Learning Intention: Understand barriers to empowerment through past Olympic examples.
The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games had been handed to Berlin before the Nazis came to power but now it was the perfect opportunity for Hitler to demonstrate to the world, how efficient the Nazi Germany was. It was also the perfect opportunity for the Nazis to prove to the world the reality of the Master Race. The Berlin Olympic Games gave the Nazis an opportunity to show off to the world as 49 countries were competing bringing with them their assorted media. For Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels it was the perfect scenario.
The Nazi Germany team had been allowed to train fulltime thus pushing to the limit the idea of amateur competition. Germany's athletic superstar of the time was Lutz Lang - a brilliant long jumper who easily fitted into the image of blond hair, blue eyed Aryan racial superiority. By far the most famous athlete in the world was Jesse Owens of America - an African American and therefore, under Nazi ideology, inferior to the athletes in the German team.
The vast Olympic stadium was completed on time and held 100,000 spectators. 150 other new Olympic buildings were completed on time for the event. The anti-Semitic posters that had littered Germany before the games had disappeared. Signs that stated "Jews not welcome here" were not longer visible - anything was done to ensure that the Games went smoothly and caused no upset.
In fact, the upset was caused in the stadium itself. The 'racially inferior' Owens won four gold medals; in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4 x 100m relay. During the Games he broke 11 Olympic records and defeated Lutz Lang in a very close long jump final. Lang was the first to congratulate Owens when the long jump final was over. There were 10 African American members of the American athletics team. Between them they won 7 gold medals, 3 silvers and 3 bronze - more than any national team won in track and field at the Games, except America itself. Hitler refused to place the gold medal around Owen's neck.