The Middle East - Participation of Syria In the Modern Olympic Games Since 1948
Few Nations Travel To All Of the Olympiads
A question was asked about whether the nation of Syria sent an Olympic Team to the 2012 London Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The upfront answer is YES, but this is not the first Team Syria. That was a group who participated back in 1948, the year that Israel became a nation. Syria has participated in a total of 12 Olympiads as of this date.
What sets Team Syria apart in 2012 is that the Syrian Arny is fighting a war back home during the London Summer Games. As of July 2012, an uprising in that country had been ongoing for 17 months. Some athletes expressed special concerns about family members trapped in the city of Aleppo in the northern part of the nation.
The uprising is a protest against the policies of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has included the escape of 140,000 individual rebels to Jordon
Early on the morning of July 27, a family attempted to slip through the traditional farmlands and olive groves of Syria in order to enter Jordan. Their 6-year-old son was shot in the neck, falling dead just before reaching the border. The little boy is now held up as a martyr.
Events such as these are difficult for the Olympians of this country to hear and necessitate care when expressing related opinions.
Excape Route of a 6-Year-Old Martyr
Team Syria, Summer 2012
The 2012 delegation from Syria is the largest to present itself to the Olympic Games since the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.
Members of the Syrian Summer Olympic Team for 2012 include 6 men and 4 women:
- Majed Aldin Ghazal, age 25 - Men's High Jump and Flag Bearer for the Opening Ceremonies
- Azad Albarazi, age 24 - Men;s Swimming in the 100 metre Breaststroke
- Ahmad Saber Hamcho, age 19 - Equestrian, Individual Jumping with horse Wonderboy
- Oscar Hasannen, age 22 - Cycling, Men's Road Race of 250 Kilometres
- Ahed Jghli, age 30 - Men's Weightlifting at 105 kg or 231 pounds
- Wessam Slamana, age 26 - Men's Boxing, Bantam Weight (56 kg, approx 124 pounds)
- Ghfran Almouhamad, age 23 - Women's 400 metre Hurdles
- Bayan Juma, age 18 - Women's Swimming in the 100 metre Freestyle
- Thuraia Sobh, age 26 - Women's Weightlifting at 75 kg or 165 pounds
- Raya Zin Aldden, age 24 - Women's 10 metre Air Rifle
The Syrian Flag
The colored bands across the Syrian Flag come from the Arab Liberation flag. The bands represent Oppression (black), Victory through Bloody Struggle (red), and the new Bright Future (white) at the center and most important station on the flag.
The two stars in the center band of color symbolize the states of Syria and Egypt.
Syria In Recent History
Summer Olympiads Attended by Team Syria, Winning Three Total Medals
- 1948 - London, England of the United Kingdom. - The year Israel became a nation, post WWII.
- 1960 - Rome - Syria attended as part of the UAR delegation, alongside Egyptians.
- 1968 - Mexico City - A demonstration of Black Power symbols.
- 1972 - Munich, Germany - The year of the Munich Massacre
- 1980 - Moscow (USA abstained)
- 1984 - Los Angeles, USA (Moscow abstained) - First Syrian Medal, Silver for Joseph Atiyeh, in Men;s Freestyle Heavyweight Wrestling
- 1988 - Seoul, South Korea. - First year that Taekwondo was accepted as a demonstration event.
- 1992 - Barcelona, Spain.
- 1996 - Atlanta, USA - Syria's First Gold Medal went to Ghada Shouaa in the Women's Heptathlon. This was the first year that Syria participated in the Paralympics.
- 2000 - Sydney, Australia.
- 2004 - Athens, the site of the original Olympics in history. - Syria's First Bronze Medal went to Nasser Al Shami in Men's Heavyweight Boxing. Syria's First Medal in the Paralympics - Bronze to Rasha Alshikh in Powerlifting, Womens Weight Class of up to 67.5 kg or about 149 pounds.
- 2008 - Beijing - The Games were plagued by the shadow of ongoing human rights abuses in China and related protests, as well as threats of protests by religious and political groups. Pollution and feral cats were problems. The USA men's volleyball coach's father-in-law was stabbed and killed at a tourist site before the Opening Ceremonies -- Coach Hugh McCutcheon became the USA women's volleyball coach for Olympiad XXX in 2012.
- 2012 - London, England. Olympiad XXX from July 27 to August 12, 2012. A team of 10 members for Syria arrived safely in London. The head of the Syrian Olympics Committee was denied a visa, because he was a friend of the the nation's president and likely condoned the horrendous civil war. However, new reports stated that this visa denial was called a conspiracy by the official in charge of the SOC. On Monday July 30, 2012 we heard that the Syrian Foreign Office reported that its top UK diplomat, Charge d'Affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi quit his post in London and defected to the West (because of the bloody regime of the Syrian president). This Olympiad is historic in many ways, not the least of which is political.
Best Wishes to Syria and their Olympic Team in 2012!