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Polish fencer Jerzy Pawłowski won an Olympic gold medal in the individual sabre at Mexico City 1968. In 1976 Pawłowski, a major in the Polish Army, was sentenced by a court in Warsaw to 25 years' prison for having committed espionage since 1964, and his name erased from Polish sporting records. He had been a double agent for the United States CIA from 1964, and for Polish intelligence from 1950. Ten years later, he was included in one of the spy exchanges at Berlin's Glienicke Bridge but chose to remain in Poland and spent the rest of his life as a painter and faith healer.
Brazil's water polo team paid for their trip to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics by selling coffee beans at ports during their ocean journey. But things went wrong in the opening match, which they lost 6-1 to the United States. Then, in their second game, against Germany, they became frustrated and attacked Hungarian referee Bela Komjadi. Police had to step in and protect him. The Brazilians were thrown out of the tournament, while Komjadi died a year later, at the age of 41 playing water polo. When the Hungarians won the Olympic title in Berlin in 1936 they dedicated their gold medals to his honour.
American James Connolly, the first Olympic champion of the modern era, when he won the hammer at Athens in 1896, later became a noted author and journalist. He published more than 200 stories and 25 novels. Among the stories he had published was an account of the Spanish-American War in the Boston Globe as "Letters from the front" in Cuba. He also covered the 1904 and 1908 Olympics in St Louis and London respectively. In London he responded to the judging controversies by producing an unpublished manuscript entitled "The English as Poor Losers".
Russian weightlifter Ibragim Samadov was stripped of his Olympic bronze medal at Barcelona 1992 after he refused to lean forward to accept it on the podium and, after taking it in his hand, dropped it onto the floor and walked away. He was upset because after a three-way tie for first place in the light-heavyweight division he had been dropped to third because of his heavier bodyweight. Samadov apologised the next day to the International Olympic Committee but they refused to reverse their decision and the International Weightlifting Federation banned him for life.
At the 1904 Olympics in St Louis, a boxer called Carroll Burton entered and won his first match. It was discovered he was not Burton at all, but a man called James Bollinger who had assumed his identity. Bollinger was disqualified and his next opponent, America's Peter Sturholdt, was given a bye into the semi-final, where he was beaten by countryman Jack Egan. In November 1905 it was discovered Egan's real name was Frank Joseph Floyd. Egan was disqualified for competing under a assumed name and stripped of his silver medal. Russell Van Horn moved up to silver and Sturholdt to bronze, despite not winning a single bout.
French tennis player René Lacoste won an Olympic bronze medal in the men's doubles at Paris 1924 but is better known for the iconic clothing brand which carries his name. Once, while playing in the United States, Lacoste saw an alligator skin bag he liked. His coach promised to buy it for him if he won the tournament - only for Lacoste to lose in the final. But the story followed him over the Atlantic, where the alligator was transformed into a crocodile. After that Lacoste was known as the "crocodile" and it became the symbol of the clothing company he launched in 1933.
British fencer Judy Guinness sacrificed the chance to win an Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles in 1932 in the individual foil when she pointed out to officials that they had missed two touches scored against her by final opponent, Ellen Preis of Austria, after they had declared her the winner by one point. The honesty of 21-year-old Guinness cost her the gold medal. Preis later became involved in music, and developed a breathing and movement technique that maximises energy, frees the body of tensions, and lets the voice float freely.
Finland's Tapio Rautavaara won the Olympic gold medal in the javelin at London 1948 and later became a successful singer and film actor, who was supposedly a candidate for the part of Tarzan after Johnny Weissmuller quit. He died at the age of 64 in 1979 after falling and hitting his head on a concrete floor while posing for a photograph at a swimming centre. His injuries were not taken seriously, as staff thought he was drunk. His head was bandaged and he was sent home, only to die as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Helsinki.
British cyclist Chris Boardman won the Olympic gold medal in the men's 4,000 metres individual pursuit at Barcelona 1992. A full carbon-fibre framed bike manufactured by his company, Boardman Bikes, was ridden by Britain's Nicole Cooke when she won gold at Beijing 2008 in the women's road race. Four years later, at London 2012, Alistair Brownlee also used a Boardman Bike as he claimed the gold medal in the triathlon, as did brother Jonathan, who took the bronze in the same event.
South Korean archer Kim Kyung-wook won two Olympic gold medals at Atlanta 1996, in the individual and team events, but only after following a training regime which included attending a military base where she had go hiking along an open sewage ditch, sprinting with a car tyre strapped to her back, floating for half-an-hour in frigid ocean waters and rolling commando-style in mud. But she admitted the scariest things she had to do was being blindfolded in the dead of night, taken to a crematorium and told to fetch bones from the ovens and having to pick up a live snake and bite it.
American sprinter Walter McCoy won an Olympic gold medal in the 4x400 metres relay at Los Angeles in 1984 but saw his hopes of adding a second in Seoul four years later dashed when he injured his neck, he claimed, in an elevator accident at a Holiday Inn in Tampa, Florida, which kept him out of the Games. He sued the hotel and in 1994 was awarded $900,000 in damages.
Germany's Alfred Krupp, winner of a bronze medal in the 8-metre sailing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, was convicted as a war criminal as the family company he owned was a key supplier of weapons and materiel to the Nazi regime during World War Two. Krupp's wartime employment of slave labour, resulted in him appearing at the Nuremberg trials in 1947-1948, following which he served three years in prison. Krupp worked closely with the SS, which controlled the concentration camps from which slave labour was obtained.
When boxer Michael Carruth won the welterweight gold medal at Barcelona in 1992 he became the first Irish competitor to become Olympic champion since Ron Delany had won the 1500 metres at Melbourne in 1956. To celebrate the occasion, and mark Carruth's return home, pubs in Dublin decided to drop the price of Guinness to what it had cost in 1956, So, all over Ireland's capital that day, drinkers were raising a pint that cost 4p to Carruth.
Britain's Harold Abrahams and New Zealand's Arthur Porritt, who won the gold and bronze medals in the 100 metres at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, struck up such a friendship that until Abrahams' death in 1978 the two of them, along with their wives, had dinner every year at 7.00pm on July 7 - the day and the hour of that historic final, later immortalised in the Oscar-winning film, Chariots of Fire. Due to Porritt's modesty his name in the film was changed to "Tom Watson",
Italian archer Paola Fantato was the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year, when she took part in both Games at Atlanta in 1996. Fantato had been afflicted with polio when she was eight and was confined to a wheelchair. At Atlanta she placed 54th in the women's individual competition in the Olympics but took a bronze medal in women's individual and a gold in women's team at the Paralympics. She took part in five consecutive Paralympics, winning a total of eight medals, including five gold.
Denver were awarded the 1976 Winter Olympic Games ahead of Sion in Switzerland, Tempere in Finland and Vancouver in Canada at the International Olympic Committee Session in 1970. But in a Colorado referendum in November 1972, voters rejected funding for the event. It is the only time a city has been awarded the Olympics but pulled out. The IOC then offered the Games to Whistler in Canada, but they too declined owing to a change of Government following elections. Salt Lake City offered to host the Games, but the IOC, still reeling from the Denver rejection, declined and selected Innsbruck, the 1964 host city, as a replacement.
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