FOR KING AND COUNTRY: Ja'afar Salmassi the teacher who won Iran's first Olympic medal


FOR KING AND COUNTRY: Ja'afar Salmassi the teacher who won Iran's first Olympic medal
by Darius Kadivar

In 1948, Iran sent its first Olympic team to London. The nation's young Shah, who had set the country on a course of modernisation, saw the '48 games as an opportunity to reintroduce Iran to the world. (Source:

Weightlifter Ja'afar Salmassi, a teacher by profession, won Iran's first Olympic medal - a bronze in the featherweight class.

On Sunday, Samassi's athletic heirs - the men's 56kg weightlifters - compete in London for 2012 Olympic gold.

Salmassi: The teacher who won Iran's first Olympic medal :

The BBC Persian Service's Khashayar Joneidi tells Salmassi's story.

NOTE : Go to @ 2min 21 BBC Persian subtly ignores that the national anthem in 1948 of Iran was Not « Ey Iran » (which is merely a patriotic anthem) but the Pahlavi Anthem. Not very professional gentlemen or are you folks  deliberately ignoring it ? (See Comments on National Anthem Further Below in « King & Country » section) ;0)


Shah of Iran at the UN Opening 1948:

Shah of Iran delivers speech at the United Nations in 1948







Shah of Iran at the London Summer Olympics 1948:

(Video Courtesy : OTAB Olympic Television Archive Bureau viafrauenatz)

London, acting as host City, stages the Games for the first time since 1908, , in presenting the opening scenes, will screen the highlights of the events as they continue. 
His Majesty the King opened the Games in a ceremony at Wembley Stadium.
On the second day one of the highlights was the winning of the 10,000 metres by Emil Zatopek.


London Olympics 1948:







Salamati-ye Shah was the first national anthem of Persia (Iran). It was used from the time of Mozzafar al-Din Shah Qajar until 1933, when it was replaced by Sorood-e Shahanshahi Iran, under the Pahlavi Dynasty. The music was composed by French military musician Lemaire.



Iran’s National Anthem was the Pahlavi Royal Anthem for 50 years from 1926-1979:


Iran’s National Anthem During the Qajar Era was:

Related pictory:

Iran in London WW II parade

Iran in London
WW II parade (2)

Related Blogs:

FOR KING & COUNTRY: Iran olympic Stadium '71, Munich Team '72, & Hosting Asian Games '74

VOA’s OFOGH: Abbas Milani & Majid
Tafreshi On Iran’s Demands For WW2 Reparations


more from Darius Kadivar

Thanks for the extra info

by anglophile on

Very informative blog Darius jaan - as always :)

Darius Kadivar

About the above photo in Salmassi's own words

by Darius Kadivar on

About the photo above in Salmasi's own words: -
از خاطرات خوب دیگری که از اعلیحضرت دارم، مربوط به اولین برخورد و دیدار ایشان بود.همانطور که قبلا هم اشاره کردم، در چهارم آبان سال 1323 که در رکوردگیری رسمی در میدان امجدیه، رکورد المپیک برلن را شکستم، اعلیحضرت مرا به جایگاه مخصوص احضار کردند. در آن موقع علیاحضرت فوزیه هم در جایگاه بودند و چون با زیر پیراهن بودم و هوا سرد بود دستور دادند که برای من گرم‌کن بیاورند و با مهر و محبت خاصی مرا مورد تفقد قرار دادند و راجع به وضع ورزش کشور از من سؤالاتی کردند.من آنچه را در ورزش آن روز ایران دیده و یا شنیده بودم، اعم از امتیازات و نقطه‌ضعف‌ها، به‌عرضشان رساندم. --

First Amendment


by First Amendment on

One wonders what became of the Shah in the top photo.......


On the Serious Side!

by Zorumbaa on

You also do have a serious side DK! I truly appreciate the openness and honesty and am not ignoring the civilized and authentic discourse that I in principal share most of the ideas and interests you have discussed. In my own way I have benefit from, hope others do too.

I will honor your decision to have a more, as you mentioned thoughtful analysis of the subject sometimes in future. I believe occasional exchange and sharing of thoughts and ideas without any chips on the shoulders, marketing of an agenda, or as GWB used to say “My Way or Highway” is essential. In my thinking internet in particular is littered with misinformation, bias, settling of old and new accounts, ME know-YOU don’t kind of stuff, if it can be cleaned up and disinfected, why not?!

 It is a sad story of people who are and must always be at the center,  after more than thirty years passing from their most horrific historical miscalculation still are undecided, unprepared as to what is their best option, even though as you implied history and historical records is on their side. Perhaps confusion, chaotic environment, anarchy, or even god has something to do with it?!! May be they should read De Gaulle quote mentioned in your post?!

We will talk with best regards,


Darius Kadivar

anglophile jan

by Darius Kadivar on

Agreed !



