The 2016 Olympic games are less than 100 days away and all eyes the world over are turning to the Olympic Games. The 2016 Olympics will begin this summer on August 5 and end on August 21st in Rio de Janeiro. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad or Rio 2016 are expecting 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees. For the first time athletes from Kosovo and South Sudan will be taking part in the Olympic Games. Twenty-eight sports will be included in the Olympics this year. Some are tradition sports and others you may be seeing for the first time. This year you can plan on cheering: rugby sevens, golf, football, diving, swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, archery, badminton, athletics, basketball, boxing, canoeing, slalom, sprint, cycling, BMX, mountain biking, road biking, track biking, equestrian, dressage, eventing, jumping, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, artistic, rhythmic, trampoline, handball, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, beach volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, freestyle and Greco-roman. However, despite the camaraderie and team building there is an ugly history of bullying in the Olympics.
Many athletes are victims of bullying. The world class athletes are bullied by teammates, coaches, spectators and national technical directors. Some athletes were met verbally with boos, sexual threats and racial abuse from spectators, teammates or staff. Objects are sometimes thrown at the athletes and death threats are made by the fans. Despite this awful treatment the athletes accept this bullying all to compete in the games of the Olympiad. Below are some of the Olympic victims and perpetrators.
Shane Sutton the technical director of the 2016 Olympic British Cycling team stepped down amidst allegations of bullying. In addition to bullying the para-cyclists by calling them degrading names, he is accused of sexism and discrimination.
Gabby Douglas in 2012, the multiple gold medal Olympic Gymnastic Star, revealed incidences of racism and bullying. On an Oprah Winfrey show the Gold Medalist talked about going home after practice and just crying her eyes out. One incident she recalled was when one teammate said, “Why doesn’t Gabby do it, she’s our slave.”
Marlene Harnois, the French Olympic 2012 Taekwondo Bronze Medalist quit the French National team due to bullying. She reports her coach, Myriam Baverel, had regularly bullied her through insults, humiliation, threats, moral harassment, violent verbal abuse and slaps. She reported to taking the abuse for eight years.
John Carlos and Tommy Smith
John Carlos, bronze medalist and Tommy Smith, gold medalist winner in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. They were bullied after raising their gloved fists in a Black Power symbol during the medal ceremony. There was first a round of boos. Then insults reigned on them accompanied by people throwing things and screaming racist abuse at them.
Jesse Owens a four time gold medalist for the Unites States ran track and field in the Summer Olympics in Germany in 1936. He was deemed the fastest man alive. The most famous man in track and field history and he successful broke Adolf Hitler’s theory of Arayan Superiority. Jesse Owens was not bullied in Germany but was exalted and hailed. It was in the United States of America, his home where he met hatred and envy. He was not bullied by Hitler but by President Roosevelt. In Germany after Jesse Owens’ win Adolph Hitler made sure to meet Jesse Owens congratulate him and shake his hand. When Owens returned to the United States President Roosevelt refused to acknowledge his win. He did not shake his hand or send him a telegram of congratulations. President Roosevelt totally bullied the gold medal by ignoring the greatest athlete of the world.
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