Today in History: Olympic Games in Mexico open in 1968

Today in History: Olympic Games in Mexico open in 1968

51 years ago today, the first Olympic Games in Latin America were opened In Mexico City. The Games were overshadowed by political events such as the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and civil unrest in the host country. More than 5,000 athletes from over 100 nations participated. It marked the first time that West- and East Germany would send separate teams to the Olympics (the team from the GDR was forced to depart early as the IOC forbade it from competing under the name DDR). During the medal ceremony for the 200-meter dash, American medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos demonstrated their sympathy for the “Black Panther” movement by raising a black-gloved fist during the American national anthem. American Bob Beamon created a sensation with his world record long jump of 8.90 meters (29 ft. 2 1/2 in.), beating the existing record by 55 cm (21 3/4 in.).

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Today in History: First Olympic Games in Asia in 1964

Today in History: First Olympic Games in Asia in 1964

55 Years ago today, the 18th modern Olympic Games opened in Tokyo. It was the first time that the Games were hosted by an Asian country. Tokyo was originally scheduled to hold the Games in 1940 but after Japan’s invasion on China, the honor was passed on to Helsinki and the event was ultimately canceled because of World War II. The 1964 Games were the first to be telecast live internationally. The “Summer Games” were scheduled for mid-October to avoid both the typhoon season (September) as well as Tokyo’s mid-summer heat and humidity. 93 nations participated, 16 of which made their first Olympic appearance.

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Today is National Running Day

Today is National Running Day

Each year on the first Wednesday in June, people across the United States participate in National Running Day. This day was designated as a day for runners to reaffirm their passion for running.

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Today in History: Otl Aicher born in 1922

Today in History: Otl Aicher born in 1922

The German graphic designer and typographer would have turned 96 today. Aicher was best known for his visual designs for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. His pictograms for the different sports continue to be used worldwide.

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Happy Birthday, Victor Vasarely

Happy Birthday, Victor Vasarely

The Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (born: Gyözö Vásárhelyi ) would have turned 111 today. Born in Pecs, Hungary, in 1908, Vasarely began his artistic training in Budapest in the late 1920s. In 1928, he studied the concepts of the Bauhaus working under Sandor Bortnyk at the Mühely Art School. Vasarely moved to Paris in 1930 and became an independent graphic designer. His early work was characterized by strong black and white contrasts. In the late 1940s, Vasarely developed his own geometric abstract style exploiting the deception of the human eye using forms of geometry and color nuances to trigger striking spatial effects. This led to the formulation of the principles of the short-lived Op Art movement in the early 1950s for which Vasarely is probably best known. In 1970, Vasarely opened the first museum dedicated to his art in Gordes, France (it closed in 1996). In 1976, he founded the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence (housed in a building designed by Vasarely). In 1976, the Vasarely Museum was established in the artist’s birth-town of Pécs. A second museum in Zichy Palace in Budapest followed in 1987. Victor Vasarely died in Paris on March 15, 1997.

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Today in History: The first modern Olympics open in Athens in 1896

Today in History: The first modern Olympics open in Athens in 1896

123 years ago today, 241 athletes from 14 countries took part in the first modern Olympiad in Athens, Greece. The event took place over 1500 years after the last ancient Olympic Games, which originated in Olympia in south-western Greece.

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Today in History: Josef Albers born in 1888

Today in History: Josef Albers born in 1888

Josef Albers (1888-1976) was one of the leading artists, and art and design educators of the 20th century. Born in Germany, Albers studied in Berlin, Essen and Munich before he became a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1920. Albers stayed on a teacher (and later director) when the Bauhaus first moved to Dessau and then to Berlin. In the fall of 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States where he held academic posts at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1933-1949) and Yale University (1950-1960). Among his most famous works is a series of paintings titled “Homage to the Square” (created during the 1950s). In 1963, he published the influential book “Interaction of Color” which explored his ideas on color relationships. Albers’ theories about art and color became important influences on generations of artists and design students. Albers died in New Haven in 1976.

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