Oh my goodness, I am like a kid in a candy store!! LOL! I love this time of year!! Summer 2012 Olympics is FINALLY HERE!!!!! YES!!! The opening ceremony starts at 7:30 PM here tonight and I am too ready. The Olympics have such a rich history not only for sports but also American History as well.
Jesse Owens (1936)
The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin. Think about that…Berlin in the 1930’s? Granted, these games happened before WWII, but there was a lot of conflict before that in Germany. Hitler was in full effect, he did not want Jews or Blacks to participate in these games as he saw this platform to show racial supremacy. With a boycott threat brewing, he folded and allowed Jews and Blacks to participate. In the United States, segregation was in full effect. With both National and International social obstacles, Jesse Owens showed the world what he was capable of by winning four gold medals in the 100 m, 200 m, long jump and as a member of the 4 x 100-m team.
This is one of my favorite pictures ever! After winning the gold and bronze medals in the 200 m, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, wearing black socks without shoes (to represent black poverty), civil rights badges, raised a black-gloved fist (Smith represented black power in America; Carlos’ represented unity in black America) while lowering their heads as the national anthem played. Even the silver medalist wore a Human Rights badge to show his support! This historical piece is that being that it was 1968, injustices to African-Americans were still prominent. This was a big piece in the Civil Rights Movement that people should definitely know about if they don’t already.
Dream Team! (1992)
This was one of the greatest moments for me as a basketball fan! I remember watching this and I was 7 years old! Man so many hall of famers (current and soon to be) are in this picture and I was so happy to watch them play together to represent the United States to win that Gold medal! 20 years ago…man time flies! But to me this was basketball at its greatest. Just, appreciate!
Other moments and athletes I love and admire…
- Wilma Rudolph (1960): I remember writing a report on her in elementary school! She was an inspiration because she battled polio as a child and won three old medals in the 100 m, 200 m, and as a member as the 4 X 100 m team. She was the fist American woman to do so in a single Olympics. Don’t you know how powerful Black women are? 😉
- Carl Lewis (1984): When the Olympics took place in Los Angeles, he matched Jesse Owens’ 1936 performance by winning Gold medals in the same events Owens participated in. I remember he was a Master of Ceremony at the Rose Parade in the 90’s and was excited watching him wave to the crowd as he rode down the street.
- Michael Phelps (2004 and 2008): We all know his story! I never watched swimming until 2008, and Michael Phelps was on the verge of breaking Mark Spitz’s record, which he did by winning 8 gold medals (Spitz won 7). How awesome is that!
- Muhammad Ali lighting the torch in the 1996 Summer Games: I loved that moment!
- Michael Johnson (1996): The shoes were memorable in itself!! The gold spikes!! If you don’t know what I’m talkin’ about please google it! LOL. But he broke the 200-m word record to win gold, and won gold in the 400 m.
- Kerri Strug (1996): I remember watching this and cheering after she stuck her landing and was carried off because she broke her ankle. She led the American gymnastics team to win gold!
- Cathy Freeman (2000): She is the first Aboriginal athlete to compete in 1996. She won silver in the 400 m in the 200 games. Much respect.
- Usain Bolt (2008): Excuse my language but SHIT! I was just speechless when I watched this guy basically stroll down the track to win gold! Although personally I thought he was too cocky and I couldn’t stand him, lol. But I have to give him his respect. He dominated the track by winning 3 gold medals. I’ll never forget watching that, I was saying “What the fuck?!” out loud because I never seen such dominance like that since ’96 with Michael Johnson. Insane!
Although there are A LOT more athletes that I want to mention, I’ll do that throughout the next few weeks.
The Olympics is not just a time to support athletes and see what the world has to offer, there is so much history that goes along with it. This is why every 4 years I get excited to see these Olympic games happen because there is so much that I want to and will learn about history and records and such. But enjoy the games!