In 1952 the bright lights of the Olympics were seriously dimmed by the Games' political overtones. Most of the good will and emphasis on individual achievement was lost in the struggle between Russia and the United States for prestige and propaganda.
This year the Olympics have been seriously undermined even before the games start. Team after team has withdrawn to protest Russia's action in Hungary and England's action in Egypt, and then to add to the commotion, Communist China withdrew to protest the participation of Nationalist China.
Spain and the Netherlands withdrew November 6, citing Russia's intervention in Hungary. They gave their Olympic Funds to Hungarian relief groups. Iraq and Lebanon withdrew shortly thereafter because of the Middle-East situation. Israel reduced the size of its already small team because the men were headed for a "shooting competition."
The deepest blow to the Olympics was dealt by Switzerland, which withdrew on November 8, only to re-enter and then withdraw again. On November 11 the Swiss drew up a resolution banning "warring nations" from the games, which will be voted upon by the International Committee in Australia.
Indonesia got into the act by refusing to refuel English planes on the way to the games because of the British action in Egypt.
Many of the nations which withdrew sincerely believed that to play in the Olympics with warring nations would be contrary to the spirit of the Games. Unfortunately, their withdrawals aggravate world stresses, rather than ease them. In the furor, the Olympic Games and the ideals behind them have been all but forgotten.