Olympics: Five biggest scandals in the Games

Incidents of fraud, competition controversies and even political massacres have tainted the sanctity of the Olympics over its 29 editions. Here’s a look at the five biggest scandals in Games history.

1908: Halswelle’s gold in Olympics’ only walkover: In a clash of rules in the 1908 London Games, the 400-metre race final turned out to be a dreadful affair. America’s John Carpenter was disqualified for elbowing his British opponent Wyndham Hallswelle. While Carpenter’s antics were believed to be legal under his native rules, the British officials called him out for the same. A replay of the final was marked with Hallswele set to race against two Americans, William Robbins and John Taylor, who decided to boycott the race. It led to Hallswelle being raised to gold while other spots were left vacant in the only Olympic walkover in history. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
1932: Flying Finn denied a ticket In his three Olympic appearances in 1920, ‘24 and ‘28, Finland’s Paavo Nurmi racked up an enviable collection of nine gold and three silver medals. However, ahead of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, Sweden's Olympic Committee’s complained to IOC that Nurmi had received money on his American tours — which made him a professional — and he was banned. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
1956: Hungarian-Soviet bloodbath: The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 resulted in a victory for the invading Soviet Union and was followed by the Melbourne Olympics soon after. Ervin Zador was the star player in Hungary's Olympic water polo team. In a water polo match between Hungary and the USSR, Zador was punched in the eye by USSR's Valentin Prokopov, just moments before the final whistle. Photo: The Hindu
1968: The Black Power Salute: It was a touch of black to the first ever colour telecast of the Olympic Games in Mexico, 1968. The Star Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem, was played after the 200 metre sprint medal presentation following Tommie Smith’s gold and John Carlos’s bronze winning feats. Heads bowed, Smith raised a gloved right fist and Carlos his left. Silver medallist Peter Norman of Australia stood in silent solidarity, also wearing the OPHR (Olympic Project for Human Rights) badge. Photo: AP
1972: Black September in the ‘Cheerful Games’: Forty-nine years ago, when Munich hosted the 1972 Olympics, Palestinian terrorists shot dead 11 Israeli athletes and coaches after a hostage drama at the Games Village. It is believed that the attackers, all from refugee camps, had worked in the village weeks preceding the Games to study the scene of their strike. It was the darkest day in the history of sport. Photo: The Hindu