The Olympics were created to foster a sense of fellowship among nations through the friendly competition of sport. But from its very origins, the games have been highly politicized. In 1936, Adolf Hitler saw the Berlin games as the ideal venue to demonstrate the superiority of the German race. The 1968 Mexico City Games will always be remember for the black power salute by Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos. The 1972 Munich Games were marred by political terrorism, and the 1980's saw Cold War tensions spill over into Olympic boycotts. This year's Games opened on Friday in Salt Lake City amidst the controversy of whether the American flag from the World Trade Center should be allowed to fly. This hour, Olympic historian Derick Hulme explains how politics and the Olympics have intersected throughout history — and why the games on the field that were designed to bring countries together are so often surrounded by battles of national pride and political ideologies.
Dr. Derick (Sandy) Hulme, Associate Professor Political Science, Alma College in Alma, Michigan, author of "The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 Boycott"
This program aired on February 11, 2002.