The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will finally start. After a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday 23 July at the Olympic Stadium. The situation of these Olympic Games is very rare. This is the first time in 124 years that they had been postponed, though they were cancelled 3 times and suffered political interference over the years. Do you know all the historical facts that changed the history of the Games? Check our list below:
The 6th Olympic Games of the Modern Era were scheduled to be held in Berlin. But the Games had to be cancelled due to the outbreak of World War I in July 1914. Initially, the organizers have continued the preparation for the Games for a while, as they thought the war would be “over by Christmas”. Yet, it lasted until November 1918.
1932 Los Angeles
The Olympic Games held in Los Angeles were severely affected by the Great Depression, which began with the crash of the New York Stock Exchange in 1929. In the scenario of an acute world economic crisis, the Olympic Games had a significant reduction in the number of participating countries (37, when there had been 46 countries in the previous Olympics) and, above all, in the number of athletes, dropping from 2,883 to only 1,332.
1940 and 1944
The 1940 Olympic Games were also originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan. But then, both the 1940 and 1944 Summer and Winter Olympics Games had to be cancelled due to World War II.
Held in London, the organizers of the first post-war Olympics decided to ban both Germany and Japan for their participation in World War II. The Soviet Union was invited but decided to not participate.
In the first Olympics in Asia, the IOC decides to ban South Africa from the Games because of the country’s segregationist apartheid regime. The decision is based on the Olympic principles: “any form of discrimination against a country or a person based on race, religion, politics, sex, or other considerations is incompatible with participation in the Olympic movement”.
The Munich Olympics were tragically marked by the attack by the Palestinian group Black September on athletes from the Israeli delegation. Two were killed immediately and nine were taken hostage, against the demand for the release of 200 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. In the end, 18 people died: 11 athletes from Israel, five terrorists, one policeman, and one pilot. The Games were suspended for 34 hours, but, by IOC decision, were resumed and came to an end.
The Montreal Games were boycotted by 22 African countries, led by Tanzania, in protest against the participation of New Zealand, whose national rugby team had gone to play in South Africa, banned from sporting competitions because of apartheid.
In the preparation of the 1988 Olympics, North Korea demanded that 11 of the 23 events be held in their country and wanted its own opening and closing ceremony. The negotiations were not successful and the IOC offered only half of the desired sporting events. The games were then boycotted by North Korea and others socialist countries, including Cuba, Albania, Ethiopia, and Seychelles.
The fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe has resulted in major changes for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. These Olympic Games were particularly a landmark occasion. With The breakup of the Soviet Union, 12 of 15 nations chose to form a Unified Team, while Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania competed with their own teams for the first time since 1936.
The 1992 Olympics also had Germany competing as a unified team for the first time since 1964. Finally, with the end of apartheid, South Africa returned to the Games for the first time in 32 years
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games were postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the first time in its history that the Games have been postponed.