Monday, April 14, 2008

Olympic Tradition - Politicians and Terrorists

We continue our mini blog series on Olympic Furor over the years. This last part looks at how the Olympics has been used by politicians and terrorists to attempt to make a point, but in the end it usually is a pretty futile and silly gesture. A bunch of countries (Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland) boycotted the games way back in 1956 because of Soviet aggression in Hungary. Cambodia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt boycotted the same games because of the Suez Crisis. In 1972 & 1976, a bunch of African nations boycotted the games because South Africa, Rhodesia and New Zealand were not banned from the games. And there's other instances as well. So by the time the USA boycotted the games in 1980 (we were livid over the USSR invading Afghanistan... kind of ironic huh?) it was old hat. And yes, Russia responded along with a large group of Eastern bloc countries by boycotting the 1984 games in Los Angeles. Remembering all this as a kid, it really stunk. The Olympics were much less fun with only one of the big boys. I mean what's the point? That's like an ACC tournament with only Duke or UNC showing up, but not both. This year looks to be no different as a bunch of countries are considering boycotting the games because of Chinese human rights violations. Come on folks - you got 4 years between the games to talk all you want and work it out.

But politicians are the only ones who have chosen to disrupt the games, terrorists have too. Back in 1972, the Munich games were really creepy as a bunch of terrorists killed Israeli atheleles and then blew themselves up at the airport.