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Babe Didrikson Robbed of Olympic Gold August 7, 1932

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Babe Didrikson won a silver medal in the Women’s High Jump at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. She actually cleared the same height as the gold medalist, her American teammate and rival, Jean Shiley (5′ 5.25″), however in a bizarre ruling, the judge said that Didrikson’s leap was illegal. Apparently the judge didn’t think that any of her prior jumps were improper, or she would have been disqualified earlier and would not have been able to win any medal at all.

Grandland Rice in the New York Times attempted to explain:

The bar was moved back to 5 feet 5 1/4, inches. Miss Shiley cleared easily at this new mark. So did Miss Didrikson. But suddenly the presiding judge ruled that the Texan had violated the rule against diving across.

The rule demands that the head follow the hands and feet across the bar, Miss Didrikson had been jumping with a whirl and a flip that sent her head downward after clearing the bar. Up to this point no warning had been issued and as far as anyone could see she had not changed her style in the slightest. It she was out of line on this last jump, she should hove been warned before. It was another of those queer rulings or decisions that have occurred for too often in these games. I had a long talk with the Babe after the event was over. “I have jumped that way all the time,” she said. “I have kept the same style through an A.A.U. Championship, I know I never changed today, but I have no kick to make, It is OK with me. Miss Shiley is a great high jumper. I’d like to say this—when you get up to 5 feet 5% inches you are getting up in the air. I felt like I was jumping aver a mountain. And I don’t mind telling you I’m a little tired.”

Didrikson was known to be a fierce competitor, so it’s unlikely that she would have been so blase about her second place finish if she had not already won two gold medals at the Los Angeles Games. On July 31 she won the Javelin. Then on August 4 she took the Gold in the 80 meters hurdles.

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1984 Olympics First Women’s Marathon August 5, 1984

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Joan Benoit was the winner of the the gold medal in the marathon at the 1984 Olympics. It was the first time in Olympic history when women competed in that event. The Men’s Marathon has been a part of the modern Olympics since its inception in 1896.

That’s not to say that women hadn’t tried to compete in the Olympic Marathon.

Women had been forbidden from participating in the ancient Olympics. A woman who was caught even as a spectator at the Games could face execution. But women in ancient Greece held their own festival to honor the goddess Hera every five years. Only one athletic event was held-a short footrace.

When the Olympics were revived in 1896, women were again excluded. But, in March of 1896, Stamatis Rovithi became the first woman to run a marathon when she covered the proposed Olympic course from Marathon to Athens. The following month, a woman named Melpomene presented herself as an entrant in the Olympic Marathon. Race organizers denied her the opportunity to compete. Undiscouraged, Melpomene warmed up for the race out of sight. When the starter’s gun sounded, she began to run along the side of the course. Eventually she fell behind the men, but as she continued on, stopping at Pikermi for a glass of water, she passed runners who dropped out of the race in exhaustion. She arrived at the stadium about an hour and a half after Spiridon Louis won the race. Barred from entry into the now empty stadium, she ran her final lap around the outside of the building, finishing in approximately four and a half hours. One Greek newspaper wrote that the Olympic organizers were discourteous to disallow Melpomene’s entry into the race, but nonetheless it would be nearly a century before another woman would run the Olympic Marathon. Read more Marathonguide.com

Benoit won her gold medal posting a time of 2:24:52, which was then the third fastest Women’s Marathon ever run. Her time would have beaten 13 of the 20 previous Men’s Olympic Marathon gold medalists. Paula Radcliff set the current Marathon record on April 13, 2003. She ran the race in 2:15:25.

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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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Martinez, Rogers Perfect Games July 28 1991 and 1994

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Dennis Martinez pitched a perfect game on July 28, 1991. Three years later, to the day, Kenny Rogers also pitched a perfect game. Martinez’s and Roger’s gems were only the 12th and 13th perfect games ever pitched (in the modern era of the Major Leagues).

Since 1994, perfect games have become slightly less of a rare phenomenon. There have been nine perfect games thrown since Rogers did it. The last one was by Felix Hernandez on August 15, 2012.

Cy Young pitched the first and shortest perfect game on May 5, 1904; for the Boston Americans (They weren’t known as the Red Sox until 1908.) against The Philadelphia Athletics. The game only lasted an hour and twenty-five minutes. Four years later Addie Joss turned the trick for the Cleveland Naps (Not to be known as the Indians until 1915.

Fourteen years passed before before Charlie Robertson retired all twenty-seven Detroit Tigers, for the Chicago White Sox. Another forty-four years elapsed before Don Larsen threw what is arguably the most famous pitching performance of all time; his World Series perfect game in 1956, against the Dodgers.

There were three more perfect games pitched in the sixties, none in the the seventies, and three in the eighties. Two more perfect games followed Rogers’ in the nineties, and since then, there have been seven more perfect games, including three in 2012 alone.

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