The Iraqi Olympic team went to Spain to compete in the Fifa55 1992 Summer Olympics Games. Nine athletes competed in 3 sports at the 1992 Games.
The Arab country withdrew from the 1956 Olympics. The boycott was a protest against the Israeli invasion of the Suez Canal.
Iraq qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico City. It had to wait 56 years to finally play in a FIFA World Cup.
The Iraqi government gives outstanding athletes special medals and monetary awards for excelling in sports. On returning home, each member of the triumphant football team -Asian champions- was rewarded with special prizes: $10,000 and a diplomatic passport.
The Asian country sent 45 athletes to the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow,USSR (currently Russia). Like Benin, Libya, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Guyana, Iraq returned to the Summer Games after participating in the African-led boycott of the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada.
Football is the most popular sport in Iraq. Football games draw huge crowds to stadiums in Baghdad (Iraq´s capital), Arbil, Mosul and other cities. Other popular sports in Iraq include wrestling, volleyball, taekwondo, athletics and basketball.
Ahmed Raed defected from Iraq during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He was an Olympic weightlifter. Ahmed was given the honour of carrying his country´s flag in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
The Arab country did not compete in the Summer Olympic 15 times ( Athens-1896, Paris-1900, St.Louis-1904, London-1908, Stockholm-1912, Antwerp-1920, Paris-1924, Amsterdam-1928, Los Angeles-1932, Berlin-1936, London-1948, Helsinki-1952, Melbourne-1956, Munich-1972 and Montreal-1976).
One of the most famous sportsmen in Iraqi history is Taffar Al Saffar. He won the gold medal in the 400-metre hurdles at the 1974 Asian Games in Tehran, Iran. The gold medal for Iraq was the first ever won by that country in Asian competition.
The Iraqi team finished 20th at the FIVB Volleyball Men´s World Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina`s capital.
Younis Mahmoud is an Iraqi football icon. He is best known as the athlete who scored the winning goal for Iraq in the Asian Cup in 2007.
The Asian country qualified for the FIFA World Youth Cup finals for the first time in 1977. The Iraqi players were each awarded a Soviet-made Lada by president Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr.