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Five Political Statements Made at the Olympic Games by Athletes

Updated on July 14, 2012

With over one hundred years of the modern Olympics, many athletes have taken the opportunity on the world stage, to raise awareness of political and social issues . Here is a list of five such occasions.


1968 Black Power Salute

The most memorable protest ever made at the Olympic Games was the black power salute of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Smith and Carlos after finishing first and third in the 200m race , bowed there head and each raised a black glove in order to raise awareness of racism in the United States at that time.

Kozakiewicz's Gesture at the 1980 Olympic Games

Władysław Kozakiewicz who was a Polish born pole vaulter who defected to West Germany. During the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Kozakiewicz was booed by the Russian crowd, so made a gesture in retaliation and insult to the Soviet Union, He then went on to set a world record and win the gold medal.

United States and 61 other Countries 1980 Boycott

The 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow have proved to be the most controversial in Olympic history. In response to the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan 62 counties led by the United States boycotted the Olympics, although some athletes from these countries choose to take part under the Olympic flag.


Vera Caslavska Protest at the 1968 Olympics

Caslavska was a Czech gymnest, who was publicly opposed to the Soviet Union, communism and there control over Czechoslovakia. After a controversial decision where she was awarded joint gold medal winner with a Soviet athlete, during the Soviet national anthem she turned her head down and away form the Soviet flag.


1956 Blood in the Water match

During the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Hungary and USSR played each other in a water polo match, where Hungary won 4-0. There was tension between the USSR and Hungary because of Hungarian revolution which played out during the match. The Hungarians taunted the Russians and punchs and kicks were thrown, finally a Hungarian player was struck so hard that it left bleeding with a gash on his head.


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