Thursday, June 21, 2012

The History of the Olympic Games - Part 4

Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

Back to Part 3

Part 4: Television and Tragedy

The next five Olympiads would be turning points for a variety of reasons, as well as bringing into question the financial and political viability of the Games.

The 1964 Games in Tokyo were the first to be televised worldwide, which was the turning point for the global popularity that the Games now hold, with every station in every country either broadcasting, or at the very least reporting, on the Games via various media outlets. The 1968 Games in Mexico City then took the broadcasting to another level, as these were the first games the closing ceremony was transmitted in color all over the world. Dick Fosbury introduced the now universally used Fosbury Flop in the high jump. Bob Beamon took the long jump world records, which would stand for 23 years. And the famous shot of Tommie Smith & John Carlos on the podium, holding up one hand each with black gloves on, in protest against segregation in the USA also occurred in Mexico City. That was a peaceful protest compared to what occurred in 1972 in Munich. A Palestinian group, titled ‘Black September’ took Israeli athletes hostage and demanded that Israel release Palestinian prisoners. There was a standoff and unfortunately 15 people died in the aftermath of the hostage situation.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The History of the Olympic Games - Part 3

Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

Part 3: When Politics Became an Olympic Sport

After a twelve year absence due to WWII, the Olympics Games returned to the world stage in 1948 in London. And although the war had ended, the political tension was only just beginning.

Germany and Japan were excluded from these Games due to their involvement in WWII, and in the post war ravaged Britain, rations were still in place, even for the athletes. But true British fighting spirit allowed the Games to take place and de Coubertin, who had died 11 years earlier, would have been proud of the camaraderie of all nations and competitors who took part. The 1952 Games in Helsinki saw the Soviet Union (USSR) send a team, who quickly began to dominate the medal tables, and saw the Republic of China boycott the Games due to the involvement of the People’s Republic of China. These games saw the most world records broken, a legacy which lasted for 56 years – until the Beijing Olympics in 2008!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The History of the Olympic Games - Part 2

Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

Part 2: World War One, World War Two and a Bottle of Coca-Cola

The years that followed the cancellation of the 1916 Berlin Games due to World War One changed the face and history of the Olympics forever.

Belgium were ‘honored’ with hosting the 1920 Games due to the suffering they had endured during WWI. The Games were originally due to be held in Budapest, Hungary, however due to the Austro-Hungarian Empire becoming a German ally in the War, the games were transferred to the Belgian city of Antwerp. Although a subdued affair, they drew in a record number of competitors since the modern Games began. In 1924, the Olympics moved to Paris, France – with one out of the three thousand competitors standing out – Paavo Nurmi aka “The Flying Finn”. He won five gold medals for his middle and long distance running, most notably the 1,500m and 5,000m on the same day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The History of the Olympic Games - Part 1

Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

Part 1: A Brief History of the Olympic Games: de Coubertin and a Dream

In 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the Modern Olympic Games after visiting England and attending the Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games, which have been held since 1850 in Shropshire, England. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was also founded that year, and so began the start of the greatest ‘amateur’ sporting spectacle of all time.

His idea? To improve international relations, and promote peace, through sporting events.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Zumbatomic® - Zumba® for kids!

Contributed by Nicola Sanders.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

TV and video games have taken over the nation. Children prefer to spend their time with SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer than getting out the house and exercising, however hard you try.

Play parks, sports classes and swimming pools have all been tried and tested as great ways to get your children outside and staying healthy, but what if your child doesn’t enjoy these activities? Do you want your child to get off the couch, get their heart pumping, feet jumping and having a great time? Then it’s time to get involved with Zumbatomic®!