Important Moments From the Modern Olympic Games
Many of the Games have been marred by events outside the sporting arena, from
Hello I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about some of the most important moments in modern Olympic history. The modern Olympic Games provide us with inspiring examples of human endurance and personal tales of achievement; however, many of the Games have been marred by events outside the sporting arena, from political squabbles to international terrorism. Here are just a few of our most memorable moments. The 1936 games, hosted in Berlin, saw the incorporation of the first Torch Relay but the games were most notable for giving Germany's Nazi regime the opportunity to showcase their ideology on the sporting field. Unfortunately for Hitler, one man was to famously stand in his way. The black US athlete Jessie Owens went on to win 4 gold medals, a fact that the Nazi leader refused to acknowledge. Owens' astounding achievement against the backdrop of fascism secured him a place in Olympic history. The memory of the 1936 Berlin games was very much on the minds of Olympic organisers when post-war West Germany returned as host nation for the 1972 Munich games, planning them to be an open and friendly games. However, sporting events were eclipsed by the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches after their kidnapping by 8 Palestinian terrorists. The games were temporarily halted, only to resume 24 hours later with the IOC President declaring that “The games must go on”. Montreal hosted the 1976 summer games, not only famous for the 30 years of debt the city ran up holding the event and the boycott of 28 African countries, but also for the first “perfect 10” in women's gymnastics. 14-year-old Romanian Nadia Comaneci achieved this feat and took home 3 gold medals in the process, remaining one of the world's best-known gymnasts to this day. 1980 was the year that a political chill descended over the games, with Cold War politics making headlines both in and out of the Olympic arena. The USA decided to boycott the Moscow summer games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous year, with many US allies choosing to either fully, or at least partially, join the boycott. The tit-for-tat nature of Cold War politics drove the USSR to reciprocate the boycott at the 1984 Los Angeles games. Despite the massively reduced number of participating nations in Moscow, more world records were set than in the previous games in Montreal. The 1980 summer boycott ironically followed the winter games earlier the same year in Lake Placid, New York, where the “Miracle on Ice” had led to palpable levels of superpower tension at one of the most memorable sporting victories in Olympic history. This so-called “Miracle on Ice” was a hockey match where the USA underdogs finally beat the long-time champions and runaway favourites, the USSR --an event retold in a number of movies made since. For more excellent and helpful information on historical events of the 20th Century, check us out at About.com.