The Olympics Games represent a high standard high among sporting events, not just in athletic prowess but in the ethos that surrounds them. And at no time is the “Olympic Spirit” more important than in periods of real-world conflict and prejudice. And when Japanese pole vaulters and pals Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe realized they were in a tiebreak at the 1936 Berlin games, they devised a plan that chose friendship over victory.
The history of sport can often be traced by its great rivalries. Indeed, if you were a fan of tennis in the 1970s and 80s, you probably watched with bated breath to see who would win the latest clash between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, or Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. More recently, the first part of the 21st century has been dominated by the battles of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, or sisters Venus and Serena Williams.
And it’s unsurprising that many sporting rivalries come to a head at the Olympics. It is, after all, one of the biggest sporting events in the world and every great athlete wants chance to win an Olympic gold. Indeed, the battle for such glory was even the subject of a BAFTA and Oscar-winning film in 1981.