Road To The Olympic Games

Olympics

IOC apologizes, deletes tweet about 1936 Berlin Olympics

The International Olympic Committee used its official Twitter account to post a film about the first-ever torch relay entering the Berlin stadium.

Critics decry perceived celebration of Nazi-hosted Games

The last Olympic runner reaches Lustgarten in Berlin on Aug. 1, 1936 for the opening of the Games hosted by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. (Getty Images)

The IOC apologized on Friday and deleted a Twitter message which some saw as celebrating Nazi Germany's hosting of the 1936 Olympics.

Joining a message thread on Thursday one year before the Olympic cauldron is lit at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games, the International Olympic Committee used its official account to tweet a film about the first-ever torch relay entering the Berlin stadium.

"We apologize to those who feel offended by the film of the Olympic Games Berlin 1936," the IOC wrote on Friday.

"We have deleted this film, which was part of the series of films featuring the message of unity and solidarity, from the @Olympics Twitter account."

Replies to the IOC's original message on Thursday expressed surprise by Twitter users at broadcasting footage from the Berlin Games, and suggested the Olympic body lacked awareness of history.

The official museum at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp added its reply to the IOC in the message thread on Friday.

"For 2 weeks the Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character," said the Auschwitz museum's verified account. "It exploited the Games to impress foreign spectators with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany."

WATCH | CBC Sports' Andi Petrillo hosts panel to discuss uncertain Tokyo Games:

CBC Sports' Andi Petrillo hosts a panel with guests Aaron Brown, Mandy Bujold, Catharine Pendrel, Sean McColl and Ben Titley to discuss life in quarantine, the new lead up to the Olympics, and Rule 50. 24:41

The IOC's message also included footage of Jesse Owens, the Black American who won four athletics gold medals in Berlin.

Owens "taught a resounding lesson to the Nazi regime, shattering its despicable fascist claims of racial superiority," the IOC wrote on Friday.

"We understand that the film about the Olympic Games Berlin 1936 which includes this story was not perceived in this way."

The apology follows a comment last week by the IOC's German president, Thomas Bach, that there was "no reason to rewrite history at this moment" about one of his predecessors, Avery Brundage.

Brundage, the IOC president for 20 years until 1972, has long been criticized for racist views and being a Nazi sympathizer at the Berlin Olympics where he led the United States team.

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, which houses an extensive collection donated by Brundage, last month removed his bust from display. The museum director described Brundage as "a hateful person."

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Sponsored Content

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now