The Olympics are the pinnacle of global sports and winning an Olympic medal is high on the list of aspirations of almost every sportsperson. The 2020 Olympics, currently being held in Tokyo, is the 32nd edition of the sporting extravaganza where athletes from around the world have gathered, even with the looming threat of Covid-19, to test their mettle against each other.
Over the years, the Olympics have given modern sports some of their greatest champions. It has also been home to some of the most fascinating stories in sports, something which sports fanatics love to hear and discuss.
To satisfy this urge among sports buffs to know, read and discuss some of the greatest sporting stories, witnessed during the Olympics, Argentine sports journalist Luciano Wernicke has come out with the book 'The Most Incredible Olympic Stories'
Here are few interesting excerpts from the book:
On 9 July, the Bisley Rifle Range was the scene of the debut of the Olympic 'grandfather', the Swedish Oscar Swahn. Expert shooter, always accompanied by his son Alfred, Swahn won that day his first gold medal in the specialty 'running deer shooting-single shot', at the age of 60.
Before leaving London, the Swede hung on his chest another gold in the same specialty, although in teams, and bronze also in mobile target, double shot. Four years later, in Stockholm, the Swede, 64 years old, was established as the oldest Olympic champion by repeating gold in the 'deer' team contest, with his son. Until that time, the golden longevity
title belonged to British Joshua Millner, who had won the '1000-yard rifle' event at the age of 61 in London. In his own land, Swahn was fifth in the individual category, which coincidentally was won by his son Alfred. After the First World War, Oscar traveled to Antwerp 1920 Games when he turned 72 and not only got the silver—again in 'running deer shooting-single shot', again with his son—but crystallized a triple title that remains unchanged: the oldest champion (64 years), medalist and participant (both at 72 years) in the history of the Games.
Polish sprinter Stanislawa Walasiewicz represented her home country at the Los Angeles Games. The fast runner had an extraordinary performance in the 100 meters with a new world record of 11.9 seconds. The Olympic history of 'Walsh' would not end there: in the next edition, Berlin 1936, she would get the silver medal in the hectometer, behind the young Helen Stephens.
At the end of that feat, a Polish journalist accused the new Olympic champion of being a man. Stephens, without blushing, had no problem undressing in front of a group of judges to prove her femininity. With two Olympic medals, Walsh returned to the United States, where she had an extensive career as a coach for new athletes.
Much later, on 4 December 1980, while the former sprinter made a purchase in a small supermarket in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, a group of armed robbers broke into the scene. The owner of the establishment resisted the assault with a gun, which triggered a shooting. One of the bullets hit Walsh, who died immediately. When the former athlete's body entered the morgue, the man in charge of the autopsy almost fainted: Stella was not Stella, but a man. The body, instead of female sexual organs, had a penis and two testicles. Despite the unusual find, Stanislawa Walasiewicz retains her Olympic title as a woman.
A Look Back at the Last Tokyo Olympics: Would History Repeat Itself Some Way?
A successful Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser, winner of a gold medal (in the 100-meter freestyle) and a silver medal (in the 4x100 freestyle relay) did not satisfy her whim of souvenir. Fraser, who added four golds and four silvers between Rome and Tokyo, decided to take as a souvenir nothing less than a flag of the Japanese imperial palace. During a walk along with few others, the famous athlete passed over the security bars and seized a huge white pavilion with the five intertwined Olympic rings that flew over the grand residence. However, the crime did not go unpunished. The intrusion was detected by the guards and Fraser was arrested by a police patrol.
The news generated a scandal in the Olympic Village. The Australian Swimming Federation felt such humiliation that it decided to suspend Dawn for 10 years, despite the fact that the girl had been pardoned by Emperor Hirohito himself in person, who had also given her the stolen flag. Although months later the punishment was reduced to four years, Fraser determined to withdraw from the official competitions, angry with the Federation officers. She considered they had been more 'imperialist' than the Emperor.
The Unusual Doping Test
The throw of the Hungarian Róbert Fazekas was fantastic. The discus flew over 70.93 meters and set a new Olympic record. With a huge smile, Fazekas received his gold medal and enjoyed how the melody of the Magyar anthem filled the great Spyridon Louis Stadium in honor of the famous marathon runner.
A few minutes after the awards ceremony, the 1.93-meter tall and 114-kilogram big man was summoned to the office for the anti-doping controls. The discobolus entered without objections in a cabinet to deposit a sample of urine inside the official jar that had been delivered to him. However, the doctor in charge of the procedure noticed something abnormal in the giant body. As he approached the athlete, he observed that Fazekas was holding his penis—which peeked through one of the sleeves of the shorts—with one hand to pee into the glass container held with the other extremity, but in his inner thigh was a suspicious lump. The doctor demanded that the Hungarian undress completely, which revealed an original trap: the athlete had two phalli, the natural one and a rubber one loaded with 'clean' urine so that the prohibited substances that he had consumed to win the tournament could not affect the drug test.
Fazekas was denounced and disqualified. The IOC forced him to return the gold medal and erased the mark from its records. Then, the triumph corresponded to the Lithuanian Virgilijus Alekna, who thus repeated his 2000 Sydney title.