Summer Olympics 1948-1960
The 1940 Olympics were awarded to Tokyo, Japan, but the IOC cancelled the Olympics after Japan attacked China in 1938. The Games were moved to Helsinki, Finland, but the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), now Russia, invaded the country, and it was decided not to have an Olympics.
When World War II broke out in 1939, the IOC had yet to designate a place for the 1944 Olympics. They decided not to hold the Olympic Games in 1944 because of the War.
Germany and Japan were not invited to the 1948 Olympics because they were the losing Axis in World War II and did not compete.
The XIV Olympiad was held from July 29 to August 14. Representing 59 nations were 4,099 athletes. They competed in 136 events in 17 sports.
Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands, the “Flying Housewife’ and mother of four, won four gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints, 80m hurdles, and 4x100m relay race.
Audrey Patterson of the U.S. was the first black woman to win a bronze medal in the 200m sprint.
The U.S. had the most medals with 84.
The XV Olympiad was held from July 19 to August 3 and attracted 4,925 athletes from 69 nations, who competed in 149 events in 17 sports. The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), now Russia, made its Olympic debut and had a strong showing, nearly winning more medals than the U.S.; however, the U.S. came out on top with 76 medals.
Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, won gold medals in the men’s 5000m-race, 10000m-race, and the marathon. The Olympics were his first competition in the marathon. He also set Olympic records in all three events. He is the only man to have won all three events.
The XVI Olympiad was held from November 22 to December 8, the end of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Competing in 151 events in 17 sports were 3,184 athletes from 69 nations.
Two groups of nations boycotted the 1956 Games for completely different reasons. Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon boycotted to protest Israel’s invasion of Egypt’s Suez Canal. The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland protested the USSR’s invasion of Hungary.
The latter invasion showed in the actions of athletes from the USSR and Hungary in a water polo game. The Soviets destroyed a youth uprising by taking control of Budapest (the capital) 18 days before the Games began. Though Hungary won 4-0, a Soviet player head-butted a Hungarian player and caused bleeding. A near riot ensued with fans and athletes alike. The police had to be called in to prevent further violence.
Another Hungarian story in these Olympics was Laszlo Papp, the first boxer to win three gold medals.
Betty Cuthbert of Australia, called the “Golden Girl,” won gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints, and the 4x100m relay race.
The U.S. basketball team dominated the court, winning all their games by at least 30 points, and also winning the gold medal.
The USSR had the most medals with 98.
The XVII Olympiad attracted 5,348 athletes from 83 nations, who competed in 151 events in 17 sports. They were held from August 25 to September 11.
Ike Quartey, of Ghana, became the first black African to win a silver medal in boxing.
Armin Hary, of Germany, was the first athlete that didn’t come from an English-speaking country to win the 100m sprint.
Sante Gaiardoni of Italy was the first man in Olympic history to win both the time trial and match sprint cycling events.
Wilma Rudolph of the U.S., who survived polio as a child, won three gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints, and the 4x100m relay race.
Chris van Saltza, also of the U.S., won gold medals in the 400m freestyle swimming race, 4x100m freestyle relay, and medley relay, where he swam freestyle. He also won a silver medal in the 100 meter freestyle.
The USSR won 103 medals, more than any other country.
1896-1912 | 1920-1936 | 1948-1960
1964-1976 | 1980-1992 | 1996-2008
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