and multiple votes, all the countries involved in the initial boycott decided that they would participate in the Summer Games. Even with Hitler’s political agenda was crystal clear from the very beginning. During the two weeks when the sporting events occurred, “pamphlets and speeches about the natural superiority of the Aryan race were commonplace. The Reich Sports Field, which included four stadiums, was draped in Nazi banners and symbols.” (Encyclopedia Britannica Online) Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party’s propaganda was in full swing throughout the duration of the games. The Nazi’s message was only maximized by the amount of media coverage that was present. This was the first OlympicGames that were televised, ensuring that Hitler’s message and political ideals were broadcasted to the world.The 1936 Olympics continued to be a political platform in a much different way asJesse Owens stole the show. During these games Owens, “set a world record of 10.3 seconds 100 meters and an Olympic record of 20.7 seconds for 200 meters, he went on to jump an astonishing 8.06 meters to help set still another world record in the 400-meter relay.” (Tomlinson and Young, 71) Not only Owen’s but other African-American athletes from around the globe helped undermine the notions of Aryan superiority. Another case of athletes being able to fight back against the racism of the Nazi’s through sport was Jewish athletes competing and winning events against German participants. Ibolya Czak, a Hungarian Jew, won the women’s high jump event, an event that the German’s could have won if they did not bar German Jew, Gretel Bergmann from participating. Although the Berlin Olympics were used as a way for the Nazi’s to display 3
their Aryan Superiority to the world, athletes from all over the world were able to combat this through athleticism. “Institutionalized sports are always political, explicitly or implicitly, and every Olympic country instrumentalizes the Games in order to create a positive impression. The main difference –in 1936—was that the gap between the positive impression and the tyrannical reality was a chasm.” (Tomlinson and Young, 73)The 1968 Summer OlympicsOne of the most famous pictures from any Olympic Games comes from the 1968 Mexico City games where two U.S. Black athletes raised their fists in the air in a medal ceremony. This example of political dissent and protest was shocked many viewers. This occurred:“During the ceremony for the two-hundred-meter sprint race, two African American track and field athletes, Tommie Smith, the gold medalist, and John Carlos, the bronze medalist, raised gloved, clenched fists and bowed their heads during the playing of the national anthem in attempt to call dramatic attention to pervasive racism in the United States.” (Sage, 213)Although silver medalist, Austrailian Peter Norman, did not raise his fist and bow his head, all three winners wore the Olympic Project for Human Right’s badge on their jackets during the ceremony.
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