NINE – Meet Caitlyn Jenner:Jenner reveals in July that she would no longer be known as Bruce Jenner, sparking a dialogue about what it means to be transgender. The 1976 gold medal-winning pentathlon men’s champion’s cover story on Vanity Fair, and follow-up television interviews helped broaden the world view on people who identify themselves as transgender.
EIGHT – Olympians Serena Williams and Novak Djokavic Win 3/4 of their Grand Slams:Williams won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015. She is a four-time gold medalist, winning gold in doubles in 2000, 2008 and 2012, as well as the singles championship in 2012. Djokavic won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015. Djokavic now has a total 10 Grand Slams, and took the bronze medal in singles play in Beijing in 2008.
SEVEN – Barcelona FC Wins the Treble: In the 2014–2015 season, Barcelona win La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League titles, becoming the first European team to have won the treble twice. Olympians on Barcelona FC include Javier Mascherano (gold for Argentina in 2004 and 2008), Lionel Messi (gold for Argentina in 2008), Neymar (silver for Brazil in 2012), Luis Suarez (competed for Uruguay in 2012)
He is second from right, in the black coat, running onto the field to celebrate with his team – Japan’s victory over Argentina in a preliminary soccer match at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games.
Like so many sports, Japan was playing catch up. In the case of soccer, the then President of the Japan Football Association, Yuzuru Nozu, thought that Dettmar Cramer was the man to coach the national Japan team. So the West German coach worked with the Japan team for four years, and in their very first match, they defeat Argentina 3-2 in what was considered an upset.
Cramer would go on to be an advisor to the Japan team that went to Mexico City, and incredibly, Japan won the bronze medal. As he is quoted in this Japan Times article, striker Ryuichi Sugiyama said Cramer was a true inspiration. “Before the bronze medal (match) he told us ‘show me your yamato damashii (Japanese fighting spirit)’. As a trainer, he was fantastic but he was also engaging as a human being.”
Cramer passed away on Thursday, September 17 at the age of 90. His life was dedicated to soccer, leading Bayern Munich to victory in the European Champions Cup in 1975 and 1976. In Japan,
Eleven Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the Summer Games in Munich in 1972.
Dozens of protestors were said to have been killed by soldiers in Mexico City 10 days prior to the start of the 1968 Olympic Games.
But in 1964, no violence visited the Games of Tokyo, often cited as the last “innocent” or “pure” Games. Security was relatively lax, and athletes enjoyed freedom of movement amidst a population most friendly and cooperative.
And yet, a little over 4 months before the start of the XVIII Olympiad in Tokyo, an Olympic qualifying soccer match turned into a brutally bloody affair.
In the end, Argentina went on to compete in the Olympics in Tokyo, drawing once against Ghana as well losing to host Japan 3-2. But one could only imagine their psychological state after leaving South America, where some 200 to 300 people died on that terrible day in May.
Here is a grainy video report from that tragic match.
Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar has told his club team, Barcelona, that he wants to play in the Olympics and Copa America Centenario next summer, according to O Globo.
Neymar may be the 2016 Olympic host nation’s most famous potential Olympian, but there is at least some question of whether he will suit up at the Rio Games.
Copa America Centenario takes place from June 3-26. Soccer at the 2016 Olympics takes place from Aug. 3-20. Neymar plays for Barcelona in La Liga, whose season usually begins in late August. That would be a busy summer of national team duty, which may not sit well with Barcelona.
In 2012, FIFA ordered club teams to allow its players to compete in the Olympics. In 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Barcelona did not have to release Lionel Messi to compete in the Olympics, though Messi did end up winning…
America and Japan haven’t had such a rivalry since the trade wars of the 1980s and 1990s.
When the Women’s World Cup Finals start on Monday morning from 8am JST, more than a few Japanese will be calling in sick, joining colleagues at a sports bar, or making furtive glances at their phones as they begin their work day.
Japan and the US are facing off in a women’s soccer championship for the third time in a row. Four years ago, Japan won in the World Cup. Three years ago, the US won in the London Olympics. Who will win tomorrow?