Today in History: Olympic Games in Mexico open in 1968

Today in History: Olympic Games in Mexico open in 1968

50 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

54 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 Golf (Lover’s) Day!

Today is National Golf (Lover’s) Day!

The modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland. Its earliest origins, however, are unclear. The world’s oldest golf tournament is The Open Championship which was first played in October of 1860 in Ayrshire, Scotland. Golf came to the United States in the second half of the 18th century. Today, there are over 10,000 American golf clubs.

On this day in 1895, the first US Open for Golf took place. The now annual event was played at the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island, for the first time. 11 people played the 36-hole competition in a single day. Horace Rawlins, a 21-year old Englishman won the tournament and took home a trophy and $150 cash.

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Today in History: Max Schmeling born in 1905

113 years ago today, German boxing legend Maximillian Schmeling was born. As the European heavyweight boxing champion, Schmeling came to the USA in 1928 and quickly became a sensation when he won the world title after defeating Johnny Risko and Jack Sharkey in 1930. In 1936, Schmeling scored a major upset by defeating the invincible Joe Louis. Louis won the rematch in 1938. Both fights became worldwide cultural events in light of the fighters’ national associations. Schmeling and Louis became good friends after the war until Louis passed away in 1981. Schmeling died at age 99 in 2005. Long after World War II, it was revealed that Schmeling had risked his own life in November of 1938 during the Reichskristallnacht when he saved the lives of two young Jewish brothers. It is said that Schmeling never talked about his heroic act.

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Today in History: Burkhard Mangold born in 1873

Today in History: Burkhard Mangold born in 1873

The Swiss artist was born 145 years ago today in Basel, Switzerland. Mangold worked as a designer, glass painter and poster artist. He initially studied and worked as a painter in Basel (1890-1893) before traveling to Paris (1894) and moving to Munich (1894-1900) where his work became influenced by the contemporary German art nouveau poster style. After returning to Basel (1900), Mangold won a poster competition for a Swiss singing festival in 1905.Most of the artist’s poster works stem from the periosd between 1900 and 1917. Burkhard Mangold is considered to be a leading contributor to the development of graphic arts and the Swiss poster around the turn of the century. He died in Basel in 1950.

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Today in History: Mark Spitz wins 7th Gold in 1972

Today in History: Mark Spitz wins 7th Gold in 1972

46 years ago today, U.S. swimmer legend Mark Spitz won his 7th gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. He earned the gold when Spitz and his team set a new world record in the 400-meter medley relay. Spitz also set new world records in the six other events in which he won the gold. At the time, no other athlete had won so many gold medals at a single Olympiad, a record that would stand until Michael Phelps took home 8 gold medals at the 2012 Beijing Games.

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Today in History: Ferdinand Porsche was born in in 1875

Today in History: Ferdinand Porsche was born in in 1875

143 years ago today, the Austrian-German automotive engineer and founder of the Porsche car company was born in Maffersdorf in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Porsche originally introduced the concept for the German Volkswagen with the intent to create a small, easy to build and affordable family car. Here is a link to a short blog about the VW Beetle: http://wp.me/p6cafs-N

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