History Book – A Perfect 10

NICK EICHER, HTE: Today is Monday July 19th. Hello! This is The world and all in it of WORLD Radio supported by listeners. I am Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Then on The world and all in it: The WORLD History Book. Today, a perfect 10, a questionable 100 and an archaeological fear. Here’s senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.

MUSIC: Peruvian Pan Flute

KATIE GAULTNEY, MAIN CORRESPONDENT: Machu Picchu is sometimes called the “Lost City of the Incas”. Built around 1450, it has remained protected from Spanish settlers in its remote location 80 km from the Peruvian city of Cuzco. And it went more or less unnoticed by everyone except the inhabitants of this high mountain ridge until 110 years ago. It was then that the American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered it on July 24, 1911.

Bingham grew up in a missionary family in Hawaii. He eventually became a professor at Yale.

HEANEY: Hiram Bingham, in a nutshell, was a whirlwind, he was a force of nature.

Christopher Heaney has studied Bingham’s life and expeditions, and he spoke at a National Geographic event about the pioneer.

HEANEY: He was smart, he was deeply ambitious, he was a good organizer. He was not very good at staying in one place …

At an academic conference in Santiago, Chile, Bingham spoke with Peruvian academics.

On this excursion in 1909, he saw the foundations of the ancient Inca civilization. He returned to the United States and began planning his own expedition. On his return in 1911, he interviewed an innkeeper about the ruins in the region.

HEANEY: And the innkeeper, who was called Melchor Arteaga, just pointed his finger and said the words that would change Bingham’s life: “Machu Picchu.

Christopher Heaney again, describing Bingham’s reaction to the sites, as written in Explorer’s journals.

HEANEY: When he first saw it, he captured his imagination like a maze of small and large walls covered with jungle, the ruins of buildings made of blocks of white granite, very carefully cut and beautifully assembled without cement. Surprise follows surprise …

Machu Picchu is today one of South America’s most notable tourist attractions, and history recognizes Bingham as the man who brought him to the modern avant-garde. Bingham then served as governor of Connecticut for just a day before filling a vacant position in the United States Senate. It also served as the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones.

Transition from the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

SONG: “March of the Volunteers”

“Arise, you who refuse to be slaves. This is the English translation of the first line of the hymn of the People’s Republic of China. The song is meant to evoke a sense of national pride, but it sounds more ironic in light of the oppressive tactics of the Chinese Communist Party – or CCP. It was founded 100 years ago on July 23, 1921.

The CCP has been the only ruling party in the People’s Republic of China since 1949, after the Chinese civil war caused the ROC to withdraw from Taiwan. Revolutionaries Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao founded the party.

The party celebrated its centenary earlier this month. The government has stepped up censorship efforts online and elsewhere, and officials like President Xi Jinping have presented revisionist stories of the party’s contributions to society over the past century. The billboards featured slogans such as “Listen to the party, enjoy the party, follow the party”. In President Xi’s long speech, he made veiled threats against other global superpowers.

AUDIOXi Jinping speaks at Chinese Communist Party centenary celebrations

In light of the history of the CCP’s human rights violations, Republicans and Democrats in the United States House of Representatives have proposed a resolution declaring that the founding of the Chinese Communist Party is not a motive of celebration. The statement went on to suggest that the party use the anniversary to reflect on its own history.

And, with the Tokyo Olympics kicking off this Friday, let’s revisit a moment in the history of the Olympics. Romania’s Nadia Comaneci tackled uneven bars 45 years ago on July 18, 1976.

ADVERTISER: without fail! Absolutely flawless! Nadia Comaneci. Now what are the judges going to say about it? And 10 went to the set! It’s perfection, and that’s Olympic history for Nadia Comaneci.

The judges awarded Comaneci the first perfect score in gymnastics at the Olympic Games. The dashboard, however, was not designed for this kind of performance; he was reading 1 point-0-0 because he could not display “10”. Comaneci spoke to the Olympic Channel in 2017 about this moment.

COMANECI: I thought I had a good routine. I didn’t even think of 10, I was hoping to get 9.9 or something close. And just because I heard the loud noise in the arena, I turn around and see the scoreboard at 1.00, which is very confusing…

Comaneci was then only 14 years old. The 1976 Games were held in Montreal and Comaneci won six more Perfect 10s and three gold medals.

Its success caused a pandemic of gymnastic fever and made the sport a popular activity for young people.

In 1989, she fled communism, defecting to the United States from her home country, Romania. She married an American, another Olympic gold medalist gymnast, Bart Conner. Twenty years ago, she became a naturalized American citizen.


This is this week’s history book. I am Katie Gaultney.

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