The Olympics are a time for the whole world to come together, celebrate athletic achievements, and cheer for their teams and the stars. Yet even the Olympics are not immune to international conflict and controversy, nor to worldwide crises. From boycotts, protests, and postponements to showstopping and record-breaking triumphs, these are the moments that shook the world while everyone was watching.
Paris, 1900: First female athletes
Women were never allowed to compete in the Olympics until the Paris Games in 1900 when their participation in lawn tennis and golf events secured a position for female athletes in future Games. The London 2012 Olympics signified a new gender milestone with the debut of Women’s Boxing, and it was the first Games in Olympic history with female athletes from every competing country.
Berlin, 1936: Owens breaks records
Black athlete Jesse Owens broke records and won several gold medals, shattering Hitler’s aim to use the 1936 Games as an example of the “new Aryan man.” Owens later befriended his German competitor in the long jump, Luz Long, and the pair’s lap of honour became a symbol of the triumph of sportsmanship over Nazi ideology.