ANDThe day many times dreamed of and so many times so far finally arrived. After an interval of war that paralyzed the world, peace returned and the Olympic Games of Antwerp 1920 in Belgium, served to give a message of unity.
World War I had left a pungent gunpowder smell that killed 9 million people. It was 14 months ago that the Treaty of Versailles was signed, thus putting an end to hostilities and the Olympic Games were ceded to Antwerp instead of Budapest, for being the martyr city of the war. Antwerp was invaded by the Germans a month after Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian secret society Black Hand, killed the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, unleashing chaos in the world order.
For this reason, Antwerp was decorated with the peace games and at the inauguration of August 20, two ceremonies were held, one religious to honor the athletes and people of Belgium who died and another civil for the opening in which for the first time the he raised the flag with the five Olympic rings. A dove was released into the stadium as a sign of goodwill and peace.
So far so good, but football will put its discordant note. The tournament had its conditions, but in the end they reached the gold medal match Belgium against Czechoslovakia, which incidentally wore a white shirt with red stripes.
It was an intense and unbridled game, without shame, because certainly the referee, the British John Lewis, had friction with the Czech players because of his markings that led to a hometown feeling. In addition, it influenced in marking a penalty and the expulsion of the Czech Karel Steiner for an elbow. In the midst of the problems raised, Czechoslovakia threw the public on top in the Olympic stadium and 35 thousand outraged souls recriminated their decision not to go out to play the second half, so the Belgian army intervened causing a schizophrenic uproar.
The Czechs, who jostled with soldiers and fans, barricaded themselves in the locker room as they heard doors slamming, banging and screaming outside. The peace games had turned into a horde of insults. As an arrangement, they asked that the whistling Lewis stop continuing and instead proposed the Spaniard Manuel de Castro. The authorities allowed it but the minutes passed and Czechoslovakia still did not go out to the field, when they went to look for them again, one more request was put on the table. The players demanded a public apology from the Belgian army for intimidating them in a sporting event. Faced with such a dilemma, the organizing members disqualified Czechoslovakia giving the gold medal automatically to Belgium, which, although it was winning with authority on the field, was left with an asterisk, despite having a good team led by William Maxwell and Robert Coppé as the top scorer of the tournament and the best Belgian player of that time.
The following day, the Czechs left Antwerp without the right to reply, absent any charisma from the press and without honors, for a country that, from now on, would begin to change the order of football as soon as the 1930s began. and something called the Soccer World Cup.
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