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  • Helsinki Games

    Helsinki Games
    Russian athletes participate for the first time in forty years.
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    Summer Olympics

  • Melbourne Games

    Melbourne Games
    Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden boycott the games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq do the same as a result of the Suez crisis. In the Closing Ceremonies, for the first time, athletes from all nations enter the stadium in unity, rather than marching in by nation
  • Rome Games

    Rome Games
    The first Summer Games covered by television worldwide.
    18-year-old boxer Cassius Clay—later to be known as Muhammad Ali—is the light heavyweight boxing champion.
  • Tokyo Games

    Tokyo Games
    Japan spends about $3 billion to rebuild Tokyo for the Olympics, revitalizing a city that had been devastated by earthquakes and World War II bombings.
  • Mexico City Games

    Mexico City Games
    These Games are controversially held at the highest altitude ever: 7,349 feet. The thin air is bad for athletes in endurance events, but it leads to records in short races, relays, and jumping events. On the winning podium after the 200-meter race, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a Black Power salute; the two are immediately suspended from the Games and deported from the country.
    Swedish pentathlete Hans-Grunner Liljenwall is the first to be disqualified for drug us
  • Munich Games

    Munich Games
    The Games are overshadowed when members of the Black September terrorist group kidnap eleven Israeli athletes from the Olympic Village, killing two and taking the other nine hostage. The U.S. basketball team loses a game for the first time, falling to the Soviet Union, but refuses to accept the silver medal, claiming that the clock had been improperly restarted in the final moments.
  • Montreal Games

    Montreal Games
    Canada bars the Republic of China (Taiwan) team from the country, then allows them to enter if they agree not to compete as "the Republic of China"; the Taiwanese consider this unacceptable and withdraw. Dozens of other nations, mostly African, boycott the Games in protest of the inclusion of New Zealand, whose rugby team is touring racially segregated South Africa.
  • Moscow Games

    Moscow Games
    The first Games to be held in a communist country. Due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter calls upon the U.S. Olympic Committee to boycott the Games. The Olympic Charter requires such committees to "resist all pressures of any kind whatsoever, whether of a political, religious or economic nature," but theory and practice diverge; the Americans stay home, and many other countries follow suit.
    80 nations participate in the Games, down from 122 at Munich.
  • Los Angeles Games

    Los Angeles Games
    In retaliation for the U.S.-led boycott of 1980, the Soviet Union leads a 14-country boycott, citing security concerns.
  • Seoul Games

    Seoul Games
    North Korea refuses to participate, and Cuba and Ethopia follow suit in solidarity, but there are no widespread boycotts for the first time since 1972 Tennis returns after a 64-year absence, and Steffi Graf gets the gold
  • Barcelona Games

    Barcelona Games
    For the first time in decades, every single nation with an Olympic Committee shows up World Cup athletes are now allowed to compete in soccer, but only three players over the age of 23 are allowed on each team, effectively making the Olympic event the under-23 championship.
  • Atlanta Games

    Atlanta Games
    Muhammad Ali lights the cauldron at the start of the Centennial Games.
  • Sydney Games

    Sydney Games
    Australian Aboriginal Cathy Freeman lights the cauldron at the start of the game, and goes on to win the 400m race. Women are excluded from boxing and baseball; men are excluded from synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and softball.
  • Athens Games

    Athens Games
    The Games return to Greece.
  • Beijing Games

    Beijing Games
    Human rights activists and government officials propose boycotting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing due to China's economic and military connections to Sudan, where more than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced by the civil war.
  • London Games

    London Games
    The 2012 Games were the first in which each of the 205 participating countries sends at least one woman athlete. Phelps ended his Olympic swimming career with another gold medal. He amassed 22 medals in his Olympic career: 18 gold, two silver, and two bronze.
  • Rio Games

    Rio Games