1936 Summer Olympics Highlights
Looking for 1936 Summer Olympics highlights? The highlights of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin include sports highlights and a few things that have nothing to do with sports. Germany hosted the world at the 1936 Summer Olympics as a platform to feature the Germans and the purportedly superior "Aryan race." Debate raged throughout the world about a possible boycott, but in the end, most countries ended up competing in the Summer Olympics. One unlisted highlight is that athletes clearly not meeting the Nazi's artificial standards for superiority soundly trounced Hitler's choices in the competitions.
- The photography of the athletic performances. Adolph Hitler was a fan of photography and he made sure that both still and motion film cameras documented what he thought would be his day in the sun. The elaborate stadiums and sports venues built specifically for the Olympics were designed to create a spectacle beyond compare. In the end, the films are an amazing tribute to the athletes' performances. Without the photography work, we'd have only the print documents and oral history reports of the folks that attended the Summer Olympics in 1936.
- Jesse Owens' performance. American runner Jesse Owens took gold as a highlight of the 1936 Summer Olympics. James Cleveland Owens, known as the Buckeye Bullet, attended college at Ohio State University where he honed his track skills. He also picked up his nickname of Jesse and was so impressive as a runner representing Buckeye State college in Ohio that he was rumored to be faster than a bullet when he ran. Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 games, a first for any American. The record held until Carl Lewis equaled the medal count at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles.
- The first live television coverage of the Olympic games. Modern Olympic fans expect television coverage of all the popular events and a televised view with a summary coverage of the lesser-known events. The mid-1930s was a time when newspapers and radio provided the primary outlets for all news coverage. Germany wanted coverage by what was then classified as "new media." Film newsreels captured the action and had fresh film of the action, but it took a week or so for the films to hit the movie theaters. For folks living in small towns, it may have taken even more time. Television offered immediate images as the Summer Olympics happened. Television equipment and broadcasting was rudimentary at this time, and sets were set up in public venues since most people didn't have access to home sets, but the 1936 coverage still classifies as a broadcasting first in Olympic history.
- Basketball makes an Olympic appearance. For basketball fans, the 1936 Summer Olympics marks the first time the sport was a featured event at the Olympic games. Demonstration play was presented in 1904 and again in 1924, but the 1936 games saw formal competition for medals. The U.S. team took home the gold. The first competitive Olympic team was called the "Dream Team" (before the modern-day, 1992 Dream Team).