"A Country that Loses it's Poetic Vision is a Country that faces death"-Saul Bellow.  


Darius Kadivar

Zorumbaa Thank you for your feedbacks

by Darius Kadivar on

I have read your recent article with interest:


Nationalism and Cannibalization of our Culture


If I find the time I will respond or blog about some of the interesting points you raised about our general perception on Nationalism in a near future or later when I get the opportunity to put my views on this central question in a more thoughtful analyisis and through specific examples. 

That said although I agree with much of your assessments I also differ on some issues which I think are linked to a misunderstanding or confusion between on one hand what we deem as a legitimate democratic aspiration which each individual in society is entitled to and on the otherhand what is percieved as the Collective duty or loyal expectation from each individual as members of that larger entity (i.e: The Nation) it benefits from and which is known as: Patriotism. 

Based on the historical evolution of each nation and the cultural uniqueness of a given people the definition one can give to this concept we call "nationalism" or as I would prefer to call "patriotism" can and does differ.

I often like to quote France's De Gaulle ( a Monarchist at Heart and Republican by Reason) in this regard: 


"Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; where as nationalism, is when hate for people other than your own comes first."



But as much as I value the individual qualities of a given person it is the collective behavior of a nation which ultimately defines what we uphold as significant virtues and qualities of a given nationality or people if you will and the symbolism of which constitutes what is deemed as "patriotism" or "nationalism".

As such and given the social characteristics which are associated to this very notion we are naturally influenced in our views on what is patriotic and what is not. So I am sorry to say that contrary to what you say Nationalism or Patriotism IS Political (in the noble sense of the word as the Greeks saw it and not merely as a divisive issue) in that the way it is interpretated is ultimately deeply linked to how life is organized in a given society. This is true whether a nation is run by a Monarchy or a Republic or any other form of government.

The French and British don't have the same interpretation of patriotism for instance where as the Spaniards are something in between.  

If a country happens to be a monarchy as was the case when this eminent gentleman won his medal, it appears to me ( but it is also a shared perception in many other nations which happen to have a monarchical system) that there is no dichotomy between the Nation and the Crown whose living embodiement is the Monarch. 


As a matter of fact even Mr. Salmassi's son acknowledges the former Shah's Royal attributes despite the fact that his dynasty was toppled 3 decades ago by refering to him as 'Alahazrat'. So within the context of the time being Patriotic equated loyalty or at least respect for the man who has the honor of representing the Nation.


The Photo in the above blog say's it all ...


Kingship is not merely a frivolous privilege associated to a given individual it is first and foremost a duty and honor which conveyed to a given monarch who has the responsibility of the failures and success' associated to that function and who has to live up to the high expectations that function places on his or her shoulders. That is probably also why monarchs who are in the public eye 24 hrs / 24 may appear at times distant.


The remarks on Queen Elizabeth's each and every move during the opening ceremony say's it all. Why wasn't she smiling or why was she looking at her fingers ?


If she didn't represent more than just herself then such trivial observations wouldn't matter but they do which proves that she does matter for what she embodies beyond herself. As does the monarch in any given nation. Or a President during his term in office. 


But unlike Elected Presidents or Celebrities Monarchs represent more than just a person in the public eye, they represent history hence why their every move is scrutinized.

Now that Republicanism rightly or wrongly has since replaced the Monarchy in our country and has made us reconsider our views on what is "patriotism" or "nationalism" is an entirely different debate.


Maybe more on this later,


Eitherway thank you for your feedbacks.


Warm Regards, 




"A Country that Loses it's Poetic Vision is a Country that faces death"-Saul Bellow. 




International Conspiracy or the MAN himself?

by Zorumbaa on

DK, very nice to post this at this appropriate time. In 1956 Melbourne Olympics the very first GOLD medal, 2 of them, was earned by Emam-Ali Habibi and Takhty in wrestling. Iranian athletes earned a total of 14 medals, highest ever in any Olympics attended by Iran.

What does their dedication, commitment, desire to make their nation proud and show the world yes we/they can (a borrowed slogan!) have anything to do with Zionists, British (the Old Fox!) Colonialist, imperialist, Jewish cabals, Freemasons, The Under World, and Aliens from Cheese Plant,  referring to some of the comments at IC regarding Iranians and Olympics in genera?

Give any and all conceivable limitations of resources and other constraints they DID IT ON THEIR OWN, and no BBC or other mouth piece of this or that is going to change that. Please do not politicize the individual achievements, give them the credit and be proud.

Ps, side point, BTW! This is not what nationalism ought to mean!  


Fantastic find Darius Jaan

by anglophile on

Given its past, BBC Persian cannot hide its anti-Pahlavi stance - they have indelibly stained the Professional title they have undeservedly been allowed to use: BBC!