By the time golf makes its triumphant Olympic return at the 2016 Rio Games it will have been on hiatus for 112 years. But with the sport’s recent exponential growth worldwide, now seems a perfect time to add it back on to the schedule.
In related news, Turkey decided to point out how great an Olympic host it would be with two major golf events in the weeks following the Ryder Cup. First, the World Golf Amateur Team Championship, which brought in 72 teams from around the world. Next the World Golf Finals, with appearances by one-name-is-enough athletes Tiger and Rory.
Now the country’s golf organization has announced that it will host the first ever Turkish Golf Open next November, which will bring in the sport’s top names and award $7 million in prize money.
This seems far from coincidental considering Instanbul’s Olympic bid, especially as golf has grown to become the eighth most popular world sport with an estimated 450 million fans. Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation, told the AP that an “emphasis on the Olympics” is very evident.
“The interest is there,” Dawson said following the IGF biennial meeting. “It’s amazing that in these countries they think of Olympic sports, instead of golf as its own sport. It’s certainly starting to serve to grow the game.”
Yes, this year’s World Golf Amateur Team Championship was the first time the event has hosted a full 72-team field, and even had a waiting list that included Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, Namibia and Lebanon… but is the worldwide demand because of the Olympics or is golf in the Olympics because of the worldwide demand?
Those in Turkey don’t seem to care what the order is, but they’re pushing hard and making sure everyone takes notice: Turkey is a golf destination now, and maybe an Olympics destination sooner rather than later.
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” a documentary on 18 African-American Olympians at the Berlin 1936 Games, is set to be screened in the spring and be narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood, according to Variety.
The group of 18, headlined by Jesse Owens, competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.
Trailers for the film are here and here.
From the film’s website:
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.
The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”
MORE: See ‘Race’ film poster
Family members of the Munich 1972 Olympic attack victims “described the extent of the cruelty” in interviews for “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” an upcoming documentary on the massacre, according to The New York Times.
Eleven Israeli athletes and officials were killed after being taken hostage by a Palestinian group in the athletes’ village nearly 40 years ago, with nine dying in a failed rescue attempt.
In 1992, widows of two of the victims learned details of how the athletes and officials were treated — including via graphic photographs — and recently spoke publicly about it, according to the newspaper.
“What they did is that they cut off his genitals through his underwear and abused him,” Ilana Romano said through a translator of husband Yossef Romano, an Olympic weightlifter, according to the newspaper. “Can you imagine the nine others sitting around tied up? They watched this.”
The documentary “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” announced earlier this year, is set to be released in early 2016. Here’s an interview with one of the film’s producers.
In 2014, it was announced that a $2.3 million memorial in Munich was planned to remember the victims, with the International Olympic Committee contributing $250,000.
At Rio 2016, a moment of remembrance will be held during the Closing Ceremony and a special mourning area will be in the Olympic village to honor those who have died during an Olympic Games.
PHOTOS: Munich 1972 Olympic sites, including massacre site