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Protests Increase at Modern Olympic Games - Memorials, Law, and Politics

Updated on July 3, 2014

2012 London Summer Olympics

Olympic Park, London
Olympic Park, London | Source

Never Again

The few remaining survivors of the team of Israeli Olympians murdered at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich,Germany were deeply hurt by the IOC during 2012. This was the 40th Anniversary year of the massacre of their loved ones who had done nothing wrong but to have had Israeli nationality. They had given their young lives over to hard training and representing their nation at the Olympics. IOC President Rogges refused to include a minute of silence in their honor dying the Opening Ceremonies.

He said that it would be inappropriate.

The survivors wondered, then, why the minute of silence for the deceased Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was appropriate in comparison. Perhaps it was because he was killed in a wreck on his luge at a dangerous corner of the track on a practice run immediately before the Olympic Games were to open. However, are not the members of the entire murdered Israeli Team deserving of 60 seconds of remembrance at every Summer Games to ensure that, like the Holocaust, we will never forget and never allow such horror to repeat?

Rumors of a protest during Opening Ceremonies surfaced, including surviving family members and supporters from USA, Israel and Germany planning to stand during President Rogge's opening remarks and calling out for a minute of silence. NBC's Bob Costas also planned to call for a minute of silence on the air during the ceremonies.

All They Ask Is 60 Seconds Every Four Years

Plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters commemorating the victims of the Munich massacre.
Plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters commemorating the victims of the Munich massacre. | Source
2012 Summer Olympic Games Gold Medal
2012 Summer Olympic Games Gold Medal | Source

Domestic Violence Allegations

There was the possibility that concerned women would arrive at the Summer Games and while there, protest the selection of head coach for USA Taekwondo. They had posted extensive materials about the coach's family that included a late 2010 issue of domestic violence charges that were dropped by the coach's wife in Texas. Possibly connected to the Recession of 2008 - 2010 and to this alleged incident of violence is the abandonment of martial arts school space by the coach (see first reference below).

Questions also arose over a history of many years of Lopez family domination of Team USA martial arts participation leading up to London in 2012. One saving factor was the inclusion of two non-Lopez members on the 4-person team for London. Still, the possibility of protest at the games was a possibility.

These allegations are disturbing in a sport/art that has previously proven to decrease violence along practitioners, according to research in the late 1980s and the decade of the 1990s.

Disturbing also is the fact that two women that pursued what they felt was justice against the coach of USA Taekwondo were met with dismissal from the organization itself. These are Denise Coyle and Rhona Sweet, along with Mandy Maloon, who listed other allegations, such as financial issues and ethics in choosing Team USA members (see first reference below). You can access the allegations and some results at the RecoilTKD link below.

One lesson offered is that male and female targets of violence can help everyone and limit the spread of violence in America by pressing charges. At the same time, they are often afraid to do so because of denial, the fear of even greater retaliation, beliefs that they deserve to be beaten, the inability to support oneself financially without the abuser, and several other reasons.


RecoilTKD at Retrieved 7/20/12.

Fort Worth (Texas) Weekly: (Almost) No Room at the Inn; July 25, 2012 by Krista M. Torralva

  • Quote: Domestic violence numbers are increasing as the recession deepens.

The Times-News: Shooting renews calls for domestic violence shelter in Orange County, North Carolina. 7/25/2012. McClatchy News Service. Retrieved 7/25/2012.

  • Quote: The prevalence of domestic violence nationwide is ‚Äúreally in epidemic proportions, especially since the recession started..."

Created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1913 and used in the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games.
Created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1913 and used in the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games. | Source

North Korea, South Flag

After some sort of initial security breach during the week preceding the 2012 Opening Ceremonies a political faux pas gained much attention.

Before commencement of women's soccer matches before the games, each of the North Korean team was introduced via a large screen monitor with the image of the South Korean flag beside her head shot. This recalls the mistaken playing of the South Korea anthem during North Korea medal acceptance in past games. It cannot be determined whether these mistakes are innocent or politically motivated.

