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Berlin 1936 - Quick hits


At the end of the women's 4x100-meter relay, the coach of the Dutch swim 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 out, as she began to slip under the surface.


During the qualification heats in the long jump, American Jesse Owens, who had missed all his previous attempts, was offered some advice by 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 led the procession that opened the Games, marching to the rhythm of the "Tannhauser" opera. The German hymn was followed by "Horst-Wessel-Lied," the war song of the National Socialist party, which would be played 480 times during the Games.

Television premiere

The Games were televised live for the first time, reaching the homes of 160,000 Berlin residents.


A short time before the Games, Adolf Hitler's government announced a series of laws further demonstrating its xenophobia and anti-Semitism.


The Gestapo were ever-present 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 to promote the new image of Germany to its guests.


The president of the International Olympic Committee reprimanded Hitler for his breach of Olympic protocol when he failed to resist from congratulating German shot putter Hans Woellke, who became 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 create an indelible memory of the grandeur of the Games, a famous filmmaker 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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