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Olympic Games

XI (11th) OLYMPIAD
BERLIN, GERMANY | August 1st - 16th, 1936


Berlin, GER


Berlin 1936

BERLIN, GERMANY
GAMES OF THE XIth OLYMPIAD

August 1-16, 1936

Mascot - none

49 countries, 4069 athletes (328 women)

19 sports (basketball, handball, canoe/kayak, football, polo added)
129 events

Opening - Chancellor Adolf Hitler (GER)

Torch lit by - Fritz Schilgen

Candidates: Barcelona, Alexandria, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cologne, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Lausanne, Nuremberg, Rio de Janeiro, Rome

Jesse Owens rises above the Nazi propaganda

Berlin was awarded the 1936 Olympics in 1931, two years before the Nazi party came to power. Adolf Hitler immediately seized on the games as an opportunity to showcase the efficiency and might of his regime. There were doubts in many quarters about the wisdom of attending the Berlin Olympics. An alternative, to be called the "People's Olympics," was actually scheduled for Barcelona, but that plan was destroyed by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

In the United States, a move to boycott the Olympics was led by Judge Jeremiah T. Murphy, president of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Murphy and his supporters were concerned chiefly about Nazi anti-Semitism, since Jewish sports clubs throughout Germany had been shut down. However, in 1935 the AAU voted by a narrow margin to sanction participation and Murphy resigned. He was replaced by Avery Brundage, who went to Germany on an inspection tour and reported that everything looked just fine. Despite the preliminary doubts and the growing international tensions that were to culminate in World War II, the leaders of the Third Reich were at pains to make these Games a resounding success and welcomed more athletes (4069) from more countries (49) than any previous Olympics to compete in events from August 1 - 16.

On the positive side, the Berlin Games were noted mainly for technological achievements. Events were televised on a closed-circuit system throughout the Olympic village and to public halls and theaters throughout the country. Zeppelins carried newsreel film to other European cities, while results were transmitted to news media by telex as soon as events were completed.

But many athletes and members of the press were alarmed by the nationalistic and militaristic atmosphere in Berlin. The ever-present swastika and icon-like portraits of Hitler and the martial music that blared endlessly through loudspeakers were deeply disturbing to many. Nor did it help that many journalists, suspected of anti-Nazi sentiments, discovered that their rooms had been searched by the secret police.

Following Pierre de Coubertin's message at his final Games - he would die one year later in 1937 - the grandiose opening ceremony began with the arrival of the Olympic flame, lit for the first time at Olympia and brought to Berlin by more than 3000 relay runners. The official boxes were full whilst Adolf Hitler appeared - 120,000 arms were raised towards the Fuehrer in the Nazi salute.

Hitler was sure that everything was in place for his propaganda machine to operate smoothly. But nothing could have prepared him for the one obstacle to his white-supremacist policies - the colored American, Jesse Owens, winner of four gold medals. In Nazi Germany's pro-Aryan setting, Owens first took the 100m title (10.3), then beat the German Lutz Long with a long jump of 8.06m. Incidentally, both men became friends during their contest, a fact Hitler inherently found hard to accept. Owens would go on to win another two gold medals - in the 200m with a world record time of 20.7 secs and in the 4x100m relay, another new world record. All this in the Berlin stadium built to extol the virtues of Nazi propaganda left Hitler and his deputies speechless. 

Black athletes were certainly denigrated, though, by the semi-official newspaper, Der Angriff (The Attack), which referred to them as America's "black auxiliaries" and did not include them in its daily scoring chart. The publisher of the paper was Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.

Owens' feats relegated every other achievement at the Games, a huge success (3 million viewers) which coincided with the birth of television, albeit restricted to 160,000 viewers in the Berlin area. In order to record the occasion for posterity, the Reich commissioned Leni Riefenstahl to film an official documentary. Named, "Gods of the stadium", to this day it offers an historic insight into the 1936 Berlin Games.

Besides Owens, the top individual athletes in 1936 were two German gymnasts, Konrad Frey and Alfred Schwarzmann; Dutch swimmer Hendrika "Rie" Mastenbroek; French cyclists Robert Charpentier and Guy Lapebie; and U. S. sprinter Helen Stephens.

Frey was the top medallist with three golds, one silver, and two bronze, while Schwarzmann collected three gold and two bronze medals. Mastenbroek won three golds and a silver. Charpentier won three gold medals, Lapebie two golds and a silver. Stephens won the women's 100-meter dash and also anchored the 400-meter relay team to victory.

In part because of a greatly expanded men's gymnastics program, Germany led all countries with 89 medals, including 33 gold, to 56 total and 24 gold for the United States.

To no one's surprise, one of the American gold medals came in basketball, which was added to the Olympic program in 1936. The games were played outdoors, often in rain, but that couldn't prevent the U. S. team from rolling through its opposition. The biggest threat to American victory actually came just after the games started, when the International Basketball Federation decided to ban any players 6-foot-3 or taller. The ban, which would have applied to only three players, all Americans, was quickly rescinded.

