Significant Political Events at the Olympic Games (Part 2)

Melbourne 1956: Two Protests

Two protests resulted in fewer than 67 countries participating in the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. One of the protest is the Suez Crisis in the Middle East which came about when Israeli brigades invaded the Sinai Peninsula in October 1956. Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq boycotted the Olympic Games to protest against the invasion from Israel.

Meanwhile, the Soviet army invaded Budapest, Hungary just a few weeks before the Olympic opening ceremony which raise  the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland to be pulled out of the Games while Hungary remained in the Games to win an intense water polo face-off between its team and the U.S.S.R.

Mexico City 1968: Severe Shooting and Civil Rights Protest

The 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City witnessed two major political events. The first one occurred about 10 days before the opening ceremony of the Games, in which Mexican students joined a protest in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in  Tlatelolco – the neighbor city of Mexico City. They protest against the use of government funding for the Olympic Games instead of for social programs. The Mexican army filled the plaza and opened fire, killing over 200 protesters and injuring more than 1,000 others, which became to know as the Tlatelolco massacre. 

The other one is the American politics infiltrated the athletics competition. U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos protested their country’s actions toward black citizens during the men’s 200-meter award ceremony by taking their first- and third-placed podiums barefoot and, and raised a single black glove while bowing their heads during the playing of the U.S. national anthem,m. The two sprinters and second-place Peter Norman from Australia wore human rights badges which made the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee eventually banned them