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121 days
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The choice of the Mexican capital to host the 1968 games raised many objections because of the city's altitude (2240 m) and the already severe pollution.What is more, the games narrowly missed being cancelled owing to the student unrest that was shaking the country. The bloody repression caused 300 deaths. The army used bazookas to silence the students' opposition to the government.Despite the difficult situation, the games finally opened on the appointed date.Beforehand, many national delegations underwent altitude training to avoid acclimatization problems.This was the first time that the Games were a true media event. They were used as a political platform by African-American athletes to protest against the segregationist policy in the United States.In Mexico City, the games came firmly into the modern world. They saw the first sex tests for female athletes, heralding the anti-drug tests we know today.But if we had to pick just one image from Mexico City, it would be that of US athlete Bob Beamon who leapt an astonishing 8.95 m in the long jump, pulverizing the world record by over 50 centimetres. The pictures of his jump went all around the world and are the enduring memory of the Mexican games.
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