Olympic Games 2021 – South Africa, from exclusion to reintegration into the Games

Olympic Games 1992. South Africa marks a return to the world of Olympism.

Although officially excluded from the Olympic Games (OG) by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in 1970, South Africa had already been sidelined six years earlier. The Minister of the Interior at the time, Jan de Klerk, had defended that his country did not meet one of the criteria for participation: racial integration. South Africans were invited to Tokyo 1964, precisely, to Japan.

Thus the Olympics which open on Friday 23 August are the first for South Africa on Japanese soil in summer. Japan having only hosted the Winter Games after 1964.

Boycotted by Africa

In 1968, South Africa was going to be accepted at the Olympic Games in Mexico on the condition that its team was multiracial. The country was ready to return to the biggest sporting competition in the world. But that was without counting the determination of other African countries. You make of the still notorious presence of apartheid in South Africa, several countries of the continent and outside have threatened to boycott the event.

The country’s reintegration into Olympism took place in 1991. One year after the release of the leading figure in the struggle against apartheid, Nelson Mandela. The end of this political system thus marks South Africa’s return to the great international sports scene.

In Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics, with its 96 athletes, the newly reinstated country won two silver medals. In total South Africa has 86 medals since Stockholm 1912.

Marietou SOUMARE

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