Saturday, July 9, 2016

The 1916 Olympics?

June 8, 1913, parade for the opening of the Deutsches Stadium in Berlin, the intended Olympic stadium for the 1916 Olympics

There's something about Olympic games that are supposed to occur in Germany, or that do.  They seem to be afflicted by hideous history. 

The Olympics are held, as we well know, every four years.  And we've recently run a post on an early Olympic game in the context of golf being part of the early games, but having later been omitted, and now returning.  People of a mathematical bent could easily deduce, of course, that there should be a 1916 set of games. Was there?  No. Why not?

Well, of course, World War one.

Those games were supposed to be in Berlin, but they obviously couldn't be held due to the Great War.  The Germans had built a stadium and everything for it, in Berlin, and they'd dedicated it in 1913 in anticipation of the games.

Well, they didn't come off.  No worries, they did get games eventually.

In 1936.

That set of games is infamous as the Nazi government of Germany tried to use it as a Nazi showcase. Well, I should not say "tried".  They did.  And while we remember the instances in which American athletes did well, the whole thing really was pretty much a Nazi hootenanny.  Not good.

Some of thought everyone should have refused to attend, but that wouldn't have really been realistic in context, and the boycott of the Moscow games in 1980 didn't exactly achieve much.  

After World War Two, the West Germans, in part hoping to point out how much they'd reformed, asked for and received the 1972 Olympics. Those where held in Munich.  And, as those who are old enough to remember will recall, those Olympics were marred by the Black September terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes which resulted in seventeen deaths, if we count the five Palestinian terrorist who died in the event.  One German policeman also died.  The rest were Israeli athletes or coaches.  

Anyhow, there were no Olympics in 1916.  The horror of the Great War prevented them from occurring.

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