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Berlin 1936 - Quick hits


At the end of the women's 4x100m relay swimming race, the coach of the Dutch team was so overjoyed at having won that she jumped into the water to congratulate her swimmers: the only problem was that she had to be helped as she began to slip under the surface.


During the qualification heats in the long jump, Jesse Owens who had missed all his previous attempts was offered some advice from German rival Lutz Long. Owens went on to defeat Long in a tense encounter and the two men developed a strong friendship following the Games.


The Hitler Youth opened the procession of the opening of the Games, marching to the rhythm of the Tannhauser. The German hymn was soon followed by Horst Wessel Lied, the war song of the National Socialist party which would be played 480 times during the Games.

Television premiere

These Games were televised live for the first time and were beamed into the homes of 160,000 Berlin residents.


A short time before the Games, Hitler's government publicly announced a series of laws demonstrating its xenophobia and anti-semitism right up to the first day of the Games.


The Gestapo were everpresent in Berlin and the Olympic village. A pamphlet was distributed explaining that the heavy deployment of troops was necessary to provide security for the Berlin Games and also promote the new image of Germany to its foreign guests.


The president of the IOC reprimanded Hitler for his obvious breaching of Olympic protocol when the Fuhrer failed to resist from congratulating the German shot putter Hans Woellke, the Olympic champion. Before his event Woellke was simply a soldier, but following his win the German colossus was promoted to lieutenant.


In order to leave an indelible memory of the grandeur of the propaganda machine present at the Games, a famous film-maker was commissioned to produce a film of the whole spectacle. The resultant documentary was called "Gods of the Stadium".

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.


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