1900 Paris Great Britain's Charlotte
Cooper wins gold medals for the Singles and Mixed Doubles in the first Games in which women are allowed to compete. But the event is marred by poor organization — confusion over scheduling prevented some athletes from making it to their events and makeshift hurdles were made from broken telephone poles.
1906 Athens A short-lived attempt
to hold the Olympics every two years brings athletes back to Greece. The Games take a political turn when triple jumper Peter O'Connor, pictured in competition, clambers up a flagpole, waving the Irish flag to protest having to compete on behalf of Great Britain.
1932 Los Angeles In the
midst of the Depression, L.A. scrapes up enough cash to build the first Olympic village in Baldwin Hills, complete with a post office, a library, cafeterias and luxury housing for athletes. Italian gold medal runner Luigi Beccali, second from left, shocks Americans at the podium by raising his hand in a Fascist salute.
1936 Berlin After the last
runner in a 3000-person relay carries the torch from Greece to Berlin, Adolph Hitler uses the Games to showcase Nazi propaganda, plastering the Olympic complex with banners bearing swastikas. But African-American Jesse Owens steals the spotlight, winning four gold medals and befriending Luz Long, a blond German long jumper.
1956 Melbourne Hungarian anger over
the Soviet invasion of Budapest boils over in the water polo semi-final match with the U.S.S.R., during which Hungarian player Ervin Zádor emerges from the pool with a bloodied eye in the last two minutes. Horrified referees award the match to his team.
1960 Rome The competitors from
Formosa, now Taiwan, protest on the track in Rome after being forced to drop "The Republic of China" from their team name.
1964 Tokyo In a symbolic
move, 19-year-old Yoshinori Sakai, a university student who was born the day the atom bomb struck Hiroshima, lights the Olympic flame
1968 Mexico City University students
are held at gunpoint in Mexico City, where 10 days before the opening ceremony, Mexican paramilitary hired to secure the city allegedly helped gun down hundreds of student demonstrators. The Games are only postponed 36 hours. Later, African-American runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos are suspended from the U.S. team after raising gloved fists in a Black Power salute as the Star Spangled Banner plays during their medal ceremony
1972 Munich Eight Palestinian terrorists
break into the Olympic village and kidnap 11 Israeli athletes, beginning a standoff that lasts almost 18 hours and results in two hostages dead. After a botched rescue attempt by the German military, the surviving hostages are killed when a Palestinian militant hurls a grenade at their helicopter
1980 Moscow President Jimmy Carter
leads a boycott by more than 55 nations, protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But Great Britain competes anyway, and its fans celebrate the country's best showing ever
1992 Barcelona As the Soviet
Union dissolves, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia field separate teams; the rest of the bloc competes under the name "Unified Team." Reunified Germany also competes as one team, winning the gold in the Men's 100 Kilometers, and post-apartheid South Africa is welcomed back to the Games
2008 Beijing Unrest follows the
Olympic Torch on its journey to Beijing, as activists protest Chinese trade relations with Sudan's government, which is accused of genocide. The IOC underlines its commitment to an Olympics free of political 'propaganda,' and the world awaited the opening ceremonies on August 8.