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Olympic games (4)
Modern Olympic Games
The 1936 Berlin Olympics was the subject-problem of many discussions
among several national Olympic Committees as to whether they should or should
not accept Hitler's National Socialistic Government's invitation, a government
that did not hide its racistic beliefs.
Berlin is the place where at first we see the Olympic flame
inaugurated, the torch brought to Germany by a series of successive runners
from Ancient Olympia - 3000 runners, through seven countries, in ten days.
All the loud theatrics that could be thought of were used by Hitler's
PR team. The team also arranged for Spiros Louis, the Greek marathon gold winner
to be there. Louis approached Hitler's box and gave the dictator a branch of
wild olive-tree, brought from Olympia. Thousands of doves were released to the
sky the instant Adolph's hand held the olive branch, while the famous Richard
Strauss conducted the Great Berlin Philharmonic in a triumphal percussion march
and while, at the same time, the gigantic Hindemburg airship shadowed, with
her huge bulk, the sky above the stadium. And that was the cue for the German
Olympic Team to enter the stadium running in front of the 3rd Reich dignitaries
with their hands in Nazi salute.
Other teams followed and most of them gave the Nazi salute. Americans
and Britishers, stood and politely... bowed. A gesture that caused a lot of
booeing from the crowd.
The Berlin Olympiad remained known as the Jesse Owens Games. And
not unjustly. Owens's performance, the previous years, prognosed a sure winner
for, at least, two golds in Berlin. German propaganda rejected this on the grounds
that Owens was black and, therefore, inferior to the Arian Race athletes, a
theory that was repeatedly appearing in Hitler's Mein Kampf, a book that was
part of every German household.
The first German disappointment came the first day of the 100m
and 200m races. First winner: Jesse Owens. Second disappointment was the next
day with Owens winning first victory again in the long jump. All this became
an anger when Owens led the American 4x100m. relay to a dashing victory. Hitler
had, according to rules, to shake hands with a negro. On the pretext of sudden
rain, he left the stadium and never returned to watch the rest of the Games...
Text by Dimitri N. Marcopoulos
1936 Berlin Olympics: Various WebPages
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