This morning (7/27/11) on NPR, Frank Deford made the following statements about the Olympics, which really startled me, and I am sure that there are millions of folks out there who are not aware of these facts.
And I quote from Frank's Wednesday morning editorial:
Rather, the '36 Olympics were celebrated worldwide as a German triumph. Hitler, who had no interest in sport, originally had to be convinced not to give them up. But then the Nazis dolled up Berlin, tucking away much of the visible signs of hate, and made far more of a glorious spectacle of the Games than had ever been seen before. The torch relay, for best example, was no ancient Greek rite; the Nazis dreamed that up out of whole cloth.
The German team won the most medals. Visitors were charmed by Berlin and the Nazi achievements. The general consensus was, 'Well, those fellows can't be all that bad.'
And the closing ceremony –– the last memory sports fans took away –– was the culmination of the ripest Nazi symbolism, like some great pagan festival: flags and sabres; Beethoven; searchlights playing across the heavens; 52 tall blondes dressed all in white, representing the Olympic nations, marching like vestal virgins.
And then, at last, the '36 Olympics closed, the stadium silent until, spontaneously, the 120,000 people began to chant, "Sieg heil, sieg heil," their right arms outstretched.
It was, from all accounts, mesmerizing. The '36 Olympics had done their job. After that, it was the deluge.
And after that, too, the Games would never be the same. Like it or not, it was the Nazis, 75 years ago this summer, who bequeathed the glitzy modern Olympics to the world.
I only bring this up, as London is now in the count-down process towards the 2012 summer games, many of the venues are now being opened for the public to view, and once again there will be the competition to see if London can outdo the Beiing games..........