The London 2012 Olympics look set to be a jamboree of profiteering and nationalism. Brian Richardson recalls how past Olympics have been the site of struggles against racism
The Olympic Games have been associated with three of the most inspirational moments in the struggle for black emancipation. In August 1936 Jesse Owens confounded and humiliated the Nazi dictator Hitler by winning an unprecedented four gold medals at the games in Berlin. Twenty four years later Cassius Clay was crowned as the light heavyweight boxing champion in Rome. He was lauded on his return to the US, but still found himself refused service in "whites only" restaurants and targeted by racist gangs.