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Olympics: From Athens 1896 to Beijing 2008 (Part III)


1948-London Olympics:
1948 London Oly: The Flying Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers Koen.This Games were the first in twelve years, as none were held during World War 2nd. French Alpine skier Henri Oreiller was the men's top individual performer with two golds and a bronze. The United States sent two hockey teams, one sanctioned by the American Olympic Committee and one by the American Hockey Association. The notable performances: Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen who won Women's 100m, 200m, 800m hurdles and 4X100 relay. And Czech distance runner Emil Zatopek made his first impression when he won gold in 10000m and silver in 5000m. The leanly built athlete from Prague went on to win all the long distance events in the following edition at Helsinki Games- 5000m, 10000m and Marathon.

1952-Helsinki Olympics:
1952 Oly: Emil Zatopek the greatest distance runner ever.For the first time, a team from the USSR participated in the Olympics. Israel also made its Olympic debut in Helsinki. Hungary, a country with a mere 10 million inhabitants, won an astonishing 42 medals at these games, coming in third place behind the USA and the USSR with one of the most outstanding exhibitions ever. Emil and Dana Zatopek of Czechoslovakia became the first couple ever to win gold medals. Emil won three gold medals in the 5000m, 10000m and the Marathon. Dana won gold in women's 5000m A total of 69 nations participated in these Games.

1956- Melbourne Olympics:
1956 Oly: The Aussie sprinter Betty Cuthbert won a triple gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4X100 relay.For the first time Games were held in Southern hemisphere. Equestrian competition in 1956 Olympics were held in Stockholm five and half months before the rest of the Olympic games were to open. Betty Cuthbert, an 18-year-old from Sydney, won the 100- and 200-metre dashes and ran a great final leg in the 4 x 100-meter relay to overcome Great Britain's lead and claim her third gold medal. Waterpolo match between USSR and Hungaryas was later called Blood in the water match.The game became rough and, when a Hungarian was forced to leave the pool with blood streaming from a cut over his eye, a riot almost broke out. But police restored order and the game was called early, with Hungary leading 4-0. The Hungarians went on to win the gold medal. Soviets outmedaled the US for the first time, cleaning up in gymnastics and winning their first track and field titles when Vladimir Kuts ran off with the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. The best Discus thrower ever Al Oerter won his maiden gold and went on to pocket the gold in the next three Games.

1960-Rome Olympics:
1960 Oly: The boxing legend Muhammad Ali clinched a gold in light heavyweight and later turned professional. Muhammad Ali won the Olympic light heavyweight crown, pummeling Polish opponent Zbigniew Pietryskowsky in the final. Clay was so proud of his gold medal that he didn't take it off for two days.Soviet gymnasts won 15 of 16 possible medals in women's gymnastics. Pakistan broke India's dominance in Olympic Men's Hockey by becoming the first team in history to beat India in Olympic Hockey since 1928 and winning its first ever Olympic gold medal in the process. India had already won 6 previous hockey golds in the Olympics. Abebe Bikila from Ethopia ran barefoot to win marathon event.

1964- Tokyo Olympics:
1964 Oly: The Queen of Pool Dawn Fraser set the pool ablaze at Tokyo.Tokyo is the first Asian city to host Olympics. Twelve world and six Olympic records fell in swimming alone, with Americans accounting for 13. Eighteen-year-old Don Schollander led the way, winning two individual and two relay gold medals to become the first swimmer to win four events in one Games. Most remarkable performance in the swimming pool belonged to Australian Dawn Fraser, who won the 100-meter freestyle for the third straight Olympics. The gymnast Larisa Latynina (USSR/Ukraine) won two medals to boost her overall tally to incredible 18 including nine golds. Bikila repeated his Rome feat despite an emergency appendectomy barely weeks before the event. A total of 94 nations were represented at the Tokyo event.


Story first published: Thursday, August 7, 2008, 15:27 [IST]
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