From boycotts to bombings, racism and fighting, the world’sbiggest sporting event can also be one of the most contentious.
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31 Jul 2012 - 7:25 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 10:48 AM

From boycotts to bombings, racism and fighting, the world's biggest sporting event can also be one of the most contentious.

MOSCOW OLYMPICS BOYCOTT, 1980

Led by the United States, more than 45 nations pulled out of the Games in 1980 in protest of the Soviet Union's December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.

Australia was represented by 122 athletes. Those who did go, and many more that didn't, were pressured to stay home by the federal government.

Athletes from a number of countries, including Australia, marched under the Olympic flag during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

CATHY FREEMAN FLAG CONTROVERSY, SYDNEY 2000

In the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman was warned she would risk losing her medals if she chose to fly the Aboriginal flag.

The warning was a reference to Freeman's actions six years earlier, where she draped an Aboriginal flag along with an Australian flag around her shoulders for a victory lap after winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

It was the political nature of the gesture that most upset officials. “Because the Aboriginal flag is not the national flag we would be concerned the athletes are putting themselves at risk of breaching rule number 61 of the Olympic charter,” a spokesperson for the AIC told media.

The Aboriginal flag was declared a flag of Australia in 1995.

DAMIEN HOOPER WEARS THE ABORIGINAL FLAG, LONDON 2012

Australian boxer Damien Hooper received a warning from Olympic officials for wearing a t-shirt printed with the Aboriginal flag to the ring to compete at the London 2012 Games.

The action contradicted Australian team rules because it wasn't official uniform.

Mr Hooper said it was worth the risk of getting into trouble to represent his people as well as his country.