Ever since Peter O’Connor scaled a flagpole in Athens to call out Olympic unfairness the stage was set for winning athletes to make powerful statements. So why outlaw it now?
Some called him the Antelope. Others the King of Spring. But, above all, Peter O’Connor was a revolutionary. These days the exploits of the Irishman have been all but forgotten, yet at the 1906 Olympics in Athens he caused a worldwide stir by staging the first – and quite possibly greatest – podium protest in history.
And what a protest it was. O’Connor was incensed enough when he was told he had to represent Great Britain despite being selected by the Gaelic Athletic Association to compete for Ireland. But matters got even worse when the long jump world record holder then finished second to the American Myer Prinstein after the sole judge – who happened to be the manager of the US team – awarded two foul jumps against him.