IOC tells South Africa ‘No’

On May 15, 1970 the International Olympic Committee decided that South Africa would not be allowed to compete in the ’72 games in Munich, Germany. The team had not been allowed to participate since the 1960 games in Rome, Italy and would not be eligible to compete until 1992 games in Barcelona, Spain. This block from being allowed to compete with honor was put in place because of the social movements that were taking place at the time. With all of the political turmoil South Africa was considered to be as dangerous as the USSR and other Soviet countries.

In 1990, Nelson Mandela spoke to the United Nations to ensure the world’s congress that their efforts were needed for progress to be made within the borders of the country. The world was watching and waiting to see the government fall.

In 1991, the IOC decided to review the eligibility of South Africa to participate in the Olympic Games after the country showed that steps were being taken to stabilize the government. Steps were also being taken by South Africa to create relationships on the international stage. Soon enough the apartheid government started to become more lenient, and eventually the racially influenced laws were taken out of action and in 1994, the country gained new independence. The 1992 Barcelona games welcomed South Africa with open arms, and the athletes were able to rightfully compete among the other nations of the world taking home two silver meddles.

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