Tensions were raised that shadowed the 2012 Games for history.

Mitt Romney, Utah 2002

Mitt Romney at the 2002 Utah Winter Olympic Games
Mitt Romney at the 2002 Utah Winter Olympic Games | Source

Mitt Romney

The evening news services on broadcast TV in America on July 26, 2012 told us how Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney, who ran the Utah Games in 2002, made allegedly disparaging remarks about the London subway system for the 2012 Games, security arrangements, and other plans. In the minds of the English, Romney also questioned the public commitment to the games among Londoners. Perhaps this was all overreaction in an election year in which Europe likes the incumbent, Barack Obama. Romney later made additional and very positive comments in support of London, its people and its operation of the 2012 Summer Games.

No word was available on Mitt Romney's stance on the IOC President's refusal of a minute of silence for the Israeli Olympic Team of 1972.

Vladimir Putin, Russia 2014


2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics

Russia sent the iconic Olympic Torch to the ISS in space as part of its Olympic Torch Relay leading up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. However, on the ground, trouble brewed, because of anti-gay laws in Russia.

Russian official insisted that only proselytizing of youth to a gay lifestyle was the target of their anti-gay laws and the Sochi Games would not be bothered with these laws and politics. Everyone associated with the Olympics was skeptical. At the London Summer Olympics in 2012, the GLBT house did not materialize and that was an omen of trouble for GLBT persons at the 2014 games.

Rainbow flags will likely present themselves in protest in Sochi, matching the Faberge-like pattern on the shell of Fisht Olympic Stadium in 2014.

Sochi, On the Black Sea

A markerSochi Olympic Stadium, Russia -
Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia
get directions


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      First of all, many thanks to all of you who have taken time to read this Hub and to post comments.

      Security should be a top priority in light of increasing violence we have seen most recently. However, I think Mitt Romney was too full of himself over the 2002 Utah Olympics and just blurted out some thoughts. My question is why he did not visit UK much sooner and even offer help to the British organization (?) That act would have increased good will between our countries.

      Cardisa - Martial arts have created a hot bed of bad will among the different styles. I sat in a conference of mostly Japanese clubs because I was invited to participate in 1988, and once inside, heard 101 disparaging comments about Taekwondo, how horrible its practitioners are, and how the USA Karate Team deserved the spot in the official Games. I was appalled.

      So, too, was I shocked and disappointed in reading an autobiography of a Westerner who trained in the Shao-Ling Temple in the 2000s and reported the style to be completely physical fighting in nature - no mental exercises (not even deep breathing), no art, but plenty of profanity and obscenity among the native practitioners.

      I fear that martial arts have become empty in many sectors - empty of soul as well as empty-handed.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      I was appalled that the Israeli request was denied. I was also appalled by Romney's remarks. He should have kept quiet and instead he seemed to pick up where Obama left off, insulting the Brits! Up interesting and awesome.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Wow, let me comment on the North Korean thing first. That is highly disorganized and disrespectful. Shouldn't there be people in charge of making sure the flag and anthem belonging to each country be tagged properly then double checked for accuracy.

      I am disappointed in the way these people are handling their problems with the USA team coach. Taekwondo and any other martial art is supposed instil discipline and help reduce violence. It seems that some people only do the arts for money and fame. I hope that I haven't offended anyone by my comment.

      It also seems to me that there is some sort of bias when it comes to the Israeli team. 60 seconds is no big deal to show respect to people who innocently lost their lives. I agree with this protest and people should demand that silence be kept for these people.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks for informing us of this issue - as usual - well done.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great and timely hub. I'm going to Google this topic to see if there is an online petition to support this gesture in time for tonight's opening. Thanks for being informative - as usual.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting hub about the summer Olympics and I have to agree that the moment of silence would be most appropriate for those lost lives. I think Romney's words were appropriate if not well received. G4S, the security company, announced they were under-staffed and under-prepared to provide adequate security which certainly is a major problem. I certainly hope all goes well. I really enjoyed your very informative hub.