Millions around the world eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Olympic Games. Many countries send their top athletes to compete in these world-wide events. While numerous countries participate in these elite competitions not everyone will win a medal, and even fewer athletes will be able to bring the gold medals back home with them. Turkey has been proud to send top sporting stars to the Olympics since 1908 (with the exception of the 1932-1976 and 1980 games). During this time the country has been awarded medals in the following events:
- Tae kwondo
- Track and Field/Athletics
Turkey’s Olympic Triumphs
Throughout the weeks of the 2012 London Summer Olympics a total of 5 medals was won by the Turkish National Team. These medals were won by both male and female athletes. The count included 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze.
- Servet Tazegul won the gold medal in Taekwondo (68kg)
- Gamze Bulut won a silver medal in the women’s 1500m race
- Riza Kavaalp won a bronze medal in wrestling (120kg Greco-Roman) event.
- Asli Cakir Alptekin was awarded a gold medal when she competed in the 2012 women’s 1500m. She edged out her teammate, Gamze Bulut, who came in second.
- Nur Tatar claimed the silver medal in Olympic Taekwondo (2012) when competing in the women’s 67 kg category.
For the first time in many years Turkey did not bring home any medals from the weightlifting competition. This was a disappointment for fans because Turkish athletes are famous for their skill in events such as strength and weightlifting. The Olympic weightlifting competitions are a source of pride for many Turkish citizens because the country has been well represented by both male and female athletes. A variety of medals for weightlifting have been won by members of the Turkish National Team, and some of these same athletes have also established world records during these competitions.
Olympic Medals and Turkish National Pride
Here is a brief comparison of the medal count won by our Turkish teams during recent Olympic competitions.
- 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics – 3 gold and 2 bronze
- 2004 Athens Summer Olympics – 3 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze
- 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China – 1 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze
Over the course of 36 Olympic competition Turkish athletes have been awarded 88 medals. Both male and female participants have contributed to this total medal count. The victories include 39 gold/25 silver and 24 bronze. Almost half of Turkey’s Olympic medals have been gold.
Here are three top medalists who have represented Turkey during Olympic competitions. Halil MUTLU is a Turkish athlete who won Olympic medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Hamza Yerlikaya was a repeat medalist during the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. Naim Suleymanoglu is also a repeat Olympic champion who has won medals in the 1998, 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Turkey is proud of the number of Olympic medals that its athletic teams have won over the years. The current medal count has established the country as a serious contender in a variety of competitive sports.
A 2020 Olympic Hosting Bid Narrowly Defeated
The city of Istanbul was selected as a candidate to host the Summer Olympics in 2020. Turkey has placed other bids to host the Olympics but this was the first time that this country had managed to advance to the candidate city round for IOC consideration. The Istanbul Olympic bid committee was led by Hasan Arat and the city became one of the final three host contenders. Although Turkey was endorsed by some of the world’s most notable sports figures (including legendary Olympic champion Mark Spitz) the IOC eventually decided to choose Tokyo as the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Looking Forward to the 2016 Games
In 2016 the Summer Olympics will be hosted by the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Turkish National Team will once again be sending an elite squad of athletes to these games. It is hoped that Turkey will once again demonstrate world-class capabilities as members of the team compete in the weightlifting competitions. Fans will be cheering for their favorite team members and searching for updates about medal winners. The dates for the 2016 Olympic Games will be August 5th-August 21st.