The role of an individual in a country’s Olympic Committee is to provide support, supervise, monitor the development, and promote the Olympic Movement in their respective countries. But did you know about the horrific management of the Iraqi Olympic Committee back in 1984?
Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday Hussein, was appointed chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee in 1984. Athletes that did not perform well according to his standards were subject to torture and imprisonment.
Who is Uday Hussein?
Uday Saddam Hussein was born on June 18, 1964, in Baghdad while his father, Saddam Hussein, was in prison. While he was a baby, the Ba’ath party members hid secret messages in his diapers when he and his mother, Sajidah, visited his father in prison.
Hussein started his college education at the University of Baghdad’s Medical College. He only stayed there for three days and moved to the College of Engineering shortly after. He graduated with a bachelor’s in Engineering. He wrote his master’s thesis on Iraqi Military Strategy During the Eight-Year Iran-Iraq War. He eventually obtained his doctorate in political science by 1998 with a thesis on the world after the Cold War. He predicted that the United States would no longer be a world power by 2015. There has been some controversy regarding his academics. People said that others wrote his papers in exchange for money or expensive gifts, and the professors wouldn’t give him a low grade out of fear. In fact, one of his classmates mentioned that he was brilliant but crazy. (Source: The Guardian)
Uday Hussein in the Iraqi Olympic Committee
Hussein was appointed as the chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Iraq Football Association back in 1984. While seated as the chairman, he tortured athletes who did not perform well and failed to win games.
During the training, he would watch all the athletes closely, put pressure on the coaches to push the athletes even more. If he was not happy with the results, he would have coaches and athletes put in his private prison in the Olympic Committee building. The punishment was Uday’s private prison where they tortured people. Some athletes, including the best ones, started quitting the sport once Uday took over the Committee. I always managed not to be punished. I made sure not to promise anything. There is a strong possibility of always being beaten. But when I won, Uday would be very happy.Raed Ahmed, Iraqi Athlete
One of Iraq’s most famous football players, Ahmed Radhi, decided not to join the new football club, Al-Rasheed. He was kidnapped at midnight by Hussein’s men and beaten. He was also accused of harassment and other crimes. He finally accepted the offer because of the death threats from Hussein.
Uday established the Rashid team and forced the best Iraqi players to play in it, and forced me to leave my beloved team, and he honored us with gifts after every win, but he also punished us after every loss.Saad Qais, Iraqi Football Player
The word that defines him is sadistic. I think Saddam Hussein was more human than Uday. The Olympic Committee was not a sports center, it was Uday’s world.Latif Yahia, Uday Hussein’s Body Double
(Source: The Atlantic: Tales of the Tyrant)