Hotspur Towers - Olympic Tales
The last weekend before the new season commences and I wondered if you might like something lighter before the battle begins.
As a companion piece to the recent ‘Spurs and the Olympics’ there are various tales, not Tottenham related, from the Olympic football competition you might enjoy that emerged from the vaults at FIFA and the IOC.
Featuring The Czar of Russia, the final where a team walked off, the one that run out of money, the Olympic Turn, nobody seems happy with the ref, the Mysore connection and Adolf Hitler, (something for everyone).
With some fave images from previous games.
When it comes to the Olympics we are told it’s the taking part that matters not the winning. One chap who did not enter into the Olympic Spirit was the Russian Czar. Back in 1912 his side lost to Germany 16-0. So upset was he at the size of the defeat he refused to pay the teams journey fares.
There was an element of farce at the 1920 event when the Czechoslovakia side walked off during the final. The referee had sent one of their players off, the Czechs disagreeing with the decision and marched of as a team. They were trailing 0-2 at the time and Belgium was awarded the Gold Medal. The Czechs then complained that the three English officials had already taken charge off Belgium’s semi final which they only won because the ref made a number of mistakes. They felt they had the right to chose at least one of the officials. They also complained that during the game some Belgian soldiers in the crowd circled the pitch and because of their provocative presence the Czech players were unable to play their normal game. Then as ‘a result of the very regrettable incident at the end of the match when there was a pitch invasion lead by the soldiers the Czech national flag had been insulted.’ The Czechs claimed they would not participate until they had received an apology from the (Belgian) soldiers. Czechoslovakia's protests were dismissed, and they were disqualified from the tournament.
At the same competition, the France declined to play in the Bronze Medal game as most of their players had gone home after losing in the semi-final. A play-off competition had to be arranged and Spain who lost in the quarter finals beat Holland in the final for the Bronze.
Right - 1948 and the gymnastic teams warmed up in Hyde Park
while below - several sports including boxing took place in a ring floating over the swimming pool at Wembley.
t the same competition, the France declined to play in the Bronze Medal game as most of their players had gone home after losing in the semi-final. A play-off competition had to be arranged and Spain who lost in the quarter finals beat Holland in the final for the Bronze.
Things did not get any easier for the organizers in 1924 when both semi-final games caused headaches. Firstly Uruguay beat Holland (with a disputed penalty), then they complained when a Dutchman was put in charge of the final and he was swapped for a referee who was neutral! Meanwhile, the Swiss arrived at the competition clearly not rating their chances as after they won their Semi they discovered their train tickets were only valid for ten days. An appeal was launched to raise the money for new tickets so they could stay and play in the final, which they lost.
Uruguay won that tournament in 1924 and after winning the final the team went around the ground to salute the spectators. At that time this was known as Olympic turn and it is believed to be the first lap of honour.
The first official tournament in 1908 and the first ever game saw Denmark beat France B team, 12-1. Prior to this first official competition the game had been a demonstration sport in 1900 and 1904. Some sources suggest that there were some matches played in 1896, but this now thought to be an error. The 1900 games saw individual clubs invited to take part. Upton Park represented England and won their only game V a French club side. Despite attempts by some fans to claim some credit this club has no connection with any other side that use to play in that part of London.
Right - thousands of pigeons wait to be released during '48's opening ceremony.
London 1948, The Indian team take part in their first major tournament, The Indian authorities deciding the Olympics are more important than the World Cup. They lose their only game 1-2 to France. The French took the lead in the 30th minute India equalized on 79 and France won the game in the 89th minute. The French also missed two penalties. The game at Lynn Road. Ilford was watched by 17,000.
Just for my Indian readers their goal came from Sarangapani Raman of the Mysore club.
Left - '48 and the press room kept the room informed. And Below the BBC ensured that the world saw it all.
Football was dropped from the 1932 games amid the confusion around the growing influence of professional football and being unable to agree on the definition of what was an amateur. Great Britain had complained to the organizers about underhand payments and professionals in what was supposed to be an amateur game as far back as 1920. The event in the 1980’s was dominated by refusal to play by different teams due to political issues. When Communist countries did compete they top players were of course ‘amateurs’.
There were some strange scenes in the 1948 game when Sweden beat Denmark in the semi final. The Swedes were attacking when one of their forwards realizing he was a long way off-side he then ran straight past the goalie and stood in the back of the net where moments later his team mates scored.
With ongoing problems surrounding amateur status and political disputes FIFA and the International Olympic Committee agreed from 1984 ruled professional players could compete but not those who had taken part in the World Cup. The rules were changed again later and for the 1992 games the competition changed to an Under 23 tournament, with overage players. After its absence in 1932 football returned in 1936, partly as Nazi Germany were convinced they would win the tournament at home. The USA / Italy game saw the amazing scenes of an Italian player being ordered off. The other Italians then surrounded the ref, at one point they held their hands over the ref’s mouth so he couldn’t speak. When order was restored the player remained on the pitch.
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