Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Past Olympics

More Olympics!  For past entries, click on the 'Olympics' tag at the bottom of the post.  Again, the book that I'm reading from is called 'The Olympic Games,  Athens 1896 - Athens 2004'.
  • The 1976 winter games were held in Innsbruck.  They had held the winter games in 1964 and they lit a separate flame for each of them.  Denver had been the initial choice but the good people of Colorado decided that it was too expensive and might cause environmental damage so they pulled out.  The games went back to Innsbruck because they were still set up for the games and only needed minor refurbishments.  Figure skating was expanded (or reorganized) and the scoring system was changed.  In a controversial move, the ice skating medals were awarded at the rink instead of at a centralized medal station.  
  • Montreal hosted the 1976 summer games and it had some issues.  Industrial disputes and an unusually long winter delayed construction.  The opening ceremonies apparently took place with building cranes all over the place.  The book says that Montreal is still paying off Olympic debts.  More than 20 African countries boycotted the '76 games because the New Zealand rugby team had played in South Africa.  The Israeli team wore black armbands to remember those killed in Munich '72.  Security was very tight.  (The whole thing sounds like it was played under a big black cloud.  Any memories from the older folks reading this would be appreciated.)  Bruce Jenner won gold in the decathlon and faded from public view forever.
  • The 1980 winter games are the first one that I really remember.  Lake Placid hosted them and (stop me if you've heard this before) they had a lack of snow.  For the first time in history, the Olympics used artificial snow.  The town was small and the press complained about a one hour walk to the press center.  Athletes complained that the Olympic village was too confined and, I guess to prove them right, it was later converted into a prison(!).  These were the 'Miracle on Ice' games where the US shocked the Soviets on route to a gold medal win.  
  • Remember the 1980 summer games, held in Moscow?  Probably not as the US didn't attend, boycotting in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  Ever since Munich, the Olympics had undergone a terrible run and apparently there was some doubt to the future of the whole thing.  The book says that the opening ceremonies were well staged and 'gestures of protest . . . were largely ignored by the television cameras'.  The official poster is without a doubt, the ugliest in the history of the games.  It sounds like the sports themselves went well with many records and achievements met. 

1 comment:

Sarita said...

I think you mean Bruce Jenner won gold in the decathlon and faded from public view... until he got a reality show in 2007.