The 1940 Summer Olympic games, the games that never happened! Or did they?

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I have mentioned this before in other blogs that the IOC(International Olympic Committee) has very little to do with sports but more with politics.

But I have to admit they made the right decision on the 1940 Summer Olympics, although they didn’t really have much choice in the matter.

The 1940 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad, were originally scheduled to be held from September 21 to October 6, 1940, in Tokyo, Japan. They were rescheduled for Helsinki, Finland.

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In 1936, Tokyo was chosen in a surprise move, making it the first non-Western city to win an Olympic bid.

Japan pulled out of hosting the Games in July 1938. The IOC then awarded the Games to Helsinki, Finland, the city that had been the runner-up in the original bidding process. When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out on July 7, 1937, Japan decided a year after the outbreak after the war to focus more on military matters then sporting events, therefore it withdrew from hosting the Games of the XII Olympiad.Second Sino-Japanese War

The IOC then awarded the Games to Helsinki, Finland, the city that had been the runner-up in the original bidding process. To be held from July 20 to August 4, 1940, The Games were then canceled altogether after the breakout of WWII in 1939.

The 1944 Olympics which had been awarded to London was also cancelled, it wasn’t until 1948 before the Olympic games resumed. London who lost out in 1944 got to host the games in 1948.

However. while the official Olympic Games were canceled, a different kind of Olympics was held in 1940. Prisoners of war in a camp in Langwasser, Germany, held their own DIY Olympic Games in August 1940. The event was called the International Prisoner-of-War Olympic Games. The Olympic flag and banners for Belgium, France, Great Britain, Norway, Poland and the Netherlands were drawn on a prisoner’s shirt using crayons. The 1980 movie Olimpiada ’40 ​recounts this story.

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Although the International Prisoner-of-War Olympic Games of 1940 were kept in complete secrecy, in 1944 in another POW camp,Woldenberg another International Prisoner-of-War Olympic Games was held under the name of the Woldenberg Olympics.

The guards of Woldenberg allowed the ’44 event to proceed with the provision that no fencing, archery, javelin, or pole-vaulting competitions took place.

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Roughly 369 of the 7000 prisoners participated. Most of the men competed in multiple contests, which ranged from handball and basketball to chess. Boxing was included—but owing to the fragile state of prisoners, broken bones resulted in a premature end to the combat.

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