Tuesday, 12 June 2012

1968, Sport: Summer Olympics, Games of the XIX Olympiad

From 12 October till 27 October the 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were held in Mexico City. It was the first time the Games were held in Latin America. The selection process for the 1968 Summer Olympics consisted of four bids, and saw Mexico City be selected ahead of Detroit (USA), Lyon (France) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) at the 60th IOC Session in Baden-Baden, West Germany, on 18 October 1963.

The 1968 Olympic logo was designed by American graphic designer Lance Wyman.

  • In the medal award ceremony for the men's 200 meter race, American athletes Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze) took a stand for human rights by raising their black-gloved fists (Black Power salute) and wearing black socks. The Australian Peter Norman (silver) wore an American "civil rights" badge as support to them on the podium. As punishment, the IOC banned Smith and Carlos from the Olympic Games for life, and Norman was left off of Australia's Olympic team in 1972.
  • Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos
  • The high elevation of Mexico City, 2240 m above sea level, influenced many of the events.
  • For the first time, East and West Germany competed as separate teams, after being forced by the IOC to compete as a combined German team in 1956, 1960, and 1964.
  • On October 2, 1968, ten days before the start of the 1968 Summer Olympics the Plaza de las Tres Culturas was the scene of the Tlatelolco massacre. Avery Brundage, president of the IOC, decided not to cancel the games. In the immediate aftermath of the massacre most prominent Mexicans, with the exception of Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes, condemned the violence but blamed the students for the massacre. As a response, during the opening ceremony, students flew a bird-shaped kite over the presidential box to shape a black dove as a silent protest for the repression.
  • While standing on the medal podium after the balance beam event final, Czechoslovakian gymnast Věra Čáslavská quietly turned her head down and away during the playing of the Soviet national anthem. The action was Čáslavská's silent protest against the recent Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and was repeated when she accepted her medal for her floor exercise routine. The regime responded by banning her from sporting events and international travel for many years.
  • The admittance of the South African team brought the issue of Apartheid to the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. After more than 40 teams threatened to boycott, the IOC reconsidered and banned the South African team.

  • Bob Beamon (USA) jumped 8,90 m in the long jump, an 55 cm improvement over the previous world record. It remained the Olympic record and stood as the world record for 23 years.
  • Bob Beamon
  • Dick Fosbury (USA) won the gold medal in the high jump using his unconventional Fosbury flop technique, which quickly became the dominant technique in the event.
  • Dick Fosbury
  • Věra Čáslavská (Czechoslovakia) won four gold medals in gymnastics.
  • Věra Čáslavská
  • Debbie Meyer (USA) became the first swimmer to win three individual gold medals, in the 200, 400 and 800 m freestyle events.
  • Swimmer Charles Hickcox (USA) won three gold medals (200m IM, 400m IM, 4x100m medley relay) and one silver medal (100m backstroke).
  • The introduction of doping tests resulted in the first disqualification because of doping: pentathlete Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall (Sweden) was disqualified for alcohol use (he drank several beers just prior to competing).
  • Norma Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo (Mexico) became the first woman to light the Olympic flame.
  • Norma Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo

Bob Beamon

Dick Fosbury

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