Culture and Recreation


Have the Olympic Games been held regularly since 1896?

No. In spite of the fact that international harmony (“Truce of God”) is one of the hallmarks of the modern Olympic movement, the Games have been canceled by the governing body, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), due to world events: In 1916 the Games were canceled because of World War I (1914–18); the 1940 and 1944 Games were called off due to World War II (1939–45).

The Games have been affected by international politics, occasional boycotts, and demonstrations as well. Though the 1980 Summer Games continued as planned, the United States and as many as 62 other noncommunist countries (including Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany) boycotted them in protest of the 1979 Soviet invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. The following Summer Games, held in Los Angeles in 1984, were boycotted by the Soviets. The official reason was cited as “fear,” though some skeptics believed the reason to be more specific: a fear of drug testing. In 1968, in Mexico City, two African American track medalists rose gloved-and-clenched fists of support for black power, which earned them suspension and expulsion from the Olympic Village. Olympic history turned dark when the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were killed in the Olympic Village by the Arab terrorist group Black September. A 1996 bombing at Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, also cast a shadow over the Games.


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