I’m reading an excellent book – The Boys In The Boat – about the freshman class of the University of Washington who went on the win the Gold in rowing at the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics. The author really does a good job at giving us the background of the Great Depression, what people had to do to survive (one of the rowers was actually abandoned by his family at age 15), the background of crew and the Englishman who, out of economic necessity left his family’s home near Eton to eventually go to Washington (and really put crew on the map in the United States)
We go from Lake Washington and their competition with arch rival Cal (UC Berkeley) to The Goebbels in Berlin and the Nazi’s preparation for the 1936 Olympics. Apparently the IOC awarded Berlin with the 1936 Olympics before the Nazis came to power.
Hitler wanted to make this Olympics a showpiece extolling the Nazis – everything from the size of the stadium to the bringing of the flame from Greece to the lighting ceremony was all started by the Nazis.
Today when we see the huge extravaganzas various countries have to hold in the games, it all goes back to Hitler and the 1936 games.