1920 Antwerp Olympics
Following the end of the first World War, the Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium. The Central Powers of the recent war – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire – were not permitted to attend; however, 29 countries competed in the 1920 Olympics. The torch did not yet exist, and the Olympics began with an Athlete’s Oath, where each competitor swore to obey the rules. The 1920 Olympic games saw the induction of the Olympic flag. It was composed of five different colored interlocking rings: red, yellow, blue, green, and black. This selection included at least one color from every nation’s flag, and it continues to be used today.
1924 Chamonix Olympics
Representatives of each nation take the Olympic oath at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France.
1936 Berlin Olympics
Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Olympics, and planned to use it to broadcast themselves to the rest of the world. In an attempt to tie the Olympic’s history to Nazi ideology, they ran an Olympic torch from Athens to Germany. So, as it turns out, the torch relay we use today was created by Nazi Germany.
1964 Tokyo Olympics
This was the first Olympics to hosted by an Asian country. Japan took advantage of the opportunity to showcase the progress they had made since the second World War. The torchbearer pictured is Yoshinori Sakai: nicknamed Baby Hiroshima, born in the city the day the atomic bomb hit.
1980 Moscow Olympics
When the Olympics were held in Moscow in 1980, 65 countries boycotted the games in protest of Soviet Union’s invasion into Afghanistan. The United States was among the nations that boycotted the Olympics that year. There was a total of 80 nations that competed in the 1980 Olympics.
2008 Beijing Olympics
2008 saw China perform the opening ceremonies like none other for the Beijing Olympics. The enormous show on cultural bronze drums included 14,000 musicians, most practicing as much as a year in advance.