Game shame: Paris’ Olympic faux pas

Russian gay hate has overshadowed the Winter Olympics, but Sochi is by no means the first host of the Games to court controversy. Paris, too, has come in for criticism over the years.

The 1900 Olympics in Paris, for example, was ridiculed for its marathon event. Organisers chose a route that took competitors on a poorly signposted run through the streets of Paris. Not only were runners confused, but locals – and their children and pets – felt free to join in.

Worse, the temperature gauge hit 39° Celsius that day. Even national favourite Georges Touquet-Daunis is said to have ducked into a bar en route to escape the sweltering heat. His determination to win evaporated as fast as the drink in his glass.

Sadly, the Games were equally contentious when Paris next played host, in 1924: the track took runners past a noxious chemical factory and many were left sick and disoriented.

In comparison, subsequent Winter Olympics in France – Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville 1992 – have passed relatively straightforwardly.

We must hope that, in future decades, when people look back at the Sochi Games, they are as amazed at the sporting feats as they are that homophobia ever existed.

This entry was published on Wed, 12 Feb 2014 at 07:33. It’s filed under News and politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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