The Japanese dominated men's swimming, winning four of the six events, while Holland won four of the five women's events. Jack Medica and Adolph Kiefer were the only American gold medallists in swimming, although Medica added two silvers to finish among the top total medallists. Four different U. S. athletes won the diving events. Marjorie Gestring, the women's springboard champion, was only 13 years and 9 months. She is still the youngest gold medallist in Olympic history.

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BERLIN 1936 GOLD MEDAL WINNERS
105 Men, 15 Women, 9 Open Events
16 new events; 5 new sports - Basketball, Canoe/Kayak, Football, Handball, Polo
3 Gymnastics events removed; Women's Gymnastics introduced

ATHLETICS, Men
100m: Jesse Owens, USA
200m: Jesse Owens, USA
400m: Archie Williams, USA
800m: John Woodruff, USA
1500m: Jack Lovelock, New Zealand
5000m: Gunnar Hockert, Finland
10000m: Ilmari Salminen, Finland
4x100m: United States
4x400m: Great Britain
110m Hurdles: Forrest Towns, USA
400m Hurdles: Glenn Hardin, USA
50km Walk: Harold Whitlock, Great Britain
3000m Steeplechase: Volmari Iso-Hollo, Finland
Marathon: Kitei Son, Japan
Discus Throw: Ken Carpenter, USA
Hammer Throw: Karl Hein, Germany
High Jump: Cornelius Johnson, USA
Javelin Throw: Gerhard Stock, Germany
Long Jump: Jesse Owens, USA
Pole Vault: Earle Meadows, USA
Shot Put: Germany
Triple Jump: Naoto Tajima, Japan
Decathlon: Glenn Morris, USA

ATHLETICS, Women
100m: Helen Stephens, USA
4x100m: United States
80m Hurdles: Trebisonda Valla, Italy
Discus Throw: Gisela Mauermayer, Germany
High Jump: Ibolya Csak, Hungary
Javelin Throw: Tilly Fleischer, Germany

BASKETBALL (NEW)
Team, men: United States

BOXING
50.8kg: Willie Kaiser, Germany
53.5kg: Ulderico Sergo, Italy
57.2kg: Oscar Casanovas, Argentina
61.2kg: Imre Harangi, Hungary
66.7kg: Sten Suvio, Finland
72.6kg: Jean Despeaux, France
79.4kg: Roger Michelot, France
79.4+kg: Herbert Runge, Germany

CANOE/KAYAK, Men (NEW)
C1 1000m: Francis Amyot, Canada
C2 1000m: Jan-Felix Brzak/Vladimir Syrovatka, TCH
C2 10000m: Vaclav Mottl/Zdenek Skrland, TCH
K1 1000m: Gregor Hradetzky, Austria
K1 10000m: Ernst Grebs, Germany
K2 1000m: Adolf Kainz/Alfons Dorfner, Austria
K2 10000m: Ludwig Landen/Paul Wevers, Germany
Folding K1 10000m: Gregor Hradetzky, Austria
Folding K2 10000m: Eric Bladstrom/Gunnar Johansson, SWE

CYCLING, Men
Road Race: Robert Charpentier, France
Team Road Race: France
1km Time Trial: Arie van Vliet, Netherlands
2000m Tandem Sprint: Charly Lorenz/Ernst Ihbe, Germany
Sprint: Toni Merkens, Germany
Team Pursuit: France

EQUESTRIAN, Open
Individual Dressage: Heinz Pollay, Germany
Individual Jumping: Kurt Hasse, Germany
Individual 3-Day Event: Ludwig Stubbendorff, Germany
Team Dressage: Germany
Team Jumping: Germany
Team 3-Day Event: Germany

FENCING
M\Individual Epee: Franco Riccardi, Italy
M\Individual Foil: Giulio Gaudini, Italy
M\Individual Sabre: Endre Kabos, Hungary
M\Team Epee: Italy
M\Team Foil: Italy
M\Team Sabre: Hungary
W\Individual Foil: Ilona Elek, Hungary

FOOTBALL (NEW)
Team, men: Italy

GYMNASTICS
M\Floor Exercise: Georges Miez, Switzerland
M\Horizontal Bar: Aleksanteri Saarvala, Finland
M\Parallel Bars: Konrad Frey, Germany
M\Pommel Horse: Konrad Frey, Germany
M\Rings: Alois Hudec, Czechoslovakia
M\Vault: Alfred Schwarzmann, Germany
M\Individual All-Around: Alfred Schwarzmann, Germany
M\Team: Germany
W\Team: Germany

HANDBALL (NEW)
Team, men: Germany

HOCKEY
Team, men: India

MODERN PENTATHLON
Individual: Gotthardt Handrick, Germany

POLO (NEW)
Team, men: Argentina

ROWING, Men
Single Sculls: Gustav Schafer, Germany
Double Sculls: Jack Beresford Jr./Leslie Southwood, GBR
Coxless Pair: Hugo Strauss/Willi Eichhorn, Germany
Coxed Pair: Germany
Coxless Four: Germany
Coxed Four: Germany
Eight: United States

