8 Moments in Olympic History

By Mackenzie Pittman

Sydney 2000, North and South Korea Unite

Photo credit: AP

In a moment of reconciliation, both athletes from North and South Korea marched together under a united flag during the opening ceremony of the 2000 games. Although the North and the South competed separately, this moment symbolized a moment of mending and hope.

Berlin 1936, Jesse Owens

At the Berlin games, Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals in track and field, and succeeded in setting 3 world records. In all his glory, Owens defied Adolf Hitler, who had been expecting the Olympic games to prove his Aryan race was dominant. Owens winning gold, however, proved him wrong.

Paris 1900, The First Female Olympiads

In the Paris games, for the first time women participated in events such as sailing, lawn tennis, and golf despite the fact that women’s events had yet to be approved by the International Olympic Committee.

Rome 1960, The First Paralympic Games

Italy held the first paralympic games that included a total of 8 different sports. The games were approved by the International Olympic Committee and were deemed beneficial for impaired athletes.

Mexico City 1968, Black Power Salute

During the award ceremony for the 200-meter sprint in track and field, both Tommie Smith (gold medal), and Carlos (bronze medal), removed their shoes and raised their fist during the National Anthem in a moment of protest. They were challenging the injustice and poverty faced by African Americans in the U.S., and to this day remain a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.

Montreal 1976, First perfect 10 in Gymnastics

14 year old Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian gymnast, made history by receiving the first perfect 10.0 score in gymnastics at the Olympics. She proceeded to make history by being the youngest all-around Olympic gold medalist and earned a perfect 10.0 score 6 more times.

Moscow 1980, U.S. Boycotts the Olympics

President Jimmy Carter declared that the U.S. would not be participating in the Moscow Olympics unless the Soviet Union withdrew their troops from Afghanistan. When the Soviet Union did not comply, the U.S. made the choice to remain absent from the games despite controversy among the athletes.

Munich 1972, The Munich Massacre

On the morning of September 5, 1972, a Palestinian terrorist group called Black September attacked a group of 11 Israeli Olympians, killing 2 and taking the other 9 hostage. The terrorist group demanded that Israel release hundreds of prisoners. When negotiations didn’t take place the 9 hostages, 5 Palestinians, and a policeman were killed. Despite the tragedy, a memorial was held for the 11 athletes and the games resumed to show the terrorist had not won.


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