When Mexico won the candidature of the 1968 Olympic Games, it won Latin America. They were the first organized by a developing country and Hispanic. The Mexicans surpassed the headquarters of Lyon, Detroit and even Buenos Aires. In view of the other countries there was great uncertainty for the organization due to the lack of experience, the economy of the country and, 10 days before the inauguration, the Tlatelolco massacre occurred in which dozens of students died, according to official sources, and between 150 and 200, according to a declassified report of the United States Embassy. Despite that, Mexico surprised. The Olympism changed from 1968 to the first edition transmitted by satellite television and color, the first anti-doping controls. It was the thing never seen before. EL PAÍS shows 10 symbolic places of those Olympic Games.
University Olympic Stadium
Athletics was not the same from Mexico 68. In the stadium, the American James Hines was the first to get off the timer the 10 seconds in the 100 meters. His mark was 9.95 seconds. Tommie Smith and John Carlos triumphed in first and third place in the 200 test and culminated their feat with the black power salute in protest against racial discrimination. His compatriot, Bob Beamon was suspended in the air for 93 hundredths and advanced 8.90 meters in the long jump. That Olympic record nobody has been able to beat.
Agustín Melgar velodrome
It was one of the enclosures that was built in less than a year. In May of 1967 they began the work and finished it one month before the Games. For that time, the stave was enviable internationally. The Mexican velodrome, with capacity for 6,800 spectators, was the summit for the French cycling with Daniel Morelon and Pierre Trentin as great figures in the individual and team events. The place, still decorated with photographs from 1968, is a few steps from a metro station and is surrounded by two synthetic grass courts. In recent years there has been the possibility of demolishing it to build a football stadium.
Olympic Pool Francisco Márquez
It is a sacred place for the sport of Mexico. There the Mexicans Felipe Muñoz and María Teresa Ramírez won the gold and bronze in the 200 meters and the 800 meters, respectively. In addition to the silver that he conquered in diving Álvaro Gaxiola. They were the first medals in swimming for their country, a masterful milestone. The American Debbie Meyer converted the tests of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle in a feat to win them all. 50 years later, the place is used for competitions and classes. The good condition of the pool and the pit of dives contrasts with the deteriorated board.
Before the music of Joaquín Sabina, Guns N 'Roses and Rihanna, the Palace of Sports was erected to host the competitions of volleyball, basketball, weightlifting and fencing, according to the program of the Games. The architects Felix Candela, Enrique Castañeda and Antonio Peyri were inspired by the design of a similar palace in Rome used in the Olympics of 1960. The construction was innovative in terms of the roof in which a mixture of water-repellent woods was used and copper, that allowed to reflect the light of the sun in its first decades. On his fluke he triumphed, of course, the United States basketball selective. Now it is one of the main stages for music and for different exhibitions in Mexico City, although sports has stopped being so.
One of the main houses of Mexican wrestling was the stage for boxing battles. The discipline was special for the locals after four of their own won a medal. Ricardo Delgado and Antonio Roldán won the gold, while Agustín Zaragoza and Joaquín Rocha won the bronze. The American George Foreman, that rival of Muhammad Ali, also won the Golden Medal. Francisco Rodríguez, a 23-year-old boy, surprised the quadrilateral by hanging the first gold medal for Venezuela in the Olympic Games. The arena ring is still used for wrestling functions and has become one of the tourist spots of the Mexican capital.
Ice rink of Insurgentes
The facilities of the extinct ice rink were no winter sports. The main surface was upholstered in planks to house wrestling and Greco-Roman competitions. In none of the categories could any Latin American competitor appear. The place was built in 1962, one year before the elections to grant the candidature of the Olympic Games. The ice rink of Revolution was another similar place that was adapted to receive volleyball competitions. The track, with a capacity of 3,386 seats, was demolished to build a shopping center in the early 2000s.
Theater of the Insurgentes
The place destined to the weightlifting, to the brute force, had in its facade a mural of the Mexican artist Diego Rivera called the history of the theater in Mexico. There represented the clash between the upper class and the low class mediated by Cantinflas, one of the key characters of Mexican cinema. After half a century, the theater has remained intact, one of the most important in Mexico City, but without any function related to sport. The glory went to the halterists of the extinct Soviet Union.
Vera Caslavska sculpted on gold plates her legend as a gymnast in a venue dedicated to the best concerts in Mexico. The graceful movements of the Czech made her climb to the podium six times. Nobody surpassed him in the individual test, in jump, parallel or on the ground. He won silver in the bar and by teams, in the final by sections, Caslavska lowered his head, in a sorry gesture, when the anthem of the USSR was played. It was his subtle form of protest against the invasion of his country a few months after the start of the Olympic Games. The Czech won the Mexicans for her routine sheltered from the music of the locals. Years later he decided to get married in the Cathedral of Mexico ..
The Azteca stadium collects the traces of those who have stepped on their grass. Their first major tournament was the soccer tournament of the 68 Olympics. The locals expected to see Mexico at home after beating Spain in the quarterfinals, but the desire was cut by the Bulgarians who qualified for the final and they lost it against Hungary. On the outskirts of the countryside, the Red Sun, a sculpture by the American Alexander Calder, is erected. The structure remains firm in the esplanade with three steel legs. The figure is part of a collection 19 of sculptures that symbolized a sculptural corridor of more than 17 kilometers, was a gesture of the organizers to resume the old Greek cultural competitions.
"People on the streets asked athletes from other countries where they wanted to go. Taking a taxi was slow. Then, the same Mexicans took them everywhere, they even invited them to their homes! "Recalls Mexican swimmer Felipe Muñoz. The iconography of Mexico 68 was designed by Lance Wyman and soaked the Mexican capital with that identity. Each sport was assigned an icon and a color. The logo Mexico68, without tilde, is the main reference of the sport in Mexico.