1936 Winter Olympics-The forgotten Olympics

 

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The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games , were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Germany also hosted the Summer Olympics the same year in Berlin. 1936 is the last year in which the Summer and Winter Games were both held in the same country (the cancelled 1940 games would have been held in Japan, with that country likewise hosting the Winter and Summer games).

Like the 1936 Summer Games the February Winter Games were highly political.

The 1936 Winter Olympics were organized on behalf of the German League of the Reich for Physical Exercise (DRL) by Karl Ritter von Halt. Von Halt had been named President of the Committee for the organization of the Fourth Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen by Reichssportführer Hans von Tschammer und Osten.

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Nine months before the games were scheduled to begin, discrimination against the Jewish population had become so widespread that the head of the organizing committee, Karl Ritter von Halt, became alarmed and voiced his concerns in a letter to the Interior Ministry in Berlin. Halt emphasized that he didn’t want to be misunderstood — “I am not expressing my concerns in order to help the Jews” — but wrote that “if the propaganda is continued in this form, the population of Garmisch-Partenkirchen will be so inflamed that it will indiscriminately attack and injure anyone who even looks Jewish.”

The Jew-baiting in the Alpine idyll did not go unnoticed abroad. An English reporter who had traveled to the Werdenfelser Land region in advance of the games photographed the Partenkirchen Ski Club’s clubhouse, where a sign reading “No Jews Allowed Here!” was posted on the wall. The image circled the globe.

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A boycott movement had already been formed in the United States. Organizing committee chief Karl Ritter von Halt was worried that the entire German Olympic project could fail. “If the slightest disturbance occurs in Garmisch-Partenkirchen — this is something which we are all well aware of — it will be not be possible to hold the Olympic Games in Berlin, because all other nations will then withdraw from the event.”

When IOC president Henri de Baillet-Latourwas traveling to Garmisch to see the Games, he was astonished to see roadsigns en route declaring )Dogs and Jews not allowed).

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Baillet-Latour requested an audience with Der Führer and demanded that the signs be taken down. Hitler replied that he thought it usual, when a guest entered a person’s home, that the guest followed the wishes of the host. Baillet-Latour responded that when the flag of Olympia flies over the area, he became the host and Hitler was only the invited guest. Hitler acquiesced and had the signs removed.

But the Games were still highly political, though not  as much as the  Berlin Summer games few months later.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/08/03/1936-summer-olympics-berlin-sports-or-politics/

At the opening ceremony, OCOG President ,Karl Ritter von Halt, stated”We Germans want to show the world that, faithful to the order of our Führer and federal Chancellor , we can put on an Olympic Games that will be a true festival of peace and sincere understanding among peoples”. Perhaps, but the German team included only one Jewish athlete.,Rudi Ball, who was a member of the German ice hockey team.

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In 1936, because he was Jewish, Ball (the 25-year-old captain) was initially overlooked for selection in the German ice hockey team. His good friend and teammate, Gustav Jaenecke, refused to play unless Ball was included. Ball also believed a deal could be struck to save his family in Germany if he returned to play in the games.The German selectors also realized that without Ball and Jaenecke the team would not stand a chance of winning. Another factor was that the Nazi party could not overlook the fact that Ball was without doubt one of the leading athletes in his sport. With much controversy Ball was included in the German team to play at the 1936 Olympic games. One report of the time proposed that Ball was playing against his will.The deal for Ball’s family to leave Germany was also agreed. After Ball was injured, the Germans took 5th place in the Olympic tournament. Ball played four matches and scored two goals.

The 1936 Olympic Winter Games were notable for the introduction of Alpine skiing events.

image-51314-galleryv9-quwu-51314Great Britain upset 1932 gold medalists Canada in ice hockey when Edgar Brenchley scored the winning goal within the last ninety seconds.

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Sohn Kee-chung-Forgotten 1936 Olympic Games medalist.

The 1936 Berlin Olympic games was more then a sporting event, it was more a propaganda tool for the Nazi regime, but it was also an important propaganda event of Germany’s future Axis partner,Japan.

As the 4 gold medals won by Jesse Owens were an embarrassment for Hitler and his pals,

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so was the The men’s marathon event which took place 80 years ago today, The final was won by Son Kitei.However Son Kitei was not his real name, his real name was Sohn Kee Chung a Korean athlete.

Sohn Kee-chung ( August 29, 1912 November 15, 2002) became the first medal-winning Korean Olympian, when he won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a member of theJapanese delegation

He competed under the Japanese Son Kitei, as Korea was part of the Japanese Empire at the time.[3] The name is based on the Japanese kanji pronunciation of his Korean hanja name, both are written the same

During the time of the competition, Korea was a colony of Japan, therefore Korean sportsmen competed as members of Japanese team and were using their Japanese names.

Sohn, who was competing for the Empire of Japan, won the gold medal in the marathon. He ran the 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi) course in 2h29:19.2, breaking the Olympic record. His Korean teammate Nam Sung-yong took the bronze medal. As Korea was part of Japan at the time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially credited Japan with Sohn’s gold and Nam’s bronze in the 1936 Summer Olympics medal count.

On December 9, 2011, the IOC recognized Sohn’s Korean nationality by fixing his official profile. It cited his efforts to sign his Korean name and stressing Korea’s status as a separate nation during interviews. The move was part of the Korean Olympic Committee’s repeated requests to acknowledge Sohn’s background. However, the IOC ruled out changing the nationality and registered name per official records to prevent historical distortions.

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Under orders from Tokyo, Sohn Kee-chung had to compete using the Latin alphabet name of Son Kitei. It is the romanization of Japanese pronunciation of 孫基禎, his Korean name in hanja.

Sohn refused to acknowledge the Japanese anthem while it was played at his award ceremony and later told reporters that he was ashamed to run for Japan.When the Dong-a Ilbo(is a newspaper in Korea since 1920 with daily circulation of more than 1.2 million and opinion leaders as its main readers.) published a photograph of Sohn at the medal ceremony, it altered the image to remove the Japanese flag from his running tunic. The act enraged the Japanese Governor-General of Korea Minami Jiro in Seoul. The Kempetai military police imprisoned eight people connected with the newspaper and suspended its publication for nine months.

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After the race he tried to tell the newspapermen again and again that he was Korean, not Japanese, but his minders refused to translate his remarks.

For winning the marathon, Sohn was to have received an ancient Corinthian helmet (circa BCE 800–700), which was discovered at Olympia, Greece, and later purchased by a newspaper in Athens for giving it as an Olympic award. However, the IOC believed that presenting such a valuable gift would violate its amateur rules. Thus the helmet was placed in a Berlin museum where it remained for fifty years. It was finally presented to Sohn in 1986.On March 7, 1987, the helmet was categorised as the 904th treasure of South Korea. There was initial plan that awarding replicas of this helmet to the winners of the 2006 Sohn Kee-chung marathon, but winners got only chance to wear that replica.

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Sohn spent the remainder of his career in South Korea coaching other notable runners such as Suh Yun-Bok, the winner of the Boston Marathon in 1947; Ham Kee-Yong, winner of the Boston Marathon in 1950; and Hwang Young-Cho, who was the gold medalist of the 1992 Summer Olympics marathon, and whom Sohn Kee-chung especially went to Barcelona to see. Sohn also became the Chairman of the Korean Sporting Association. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, he was given the honor of carrying the Olympic torch into the stadium at the opening ceremony.

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He authored an autobiography entitled My Motherland and Marathon (나의조국과 마라톤).

He was honoured with the Korean Order of Civil Merit