It was 1936 and the scene is Berlin, Germany. Adolph Hitler sits among the crowd in the majestic new Olympic Stadium he had built just to showcase his new Germany for these Olympic games. The Olympic logo he created had the German eagle standing high above the Olympic rings with the rings clenched in its talons as if to say that Germany would dictate these games to the rest of the world. The United States had debated as to whether or not it even wanted to be in the Olympics in 1936 as they felt that Hitler was a dangerous dictator and allowing him to perverse the Olympic games to showcase what Hitler was declaring was the genetic supremacy of his Aryan race. The United States decided to send their team anyways and in the end Hitler's blonde haired, blue eyed, white skinned Aryans were defeated and humbled by a black athlete from the United States named Jesse Owens. After Owens was done destroying the Aryan myth in the Olympics of 1936 it was felt that maybe the idea of using the Olympics for political reasons was done. Unfortunately that would not be the case and in the Olympics the idea of political ideas spilling over into a neutral athletic competition would be put to the test regularly. Many people thought that Hitler ignoring Owens' accomplishments in the 1936 Olympics was a snub but in reality the International Olympic Committee, or the IOC as they are known, had told Hitler that he was supposed to remain neutral as the host of the Olympics and could not congratulate any athlete. Following this order was probably the only non-political thing done in the Olympics of 1936.
Probably the most famous example of politics in the Olympics gone horrible wrong happened again in Germany and this time it was at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Palestinian terrorists stormed the Olympic village and took Israeli athletes hostage. By the time it was over all the athletes were dead and all but two of the terrorists were dead. Any kind of terrorism is senseless and cowardly but it seems especially so when it happens in the Olympics. Olympics athletes are there to represent their country in the games and they do so under their own flag. They are not there to defeat any one nation in particular, they are they to defeat all other nations on the playing field. The Olympics is supposed to be a neutral display of athletic competition but just like everything else politicians still manage to get in and ruin it.
This notion of politicians ruining the Olympics was never more evident than in the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics. In late 1980 Soviet Troops invaded Afghanistan in an act of war. In retaliation the United States and most of its allied boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics that were held in Moscow. In response to that the Soviets boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics that were held in Los Angeles. In the end all that was accomplished was that the one athletic competition that is not supposed to be ruled by politics was ruined twice by politics and the cold war took more of a toll than just diplomatic relations.