ATLANTA (Town) GEORGIA
The Atlanta Olympic Games were loaded with many symbolic meanings, as they were the centennial games, the ones chosen to close the first century circle in the history of the institution. Unfortunately the death of one person and the injuries of 110 people after a bomb explosion in the Centennial Olympic Park stigmatized this very important anniversary.
A world wide known boxer, Muhammad Ali, lit the Olympic Flame. The presence of such a living symbol of the U.S. athletic life - and in a manner of speaking of political life as well - should be considered as Atlanta's message against racism.
One of the most impressive performances was Michael Johnson's: He established an astonishing new world record over 200m and furthermore he had a double success over both 200m and 400m, for the first time in the history of the Olympics. Other athletes who stood out were Carl Lewis who won the same individual event four times as well as his ninth gold medal and Naim Suleymanoglu, one of the best weightlifters of all times, who was the first athlete in this field to win three gold medals.
As far as the majority of the nations that participated in the Atlanta Olympic Games are concerned, on their return to home they carried heavy luggage. Seventy-nine nations in a total of 197 won medals and 53 won gold and thus they should have been very satisfied!
Links with various Media's WebPages:
British Broadcasting Corporation
1996 Atlanta Olympics: Various WebPages
LOS ANGELES (Town) CALIFORNIA
In 1932 the Olympics are hosted for the second time on American soil. The Los Angeles Games mark also the begging of the electronics era in transmitting the events results throughout the world.
Despite the fact that the U.S. had not recovered completely from the 1929 financial crash and, also, that the Olympics affair was receiving severe negative comments and criticism from the large media as well as from some Congressmen, Americans through a series of smart activities managed to collect all the money needed. A great source proved to be the 3c stamp that people would buy even when they had nothing to... mail. Another source was the large sponsorings by private companies who undertook all transportation, residence and other expenses. Following this very thought the Brazilian team arrived in Los Angeles on a chartered commercial vessel loaded with coffee to be sold to coffee lovers of California. Well, it turned out to be not such a smart idea with the prices of coffee so low throughout the world. It was judged that the coffee wouldn't even fetch enough money to cover the money spent by the boat's engines for petrol...
Nurmi appeared escorting the Finnish Team but his participation was rejected because his money receiving for advertising was now officially proven. He was granted, though, a seat among dignitaries, for the whole duration of the Games. A good seat indeed, while a few meters away, Jim Thorp was begging ticket money...
In the Olympic Village alcohol was strictly prohibited, with the exception of the French who were granted a special permit after they claimed that Beaujolais was part of their nourishment! Eduard Tolan was the first black American athlete to win consecutively the 100m and the 200m races, a living prophecy of the black athletes dominance in these events.
Los Angeles marks a first also for the three-level pedestal for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners, where a hilarious public watched a Philippino 3rd winner who refused to climb on the lower level and stepping on the tallest announced that he does this because he is short and wouldn't see clearly...
The last innovation of the Los Angeles Games was the use of the phrase: "It is far more important to participate than to win, just as important in life is not the triumph but the struggle". The sentence, originally attributed to de Coubertin, is actually a part of the Sunday speech by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot in Saint Paul's Cathedral in London...
Text by Dimitri N. Marcopoulos
1932 Los Angeles Olympics: Various WebPages
It's the 3rd time that the Olympic Games travel to the United
States. New systems were devised and applied, many financed by large corporations
who acted as sponsors. TV rights alone surpassed $ 267 million while world wide
TV viewers have been estimated to have been more than 2.5 billion!
The day the Olympian torch was landing on American soil, the 8th of May, the Soviet Union announced officially their denial to participate. That was the Soviet answer to the American 1980 Moscow boycotting.
The opening day was inaugurated by President Ronald Reagan. Right after his opening speech the world saw a Hollywood style extravaganza that drew much caustic criticism, especially for its low taste. At a certain stage, after a parade of 43 brass bands, an orchestra comprised of 86 silver pianos played old Hollywood film tunes and operetta highlights! The Olympic song itself was out of the film Stand By Me, a big commercial 1983 hit. The media projected, on a daily basis, whatever there was to be considered American such as how to tie and throw a lasso rope, how to bake apple-pie, how to cook stuffed turkey et alia!
The U.S. collected the greatest number of golds: 83. Games-star is Carl Louis who equaled Jesse Owen's performance winning golds for 100m and 200m, the long jump and the last leg in the 4x100m. relay that brought the victory to the U.S. team.
Carl Louis was called the Black Apollo by sportswriters, a nickname he seemed to like very much. A magazine published a photograph of one of the postcards Carl had sent once to his mother. "To mamma with love..." and signed: "Your Black Apollo". Carl Louis studied at the UCLA and ever since his early years he had shown how lonely and a boy of few words he was. In the Santa Monica Athletic Club where he used to train he could outrun well known Californian sprinters. He was devoted to his mother who was the only company he seemed to prefer. There are a number of things that have been written as to his erotic choices. Answering once to a certain impolite question posed on him by a scandal-chaser reporter he answered: "Can't you find a job in a decent magazine?" After this, one of the greats in sportswriting, Ian McCloud, wrote: "It's a pity for America to have discovered such a sporting treasure and leave to the mad dogs to feed their vanity..."
Accountancy announced a profit of $ 215 million. It's worth to be noted that part of this profit came from the percentage paid by ad agencies who had sold, mile to mile, the Olympic Torch route-run, from the East to the West Coast!
Text by Dimitri N. Marcopoulos
1984 Los Angeles Olympics: Various WebPages
SAINT LOUIS (Town) MISSOURI
After marathon-length discussions, debates and arguments, the 1904 Games were to be hosted in St. Louis. The balance tilted in favor of the US, after President Theodor Roosvelt's instigation who was planning through the Olympics, to give more grandeur to the World's Fair, held there to celebrate the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase from France. Thus, once more the Games were reduced to a mere world's fair sideshow.
With the events being held in the center of the North American continent, the problem of the distance in traveling meant that there were very few overseas entrants. Even de Coubertin did not attend. Thus, 85% of the competitors were Americans and, to none's surprise, they won 84% of the total of medals. A sports commentator wrote that the St. Louis Olympics was a private shootout between US universities! In such circumstances the Games degenerated into some sort of a farce as in most of the events the whole number of competitors, were classmates in the same school!
Under the somewhat loose controls applied on most sports, some strange things occurred. In the 400m race no heats were held and all 13 entrants ran in the final. The 200m final were won by Archie Hahn, with all three of his opponents being given a yard handicap under the rules then governing false starts.
There was a scandal in the marathon race when the first man out of the stadium was also the first man back. That was Fred Lorz (USA). It later transpired that he had gladly accepted a long ride in a car, and when the car itself broke down near the stadium, he resumed running. "As a joke", he told reporters. Lorz was immediately banned for life and the title was given to British born American Thomas Hicks, who had finished in an almost collapse condition because of the strychnine he had received as a stimulant - a practice then common and acceptable...
Text by Dimitri N. Marcopoulos
1904 St. Louis Olympics: Various WebPages
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