Friday, January 13, 2006

1936 Olympics - Germany

Our Monday Night Chat Room Movie* will be Charlie Chan at the Olympics.
I did some research in the actual 1936 Olympics as background to help appreciate what was at stake during the period covered in the movie.
In Berlin, dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers felt sure that the Olympics would be the ideal venue to demonstrate Germany's oft-stated racial superiority. He directed that $25 million be spent on the finest facilities, the cleanest streets and the temporary withdrawal of all outward signs of the state-run anti-Jewish campaign. By the time over 4,000 athletes from 49 countries arrived for the games, the stage was set.
[Jesse Owens]
Then Owens, a black sharecroppers's son from Alabama, stole the show - winning his three individual events and adding a fourth gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay. The fact that four other American blacks also won did little to please Herr Hitler, but the applause from the German crowds, especially for Owens, was thunderous. As it was for New Zealander Jack Lovelock's thrilling win over Glenn Cunningham and defending Champ Luigi Beccall in the 1,500 meters.
German won only five combined gold medals in men's and women's track and field, but saved face for the "master race" in the overall medal count with an 89 - 56 margin over the United States. . . .
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*We'll be at www.charliechan.info from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Eastern Time) and we start our tapes/DVD's at 8:30.

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