The Cold War in the Olympics

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The Olympic Games of 1972 and 1980 were games to remember for their surprising outcomes. The Cold War had been going on for since 1947 and the bitter rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was at a peek. Both the United State’s basketball team and the Soviet Union’s hockey team remained undefeated until these games. During these Olympics, the superior team was beaten by the weaker one, and tensions between the two nations were affected. Each nation experienced extraordinary Olympic victories, but for very different reasons. The 1972 Munich Games was shocking for many reasons. The Munich Massacre was a devastating blow to the Olympic reputation. The world watched in horror as eleven Israeli men were slaughtered for a radical cause. Soon afterwards, the United States played Russia for the gold in basketball and the enmity was evident on the court. Team USA was favoured to win as they had won the gold in all past Summer Olympics since 1936. The Soviets ended up winning in what was to become one of the most controversial games in Olympic history. By the end of the fourth quarter Team USA was leading by one point. After the buzzer went off, the United States started to celebrate it’s one point victory. But the buzzer was premature, the scoreboard clock was wrong and there was still three seconds left in the game. The Soviets took advantage of those three seconds to claim victory over Team USA, making it the first loss for the United States since the sport was introduced. The United States reacted to the loss very poorly, the coaches were seen arguing with the games officials and the American referee refused to sign the scoring sheet out of spite. The team would not accept their silver medals, being convinced they we... ... middle of paper ... ...defended. The Soviets were forced to concede, for the first time in a long time, and accept Team USA as the victors. The nation was celebrating with the hockey team; they viewed this as a victory against the Communists as well as a miracle for the American gold medallists. The Olympics brings the world together, in hopes to crown one nation the best at the athletic disciplines. The competitions do not just cause rivalry between teams, the emotional connection people have with patriotism also enable the sport to function as substitutes for the political conflict. The loss for Team USA in 1972 was seen as a loss for the whole of America to the Soviets, as if they lost an actual battle. The win for the U.S. in 1980 served as a victory against the entire Soviet Union. The Cold War was alive during the Olympics. The Olympics gave an international platform to patriotism.

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