1936 Summer Olympics

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Games of the XI Olympiad
Games of the XI Olympiad

Host city Berlin, Germany
Nations participating 49
Athletes participating 3,963
(3,632 men, 331 women)
Events 129 in 19 sports
Opening ceremony August 1
Closing ceremony August 16
Officially opened by Adolf Hitler
Athlete's Oath Rudolf Ismayr
Olympic Torch Fritz Schilgen
Stadium Olympic Stadium

The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, were held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin's bid was preferred over Barcelona by the IOC in April, 1931. Although awarded before the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, the government saw the Olympics as a golden opportunity to promote their Nazi ideology. Film-maker Leni Riefenstahl, a favorite of Hitler, was commissioned by the International Olympic Committee to film the Games. The film, titled Olympia, originated many of the techniques now commonplace to the filming of sports. The Berlin Olympics also saw the introduction to the ceremonies of the Olympic Torch bringing the Olympic Flame by relay from Olympia. Germany's domination of the games was the rule, although there were exceptions to their domination in the likes of persons such as Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals.

Total ticket revenues were 7.5 million Reichsmarks, with a nominal profit of over 1 million marks. The official budget did not include outlays by either the city of Berlin (which issued an itemized report detailing its costs of 16.5 million marks) or the German national government (which did not make its costs public, but is estimated to have spent US$30 million in mostly capital outlays).[1]

Anti-fascists planned to host a "People's Olympiad" in Barcelona at the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc (now Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys) as an alternative games to protest the Berlin Olympics but this was cancelled due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. In 1992 Barcelona hosted the games in the same Olympic Stadium.


[edit] Highlights

Olympic firephoto Josef Jindřich Šechtl
Olympic fire
photo Josef Jindřich Šechtl
Olympic Stadium photo Josef Jindřich Šechtl
Olympic Stadium
photo Josef Jindřich Šechtl
  • An often repeated lie-turned-myth by the media regarding Hitler and Jesse Owens was that Hitler "snubbed" Owens and his achievements. Owens has said, "When I passed Hitler he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany." [1]
  • Before the Games, the IOC expelled American Ernest Lee Jahnke, the son of a German immigrant, for encouraging athletes to boycott the games. He was replaced by United States Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage, who supported the Games.[citation needed]
  • In the cycling match sprint finals, the German Toni Merkens fouled Arie van Vliet of the Netherlands. Instead of disqualification he was fined 100 marks and kept his gold.
  • The African-American Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events. His German competitor Lutz Long had offered Owens advice after he almost failed qualifying in the long jump and was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship.
  • Rie Mastenbroek of the Netherlands won three gold medals and a silver in swimming.
  • Rower Jack Beresford won his fifth Olympic medal in the sport, and his third gold medal.
  • The U.S. eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington won the gold medal by coming from behind to defeat the Germans and Italians with Adolf Hitler in attendance.
  • The Olympic Flame was used for the second time at these games, but they marked the first time it was brought to the Olympic Town by a torch relay, with the starting point in Olympia, Greece.
  • The games were the first to have live television coverage. The German Post Office, using equipment from Telefunken and Fernseh, broadcast over seventy hours of coverage to special viewing rooms throughout Berlin and Potsdam. The broadcasts were used as a plot element in Contact, a science fiction novel by Carl Sagan, later adapted as a movie.
  • Basketball and handball made their debut at the Olympics, both as outdoor sports. Handball would not appear again on the program until 1972.
  • German gymnasts Konrad Frey and Alfred Schwarzmann both won three gold medals.
  • In the marathon two Korean athletes won medals — Sohn Kee-chung (gold) and Nam Sung-yong (bronze) — running for Japan and under Japanese names. Japan had annexed Korea in 1910.
  • In the quarter-finals of the football tournament, Peru beat Austria 4-2 in extra-time, but a rematch was ordered, arguing that the field was too small for competition and that the Peruvian fans had stormed the field after the fourth goal. The Peruvian government ordered the Olympic team to withdraw in protest, seeing this as an insult, while Austria went on to receive the silver medal.
  • The Republic of China's Three Principles of the People was chosen the best national anthem of the games.
  • The host country had a stellar year in the equestrian events, winning individual and team gold in all three disciplines, as well as individual silver in dressage.
  • Basketball was added to the Olympic program. In the final, the United States beat Canada 19-8. The contest was played outdoors on a dirt court in driving rain. Due to the quagmire, the teams could not dribble and the score was held to a minimum. High scorer in the game was Joe Fortenbury for the U.S. with 7 points. There were no seats for spectators and the nearly 1000 in attendance had to stand in the rain.
  • German communist Werner Seelenbinder had planned to win the wrestling event and make a vulgar gesture at Hitler, but instead came in fourth.
  • Despite not coming from fascist countries, French, Canadian and British Olympians gave what appeared to be the Hitler salute, although some have later claimed that they were just performing the Olympic salute.[citation needed]
  • Estonia's Kristjan Palusalu wins two gold medals in Men's Wrestling, marking the last time Estonia competes as an independent nation in the Olympics until 1992.
  • Italy's football team continued their dominance of the sport, winning the gold medal in these Olympics between their two consecutive World Cup victories (1934 and 1938). Much like with the successes of German athletes, this triumph was claimed by supporters of Benito Mussolini's regime as a vindication of the superiority of the fascist system.

[edit] Events

A poster promoting the 1936 Summer Olympics
A poster promoting the 1936 Summer Olympics

[edit] Demonstration sports

[edit] Participating nations

Nations participating for the first time shown in blue.
Nations participating for the first time shown in blue.

A total of 49 nations attended the Berlin Olympics, up from 37 in 1932. Six nations made their first official Olympic appearance at these Games: Afghanistan, Bermuda, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, and Peru.

[edit] Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games.

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Germany Germany (host nation) 33 26 30 89
2 United States United States 24 20 12 56
3 Hungary Hungary 10 1 5 16
4 Italy Italy 8 9 5 22
5 Finland Finland 7 6 6 19
France France 7 6 6 19
7 Sweden Sweden 6 5 9 20
8 Japan Japan 6 4 8 18
9 Netherlands Netherlands 6 4 7 17
10 Great Britain Great Britain 4 7 3 14

[edit] Quotes

"The sportive, knightly battle awakens the best human characteristics. It doesn't separate, but unites the combatants in understanding and respect. It also helps to connect the countries in the spirit of peace. That's why the Olympic Flame should never die."
(Adolf Hitler, commenting on the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games)

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. ^ Zarnowski, C. Frank (Summer 1992). "A Look at Olympic Costs". Citius, Altius, Fortius 1 (1): 16-32. Retrieved on 2007-03-24. 
  • Berlin Games – How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream, by Guy Walters ISBN 0-7195-6783-1 (UK) 0060874120 (USA)
  • All That Glitters is Not Gold, by William O. Johnson, Jr. ISBN 0-399-11008-9 (USA)
  • Hitler's Olympics: The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, by Christopher Hilton
  • The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 United States Holocaust Museum, by Susan D. Bachrach
  • The Nazi Olympics (Sport and Society), by Richard D. Mandell
  • Olympische Spiele Berlin / Olympic Games 1936: Erinnergunsalbum / Album-Souvenir unter dem Patronat des schweizerischen Olympischen Komitees, by Julius, ed., publ. Wagner
  • The Nazi Olympics: Sport, Politics, and Appeasement in the 1930s by Arnd Kruger and W. J. Murray
  • The Berlin Olympics (World Focus Books), by James P. Barry

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