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LuigiVercotti

An Alternate History Of The Olympics: 1960-68

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1960: Tokyo

In a move which replicated the 1956 Buenos Aires Olympics, the IOC voted at the 1955 Paris Congress to go to a so-called 'new frontier' city for the Summer Olympics for 1960 to Tokyo. Previously the original choice for the successful 1940 Helsinki Games, Tokyo was able to convince the IOC of the worthiness of its bid even though it was still recovering from its massive damage when hit by a US atomic bomb in 1943. Prime Minister (and daughter to the executed war criminal Emperor Hirohito) Atsuko Ikeda submitted the final presentation of the bid to IOC President Sigrid Edström, and in the following vote Tokyo collected 35 votes to Mexico City's 24.

The actual Tokyo games were marked by several important developments. These were the last games for a unified Korean team to represent both Menshivik North and Western-backed South Korea. South Africa returned to the Olympics as Ningizimu Afrika, after the removal of apartheid by Zulu King Buthelezi I in cooperation with ex-Afrikaner National Congress leader Hendrik Verwoerd, winning 3 gold medals in swimming thanks to Penny Heyns. The decathlon between Rafer Johnson (US) and CK Yang (Maoist Republic of Formosa) went down to the wire, with Yang pipping the American by only 27 points, becoming the first gold medallist from Asia in this event. Abebe Bikila won the marathon medal for Italy, becoming the first Abyssinian to take an Olympic title for the former colonial masters of his home country, and militant Islamist and African American poet Muhammad Ali took out the light heavyweight gold. Ali latterly became Cassius Clay and was defeated by hard hitting Swede Ingmar Johannson to be denied his only chance at a world heavyweight title.

Other stand out performances included German Armin Hary winning the 1500 metres, whilst the Australian sprinter Herb Elliott won both the 100 and 200 metres sprints. Larissa Latynina dominated the gymnastics tournament for Menshevik Russia, and the combined Slovenian/Croatian football team won gold, defeating Denmark in the final.

When the games closed after 16 days of competition the aged American appointed Shogun to the Japanese people, General Doug Macarthur proclaimed that the Tokyo games were a great success and that the memories from these Olympics would 'never die, they would just fade away'.

1964: Vienna

After a break of 16 years the summer Olympics returned to Europe, and for the first time were held at the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Having undergone significant changes after the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1956, the largest power between the English channel and the Volga River had shrunk in size to Austria and Hungary. Whilst this may have diluted their political and military strength, the Austro-Hungarians still held significant influence in the IOC, winning their bid for the 1964 games 34-10 against runner-up Brussels.

Opened by Crown Prince Otto at Vienna's Franz Ferdinand Stadium, with recently elected IOC President Jesse Owens attending, the Viennese games. The cauldron was lit by legendary Olympian Emil Zatopek, who whilst a passionate supporter of his home country of Bohemia and Moravia was also a giant of Austro-Hungarian Olympic history. The home team performed admirably, coming 6th on the overall medal table with 10 gold. However it was the cold war enemies of Russia and the US who dominated, taking first and second position on the table. Previous host Japan came third, with a clean sweep of the golds offered for the newly introduced sport of Kendo. Kiwi sprinter Peter Snell followed up Elliott's wins in Tokyo by completing an ANZAC double in the 100m/200m sprint events, and Al Oerter won his fourth gold medal in the discus. Joe Frazier claimed silver in boxing for the US, giving a strong indication of his future four time heavyweight championship winning bouts of the 60s, 70s and 80s, and Abebe Bikila again won gold in the marathon for Italy (the former guardsmen in King Emmanuel's Royal guard died tragically in a road accident back in Abyssinia when his Fiat sports car ran off a cliff 2 years later).

In a bitter reminder of Cold War tensions, the polo team from Moaist Formosa exacted bloody revenge on the South Korean team, with several players on each side brought low off their horses by the polo hammers of their opponents. The game was eventually called off with the Formosan team leaving the Olympics, not to return as a participating national team until the 1980 Denver Winter Olympics.

1968: Lyon

Possibly the most surprising result in the last half century of Olympic host city bidding occurred at the 1963 IOC vote, when French city Lyon defeated second time candidate Mexico City 30 votes to 14. The Mexicans had two major issues arise just before the vote, one including a sex-for-votes scandal involving disgraced Spanish Olympic consultant Juan Antonio Samaranch, whilst the second was a massacre on Mexico city's state university campus two days before the vote. Jesse Owens adopted the almost unheard of position as IOC President to argue for Lyon on human rights grounds, as French IOC VP Charles de Gaulle had guaranteed that at a Lyon games all athletes would be housed in the same village, no matter their race or sex (the first time this had happened at the Olympics).

The most important story of the 68 Lyon Olympics was the so called Red Power salute of two native American runners, John Smith and Tommy Carlos. In collecting their gold and bronze medals respectively the two athletes made the infamous Red Power salute (a hand with the middle finger raised alone, gloved in wolf skin). IOC President Jesse Owens was so moved by such a passionate statement of personal belief at the games that at the closing ceremony he gave both athletes the Olympic Order.

Amongst other notable events at the Lyon Olympics there was the long jump gold for Bob Beamon, breaking 20 feet for the first time in Olympic history (a mark that lasted until 1992). Dick Western pioneered the so-called 'Western Roll' in the high jump, replacing the Ewry Flop used since 1900 by almost all jumpers. Bohemian gymnast Věra Čáslavská took 6 gold medals scoring a perfect 11 on three apparatuses, and Tanzanian runner John Stephen Akhwari took gold in the marathon, afterwards saying to noted Olympic film maker Alan Greenspan 'My country did not send me to Lyon to start the race, they sent me to Lyon to win'.

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Of course, this was the theme song for Vienna 1964 =

This was the same year that the SOUND OF MUSIC was filmed in the photogenic Austrian city of Graz.

Question to our esteemable "Olympix Thru a Looking Glass" historian: do you put your underwear on last? Do you sleep upside down from your wife (or partner)? :blink:

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Of course, this was the theme song for Vienna 1964 =

This was the same year that the SOUND OF MUSIC was filmed in the photogenic Austrian city of Graz.

Question to our esteemable "Olympix Thru a Looking Glass" historian: do you put your underwear on last? Do you sleep upside down from your wife (or partner)? :blink:

No, but I have been heard to believe in the pronouncements of VANOC and the IOC :unsure:

And how did you get your hands on the Vienna Official Bid film? I thought that had been lost when the estate of Orson Welle's was passed in on Ebay?

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