Sport, history and culture
In Germany, the Führer simply did not shake his hand, as he did with any athlete other than a German, leaving the stadium before the award ceremony and sending him a signed portrait a few days later. In turn, President Roosevelt and his successor Harry Truman simply ignored the award-winning athlete altogether. It was necessary to wait for Ford and 1976 for his exploits to receive some deserved consideration, with the highest civil recognition in the United States, the Medal for Freedom, and becoming part of the common imagination as one of the moments that most marked the history of Western culture.
Despite the fact that in the interviews immediately following he did not miss an opportunity to present himself with his real name and as a Korean athlete (with all that this gesture will entail), it was necessary to wait until the summer of 1988 for his final redemption. Almost eighty years old, the athlete entered running into the crowded Seoul stadium, holding the torch of the opening ceremony and wearing a white tank top on which stood out the symbol of South Korea. "Now I can die without regret," he would say that day, as soon as he returned home.
Gino Bartali "saves" the Italian Republic
Many wrote before that Gino Bartali, who won that same Tour a decade earlier, with his 34 years was by decidedly "too old" to win it again. But he did it.
Meanwhile, the whole of Italy glued to the radio to follow with growing emotion this epic feat of “Ginettaccio”, and seemed to have put aside the political factiousness. The pride for the unexpected catch-up and the triumphs of the captain of his team, which actually that year would have gone to the podium for the second (and last) time, really helped to ease the tension, to recreate a sense of union, to quell the souls and the fierce clashes in the square.