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Flashback: A look at Summer Olympics past

Here’s looking at all the Summer Olympics since 1886.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Every Olympic meet has witnessed some definition defying feats, a spectacle of historic wins or even tragic losses. What has emerged from its legacy, is a series of culminating moments which have given dimension to history and hope to countless athletes across the world. What also inundates the Olympic meets are the parallel histories of people whom the athletes represent.

Here is a formulation of all the Summer Olympic Games ever since 1896.

1896 (Athens) | James Connolly (USA) won the triple jump, becoming the first Olympic champion in more than 1,500 years.

1900 (Paris) American Alvin Kraenzlein claimed gold in four athletics events (men’s 60m, 110mH, Pourtales (Sui) became 200mH and long jump) Sailor Helene de the first women’s champion.

1904 (St. Louis) | The first time Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were given American gymnast George Eyser, whose left leg was. made of wood, won six medals.

1908 (London) | Competitors paraded behind their country’s flag for the first time. Italian marathoner Dorando Pietri’s gutsy effort earned him praise and a special trophy. 1912 (Stockholm) | Competitors from all five continents.

1912 (Stockholm) | Automatic timing devices for track events and photo finish introduced.

Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon and decathlon to be dubbed the ‘greatest athlete in the world’.

1920 (Antwerp) | Olympic Flag and Oath debuted.

Nedo Nadi (Ita) picked up five gold medals in fencing Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who won a silver at the age of 72, remains the oldest medallist ever.

1924 (Paris) | First city to host the Games twice; Closing ceremony and Olympic Village introduced.

Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi adds five gold medals to the three he had won in 1920; Swimmer Johnny Weismuller (USA), the winner of two gold medals, became more famous for playing ‘Tarzan’; Games broadcast for the first time; The distance for the marathon (42km and 195m), which was run for the first time in 1908, was fixed.

1928 (Amsterdam) | For the first time, a symbolic fire was lit during the Games; the Tradition of Greece leading the parade started.

India started its winning streak in men’s hockey. It would win gold at all Games till 1956.

1932 (Los Angeles) | Duration of the Games was 16 days. It has remained between 15 and 18 days ever since.

Tradition of medallists standing on a podium with the flag of the winner being raised started.

Mildred ‘Babe’ Didrikson (USA), who later excelled in women’s golf, bagged two gold medals in athletics.

1936 (Berlin) | Torch relay introduced; First Games to be televised.

At 13 years and 268 days, US diver Marjorie Gestring emerged the youngest individual Olympic champion.

African-American athlete Jesse Owens became a legend by winning four gold medals. (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, long jump).

1948 (London) | Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands took gold in four sprint events Bob Mathias (USA) won the first of his two decathlon titles.

1952 (Helsinki) | Long distance great Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia won three gold medals while his wife Dana claimed the javelin gold.

Wrestler K.D. Jadhavi clinched Independent India’s first individual medal (bronze).

1956(Melbourne)| Following a suggestion from Ian Wing athletes marched together at the closing ceremony.

Equestrian was held in Stockholm due to quarantine laws.

1960 (Rome) | Adoption of the official Anthem; Abebe Bikila, running barefoot, won the marathon to become the first Black African Olympic champion.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, later to become ‘The Greatest’, Muhammad Ali, won the light heavyweight title.

Milkha Singh finished fourth in 400m.

1964 (Tokyo) | First Olympics in Asia; Yoshinori Sakai, who lit the cauldron, was born on August 6, 1945, the day the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima First time a team sport for women (volleyball) was held.

1968 (Mexico City) | Doping tests introduced.

Bob Beamon uncorks the monstrous 8.90m effort in men’s long jump, while fellow American Dick Fosbury won the high jump with his innovative technique (Fosbury Flop).

Vera Caslavska, the vivacious Czech gymnast, claimed four gold and 2 silver medals.

1972(Munich) First official mascot (Waldi the daschund).

USA’s Mark Spitz wona a record seven gold medals in swimming, all with World record timings in a Games rocked by the massacre of Israeli athletes.

1976(Montreal) 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci of Romania captivated the world scoring seven Perfect 10s in gymnastics.

1980 (Moscow) | Russia’s Aleksandr Dityatin, with medals in every men’s gymnastics event, was the first athlete to win eight medals at one Games.

Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba bagged a third straight super heavyweight boxing gold.

1984 (Los Angeles) | Carl Lewis matched Jesse Owens’ 1936 achievement by winning the same events.

P.T. Usha missed out on a 400mH bronze by 1/100th of a second.

1988 (Seoul) | Lewis took the 100m gold after the original winner Ben Johnson was disqualified for doping.

Steffi Graf completed the Golden Slam by adding the tennis title to the four majors.

Matt Biondi (USA) swam away with five gold medals.

1992 (Barcelona) Olympic Truce observed for the first time.

The USA’s ‘Dream Team’ dominated men’s basketball.

Gymnast Vitaly Scherbo won six golds, including four in one day.

1996 (Atlanta) | All recognised National Olympic Committees were represented at the Centennial Games and Muhammad Ali lit the cauldron for an emotional start.

Austria’s Hubert Raudaschl became the first to compete in nine Olympics.

Leander Paes won a bronze in tennis.

2000 (Sydney) Great Britain’s Steven Redgrave was the first rower to win gold medals at 5 consecutive games.

Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win a medal, a bronze in weightlifting.

2004 (Athens) | Swimmer Michael Phelps equalled a single Games record with eight medals, including six gold German Canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first to win two medals in five Games.

German canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first to win two medals in 5 games.

Shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore bagged India’s first individual silver.

2008 (Beijing) | Phelps bettered Spitz’s 1972 achievement by claiming eight golds.

Shooter Abhinav Bindra won India’s lone individual gold medal, the only one till date: India also claimed 2 bronze medals.

2012 (London) | Phelps added four gold medals to his record total, while Bolt reprised his Beijing show.

India won silver through Sushil Kumar (wrestling) and Vijay Kumar (shooting), and bronze through Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Gagan Narang (shooting) and M.C. Mary Kom (boxing).

2016 (Rio) | Bolt completed the ‘triple triple’.

Joseph Schooling bested Phelps in 100m butterfly.

P.V, Sindhu won silver in badminton while Sakshi Malik gave India a bronze in wrestling.

US gymnast Simone Biles put on a stunning performance to win the women’s all-around Olympic gold medal. She ended up with four gold medals and a bronze.

With a tally of 2542 medals (since 1896), the USA is the most successful nation at the Summer Games. Independent India has 26 (9 gold, 5 silver and 12 bronze)


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:57:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/flashback-a-look-at-summer-olympics-past/article35482972.ece

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