 1980

Dempsey Carpentier 1st $Million Gate July 2, 1921
Mike Tyson Rape (Alleged) July 19, 1991

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Carl Lewis Wins 9th and Last Gold July 29, 1996

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Carl Lewis 1996 Olympics Sports Illustrated Signed Cover $80.15 Click to see more Carl Lewis collectibles

Carl Lewis 1996 Olympics
Sports Illustrated Signed Cover $80.15
Click to see more Carl Lewis collectibles

Carl Lewis won the gold medal in the long jump at the Olympics in Atlanta, on July 29, 1996. Lewis had previously won the gold in the long jump at the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Olympics. Only three other athletes have won individual gold medals in four consecutive Olympics. Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom did it in 1948, 1952, 1956, and 1960. American discuss thrower Al Oerter won his gold medals in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. Paul Ainslie, an Englishman, has won four straight Olympic sailing events, starting in 1996 through 2012.

1996 would have been Lewis’s fifth Olympic competition. At the age of 19, he won a place on the 1980 team, but the U.S. boycotted those games which were held in Moscow, protesting the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

More recently, Lewis became embroiled in controversy questioning the dominance of the Jamaican sprinters.

The reigning 100- and 200-meter Olympic gold medalist blasted Lewis in his press conference Thursday, ripping the former U.S. champion for remarks Lewis has made about the Jamaican team and doping in track.
“I’m going to say something controversial. Carl Lewis – I have no respect for him,” Bolt said. “The things he says about the track athletes are very downgrading. I think he’s just looking for attention, because nobody really talks about him. I’ve lost all respect for him. All respect.”
Read more, sports.yahoo.com

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Mathias Repeats in Olympic Decathlon July 26, 1952

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After winning the Gold in the decathlon for the U.S., at the 1948 London Olympics, Bob Mathias delivered a repeat performance at the Helsinki games. Although he finished 8th in the 1,500 meters on July 26, 1952; the last of the grueling, 2 day, 10 event competition; Mathias had built enough of a lead in the prior events to to break the world decathlon record along the way to winning a second gold medal.

The first day of the competition was on July 25. Mathias took an early lead, winning the 100 meters with a time of 10.9 seconds. In the long jump he leaped 22′ 10.80″, which was only good enough for 6th place, but then he won the shot put with a toss of 50′ 2.37″. He took third place in the high jump, with leap of 6′ 2.81″. In the last event of the first day, Mathias ran the 400 meters in 50.2 seconds, and blew the field away. After five events he had 4,367 points, and a comfortable lead over his closest competitors, Milton Campbell and Floyd Simmons; both Americans.

Mathias began day two of the decathlon, running the 110 meter hurdles in 10.91 seconds, and took second place. He won the discuss with a throw of 46.89 feet. He cleared 13′ 1.47″ in the pole vault, for third place, and he threw the javelin 194′ 3.15″, winning the event.

Mathias scored a total of 7,887 points in Helsinki, beating his own world record of 7,825 which he set at the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles.

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Edwin Moses Wins First Olympic Gold July 25, 1976

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Edwin Moses won the gold medal in the 400 meter hurdles at the Montreal Olympics on July 25, 1976. In winning the race, Moses, who at that time was a 20 year old engineering student at Morehouse College, also set a world record for the event, with a time of 47.64 seconds. His 1976 Olympic win would mark beginning of Moses’ domination in the 400 meter hurdles. He reigned virtually unchallenged for more than a decade, winning another Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles in 1984. (The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games, or would have undoubtedly won there as well.) Moses also bested in own record, three more times. His fastest time ever was 47.03, in 1983. The record stood for years. Moses remained unbeaten in his event from 1977 to 1987, winning victories in more than 100 consecutive finals.

Born 31st August 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, the second of three sons, Moses began his athletic career in age group competitions and later in high school in the 180 yard low hurdles and 440 yard dash. Guided by his parents’ influence on him as educators, he accepted an academic scholarship in engineering from Morehouse College rather than an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Although there was no track at Morehouse College, Moses trained for the 1976 Olympic trials using the public high school facilities around Atlanta. He subsequently won the trials in the 400 meter hurdles with an American record of 48.30 seconds, making his first Olympic team. At the summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, he became the Olympic Champion, bettering the Olympic and World Records with a time of 47.63 seconds. For the next decade he dominated the hurdles accumulating the most amazing string of consecutive victories ever amassed by an individual athlete. Over a period of nine years, nine months and nine days, from August 1977 until May 1987, Moses collected 122 straight victories, 107 of these were finals; this winning streak has remained unbeaten and stands in the Guinness Book of Records to this date.
Edwinmoses.com, read more

1976 Montreal Summer Olympics Edwin Moses Gold Medal Ticket Stub 400m Hurdles

1976 Montreal Summer Olympics Edwin Moses Gold Medal Ticket Stub 400m Hurdles
Click here to see on eBay

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Kerri Strug, Despite Ankle Sprain, Wins Gymnastics Gold for U.S. July 23, 1996

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By landing a solid vault on a sprained ankle, Kerri Strug enabled the U.S. to win its first gold medal in the Womens Gymnastics team all around competition.

The irony of Kerri Strug’s moment of a lifetime is that it wasn’t necessary. As it turned out, the final Russian faltered in her floor exercise, rendering Strug’s second vault meaningless in the box score. Thankfully she didn’t know it at the time, because what Strug did in Atlanta in 1996 is the most perfect example of the Olympic ideal, and it’s why sport will forever be the ultimate reality show. Read more sports.yahoo.com

Strug lands hard on both feet, amazingly without stumbling. Yet when she lands, she hears another crack in the same ankle. She gingerly picks up her damaged ankle and folds it behind her, keeping her balance, to the shock of everyone in the crowd and everyone watching on TV. Her mind tells her body to stand upright for the traditional post-performance pose. She hops on one foot to face one side of the crowd, then hops again to face the other, all the while holding up her injured ankle.
ESPN, read more

1996 gymnastics

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