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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

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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, BBC.com

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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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

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Mary Decker Trips and Loses Chance for Gold – August 10,1984

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The Women’s 3,000 Meter run made its debut at the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles. Much attention was focused on the race because one of the favorites, Zola Budd, was born and raised in South Africa. In January of 1984, the 17-year-old Budd, running barefoot in Stellenbosch, South Africa, broke Mary Decker’s world record in the 5,000 meters. Budd’s time was not recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because she was a South African. South Africa at the time was excluded by the IAAF and the International Olympic Committee, because the ruling National Party was still enforcing its official policy of Apartheid.

After “breaking” Decker’s record, Budd dreamed of testing against herself against her idol, Mary Decker. With the political situation in South Africa however, any side by side competition with Decker was not even a remote possibility. However, Frank Budd, Zola’s father, had other ideas. Frank Budd’s father was born in London. That meant that he was eligible to receive an Brittish passport. So thinking that perhaps Zola could compete in the 1988 Olympics, he applied

Then the media/political circus began. David English, editor of The Daily Mail got wind of the story. He made a few phone calls, some strings were pulled, and ten days later Zola Budd had an Brittish passport and was eligible to run for Great Britain at the LA Olympics.

While Budd had the more interesting, controversial story, Decker was still the prohibitive favorite to the gold medal in the 3,000. In 1983 she won both the 1,500 and the 3,000 at the World Championships in Helsinki. In 1982 Decker set six world records at distances ranging from the mile to 10,000 meters.

At the start of the Olympic final Decker broke into the lead. For the first four laps Decker led the race, but Budd was never more than a half stride behind her. Then just before the five minute mark, Budd passed Decker. Seconds later, Decker tripped on Budd’s heel, fell off to the side, and was out of the race.

Then it was a three woman race among Budd, Romanian Marica Puica and the UK’s Wendy Sly.They ran together in a pack until the last lap when they lost Budd, who fell back and wound up in seventh place. Puica won the Gold Medal. She had a comfortable lead at the finish, ahead of Silver Medalist Sly.

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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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