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Avery Brundage Avery Brundage was the only American ever to become president of the International Olympic Committee--a position he held from 1952 to 1972. He was also the most controversial IOC head. Brundage had competed at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in the decathlon and pentathlon. He later acquired significant wealth from his contruction company combined with some shrewd investments. His vast fortune skewed his views of amateurism. Since he was independently wealthy, he could not see why every other amateur athlete could not be self-sufficient too. As a result, Brundage believed the only true athletes were amateurs. He denounced pro athletes as entertainers. Brundage rose to become head of the United States Olympic Committee by 1936. That year he controversially allowed the American team to compete in the Berlin Olympics despite heavy public pressure to boycott the Nazi-themed Games. He personally disqualified one notable female American athlete, swimmer Eleanor Holm, for allegedly engaging in immoral behavior on the team's ocean voyage to Hamburg. (Years later Holm claimed she had rebuffed the married Brundage's advances and he suspended her out of spite.) After the 1936 Games, Brundage openly praised Nazi Germany's economic resurgence and newfound national pride. By 1952 he became head of the IOC and a staunch defender of pure amateur sports, saying that the ideal Olympian should be a Renaissance person with many interests--not just the financial benefits of being a pro athlete. Critics labelled him "Slavery Avery." Despite being anti-communist, Brundage was impressed by the Soviet Union's national physical fitness programs and was instrumental in getting the USSR into the Olympic movement. Brundage was still at the helm of the IOC at age 85 in 1972 when a terrorist attack killed 11 Israeli team members. Brundage called for a day of mourning and then insisted the Games continue-- a decision still controversial today. In one of his final public speeches as IOC head, Brundage favored abolishing the Winter Olympics because of their growing commercialization. He died in 1975.
Tags: Avery  Brundage  IOC 
Added: 5th February 2013
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Posted By: Lava1964

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