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The Olympics are a time of pride and excitement for not only the athletes but the countries they are representing. However, the Olympics are no stranger to controversy. When you have an event that the whole world is watching it only makes sense that there may be a few controversial things that happen.

Here is a list of the most controversial moments that have happened at the Olympic games since 1980:

Moscow 1980 - Boycotts! Lots of Boycotts

These games were almost doomed from the get-go. A record number of nations pulled out the 1980’s games before the opening ceremony ever started. The United States was one of the counties that boycotted the games over the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. However, the games did go on as planned and the USSR dominated the games, which causes even more controversy around the games. 

 

 

Los Angeles 1984 - The Soviets Boycott

The Soviets decided to boycott the 1984 games since the United States boycotted there’s four years earlier. The only nation from the eastern block to attend was Romania, who received a standing ovation when they entered the opening ceremonies.

 

Seoul 1988 - Bribes and Apologies

You know it's bad when an Olympian apologizes to their competitor because the results just don’t seem fair. That is just what happened at the 1988 Olympic games when Park Si-Hun and Roy Jones Jr hit the ring for the men’s light middleweight Gold medal match. Park was awarded the gold medal in a 3-2 decision that still raises eyebrows. After the Olympics ended it was confirmed that three of the judges has been bribed by South Koren Officials, however, the decision has never been reversed. 

 

Barcelona 1992 - The Mic-Drop (before it was a thing)

Russian weightlifter Ibragim Samadov was displeased with the results of his event where he ended up placing third. At the medal ceremony, Samadov took the medal in his hand and proceeded to drop it on the floor and if that wasn’t enough theatrics he then walked off while the national anthem was being played. Samadov was banned from the games for life.

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Atlanta 1996 - An Olympic Bombing

No one ever expected such a heinous act to be on display during the 1996 Olympic games. On July 27, 1996, Eric Rudolph denoted a pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The bomb killed one person and injured 111 others.

 

Sydney 2000 - Marion Jones Sprints Off The Tracks

The main takeaway from the Sydney 2000 Olympic games was U.S. sprinter Marion Jones. He left the games with 5 medals, three of which were Gold medals. However, in 2007 Jones admitted to using steroids. This admission caused her to be stripped of the medals she won at the games. 

 

Athens 2004 - A Bizarre Attack By A Priest

During the Athens 2004 Olympic games the most bizarre thing happened to marathon leader Vanderlei de Lima when he was attacked by the defrocked Irish priest Neil Horan. The priest attacked De Lima to promote his belief that the world was ending but in the process, De Lima was injured and lost 20 seconds off of his final time.

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Beijing 2008- The Main Event

The Beijing 2008 Olympics were surrounded by controversy from the beginning and is said to be filled with more controversy than any other Olympic games in history. The main issue that was at the forefront of the games was that the Chinese’s track record on human rights, censorship, treatment of migrant workers, and state-sponsored training schemes. These games are also known for having the most Olympic medals stripped from athletes. 50 medals were stripped from athletes after the games for doping violations. 

 

London 2012 - Badminton Scandal Like No Other

The London 2012 Olympic games were fairly uneventful when it comes to controversy. However, when athletes from China, South Korea, and Indonesia were found to be attempting to throw the Badminton competition to secure a more favorable spot in the tournament things got a little heated. Eventually, all eight players involved were ejected from the tournament. 

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Rio 2016 - Lochtegate 

The 2016 Olympic games in Rio were shrouded in controversy from the beginning. Several issues were going on in Rio, such as the Zika outbreak, sanitation issues with water, political instability, security issues, and crime issues during these events. However, the one controversy that took the center stage included the American Swimming Team. Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger ended up in the spotlight after they reported they had been robbed at knifepoint. In the end, it was revealed that Team USA were the ones who got into a scuffle at a petrol station after they allegedly vandalized a poster and urinated outside of the station’s bathroom.

 

Tokyo 2020 - The Coronavirus Games

 While the Olympic games have only been canceled twice before, in 1916 for World War I and in 1940 and 1944 for World War II. So the fact that the 2020 Olympic games were postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic is a big deal. Only 20% of the Japanese population approves of the games taking place and the opening ceremony had protests taking place outside of the stadium. 

While Coronavirus has been the main controversy at this year’s games it was the first time in Olympic history that the games were postponed.

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