Monday, August 15, 2016

Blast from the Past: Competing in the 1960 Olympics under the name "Formosa"

Protesting at the 1960 Olympics (Getty). Wiki has another image.

A 1960 Taiwan Review/Today article notes:
The World-Telegram and Sun on September 1 also editorialized that sport and politics were mixed when the athletes from the Re­public of China were "forced" to represent only the island of Taiwan in the current Olympic Games in Rome.

In a comment entitled "Sports and Politics," the Scripps-Howard paper criticized the conduct of Avery Brundage, the newly re-elected President of the International Olympic Committee.

"Avery Brundage likes to say, as head of the International Olympic Committee, that 'sports and politics do not mix'. Yet he was the center of a furor last year over the admission of the Republic of China to the 1960 Olympic Games only as representative of Taiwan (Formosa)—thereby implying that the Communist regime is the legitimate government of China.

"The Brundage viewpoint prevailed and Nationalist China did send a team to Rome as representative of Taiwan. But on the opening day when the athletes circled the stadium, a Chinese marcher held aloft a placard that said: 'Under Protest.' It drew widespread cheers.

"A few days ago Mr. Brundage was reelected unanimously as president of the IOC. That came about, according to sports writers on the scene, because Soviet opposition to him was withdrawn. Some observers pointed out, according to John P. Carmichael, Chicago Daily News sports editor, that 'the USSR surrendered on Brundage, after the IOC agreed to insist that the Republic of China athletes be forced to represent only the island of Formosa.
This book available on Google books observed that in the "key political fight" of the Olympics, ROC officials had called the US embassy in Rome to try to get them to have Avery Brundage let them compete as China. The athletes of the ROC delegation did not want to march, but the IOC officials wanted them to. When the march came, not only did the ROC group carry the placard, but they wore jackets with the Nationalist Chinese insignia on them. However, according to the author, the US embassy officials observed "glumly" that the protest went largely unnoticed by the crowd.

Maybe we should petition to use the name Formosa again, since we used it once already...
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Matt Stone said...

I would add that Republic of Formosa (ROF) works much better as an acronym than Republic of Taiwan (ROT).

Formosa Airlines would also be a lot less confusing as a national airline, and the newspaper could be The Formosa Post.

短笛無腔 said...

I agree full heartedly.