Below is a list of all the venues for the summer Olympic games since the first one in 1896. Notice, with two exceptions, something common about them? Except for the Berlin games of 1936, and the Moscow games of 1980, they were all awarded to cities situated in countries that are democracies. 2008 is only the third time the games have gone to a city run by a brutal dictatorship.
The Berlin games, after more than 70 years, still remain the most contoversial of all of them. They were saved from international embarrassment only by the sterling performance of black American sprinter, Jesse Owens, who won 4 gold medals and put the lie to the Nazi boast of Aryan superiority. I doubt the ordinary person in the street, if asked, could name any Olympic gold medal runner since, but would have no difficulty in recognizing Jesse Owens' name.
The Moscow games were boycotted by many western nations because the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan a year before the games.
The Beijing games are shaping up to be as internationally embarrassing as the Berlin and Moscow games. Do you think the people who award these events will read this history and learn something from it when they next sit down to consider the applications from competing cities?
Olympic Summer Games:
St Louis 1904
Los Angeles 1932
Melbourne / Stockholm 1956
Los Angeles 1984