We all grew up hearing about the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where American track star Jessie Owens won four gold medals and put the lie to Hitler’s myth of an Aryan super race. The Berlin Olympic stadium is where that history was made.
Berlin had won the bid to host the games before the Nazis took power. But the Nazis recognized the enormous propaganda value the Olympics could have and the stadium was built in two-and-a-half years.
A multi-level oval created in the middle of a 320-acre sports park.
Central access is flanked by two 100-foot-high towers, the Prussian tower on the north (left) side and the Bavarian on the south, with the Olympic rings hanging between.
Afternoon light striking the ovals creates abstract art.
The ring on the upper level.
Upper level snack bar, where you can munch without missing a moment.
Winners of the XI Olympiad. On the wall.
Owens’ name occurs three times, and he won his final gold for his role in the 4x100m relay.
Sculpture in the classical style can be found along a path around the inside of the stadium.
The 10-ton Olympic bell was rung at the opening and closing of the games.
The badly damaged bell tower was blown up in 1947 and the bell took flight. It came to rest in neighboring Maifeld and was found nearly 10 years later with the help of Geiger counters. The hole is believed to be the work of a Russian shooter.
The Olympic swimming stadium is open to the public during the summer. The grandstands are a protected public monument.
Since the ’36 games, the names of Olympic winners have been engraved on on 7-foot columns, called stelae, that ring part of the stadium.
The stela for Munich’s 1972 games, forever twisted in memory by Black September’s killing 11 Israeli athletes and a police officer.
On another face of each stela, the names of event winners.
The Olympic plaza must have been awe-inspiring with the flags of participating countries flying from the poles. But now we need parking.