SAILING
X\6m Class: Great Britain
X\8m Class: Italy
X\Star: Germany
M\Finn: Daniel Kagchelland, Netherlands

SHOOTING, Men
25m Rapid Fire Pistol: Cornelius van Oyen, Germany
50m Free Pistol: Torsten Ullman, Sweden
50m Small-Bore Rifle prone: Willy Rogeberg, Norway

SWIMMING, Men
100 Freestyle: Ferenc Csik, Hungary
400m Freestyle: Jack Medica, USA
1500m Freestyle: Noboru Terada, Japan
100m Backstroke: Adolf Kiefer, USA
200m Breaststroke: Tetsuo Hamuro, Japan
4x200m Freestyle Relay: Japan
3m Springboard: Richard Degener, USA
10m Platform: Marshall Wayne, USA
WATER POLO: Hungary

SWIMMING, Women
100m Freestyle: Rie Mastenbroek, Netherlands
400m Freestyle: Rie Mastenbroek, Netherlands
100m Backstroke: Nida Senff, Netherlands
200m Breaststroke: Hideko Maehata, Japan
4x100m Freestyle Relay: Netherlands
3m Springboard: Marjorie Gestring, USA
10m Platform: Dorothy Poynton, USA

WEIGHTLIFTING
60kg: Anthony Terlazzo, USA
67.5kg: Mohammed Mesbah, EGY & Robert Fein, AUT
75kg: Khadr Sayed El Thouni, Egypt
82.5kg: Louis Hostin, France
82.5+kg: Josef Manger, Germany

WRESTLING FREESTYLE
56kg: Odon Zombori, Hungary
61kg: Kustaa Pihlajamaki, Finland
66kg: Karoly Karpati, Hungary
72kg: Frank Wyatt Lewis, USA
79kg: Emile Poilve, France
87kg: Knut Fridell, Sweden
87+kg: Kristjan Palusalu, Estonia

WRESTLING, GRECO-ROMAN
56kg: Marton Lorincz, Hungary
61kg: Yasar Erkan, Turkey
66kg: Lauri Koskela, Finland
72kg: Rudolf Svedberg, Sweden
79kg: Ivar Johansson, Sweden
87kg: Axel Cadier, Sweden
87+kg: Kristjan Palusalu, Estonia

19 Sports, 129 events

G
E
R

U
S
A

H
U
N

I
T
A

F
I
N

F
R
A

S
W
E

J
P
N

N
E
D

G
B
R

A
U
T

T
C
H

 

Athletics (NZL)

5

14

1

1

3

   

2

 

2

   

29

Basketball

 

1

                   

1

Boxing (ARG)

2

 

1

1

1

2

           

8

Canoe/Kayak (CAN)

2

         

1

     

3

2

9

Cycling

2

       

3

   

1

     

6

Equestrian

6

                     

6

Fencing

   

3

4

               

7

Football

     

1

               

1

Gymnastics (SUI)

6

     

1

           

1

9

Handball

1

                     

1

Hockey (IND)

                       

1

Modern Pentathlon

1

                     

1

Polo (ARG)

                       

1

Rowing

5

1

             

1

   

7

Sailing

1

   

1

       

1

1

   

4

Shooting (NOR)

1

         

1

         

3

Swimming (Diving & W/Polo)

 

6

2

       

4

4

     

16

Weightlifting (EGY x2)

1

1

     

1

       

1

 

6*

Wrestling (EST x2, TUR)

 

1

3

 

2

1

4

         

14

TOTAL

33

24

10

8

7

7

6

6

6

4

4

3

130

* 2 gold medals awarded in Weightlifting Under 67.5kg category

BERLIN 1936 MEDAL TALLY

Country

G

S

B

TTL

Germany

33

26

30

89

United States

24

20

12

56

Hungary

10

1

5

16

Italy

8

9

5

22

Finland

7

6

6

19

France

7

6

6

19

Sweden

6

5

9

20

Japan

6

4

8

18

Netherlands

6

4

7

17

Great Britain

4

7

3

14

Austria

4

6

3

13

Czechoslovakia

3

5

0

8

Argentina

2

2

3

7

Estonia

2

2

3

7

Egypt

2

1

2

5

Switzerland

1

9

5

15

Canada

1

3

5

9

Norway

1

3

2

6

Turkey

1

0

1

2

India

1

0

0

1

New Zealand

1

0

0

1

Poland

0

3

3

6

Denmark

0

2

3

5

Latvia

0

1

1

2

Romania

0

1

0

1

South Africa

0

1

0

1

Yugoslavia

0

1

0

1

Mexico

0

0

3

3

Belgium

0

0

2

2

Australia

0

0

1

1

Philippines

0

0

1

1

Portugal

0

0

1

1

Total

130

128

130

388

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