Berlin 1936 Summer Olympic Games

The Berlin games were defined extensively by the Nazi German organizers and heralded the Olympic eclipse which lasted until 1948.

Time and Place: Berlin (Germany); 1 – 16 August 1936
Other candidates: Barcelona
Participation: 49 countries, 3963 athletes
Number of sports: 19 sports, 129 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 27
Fire lit by: Fritz Schilgen (track and field athlete)
Games opened by: Adolf Hitler
Olyimpic oath: Rudolf Ismayr (weight lifter)


Trivia from the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympic Games

The new German government caused much doubt, hesitation and fear in the international Olympic public. But promises of observing the Olympic principles of rules, a strong role of Germans in the IOC and the excellent Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympic eventually convinced the Committee to allow Berlin to host the Games. But the Games went down in history with images of raised right arms, swastikas and Nazi ideas.


Hitler sincerely wanted his athletes to do well in the Olympics - mainly in order to confirm the power of the Aryan race - and German athletes were provided with the best possible conditions. The results were indeed reached as the Germans won 33 gold medals, 26 silver ones and 40 bronzes. Nevertheless, the greatest star of the Games was American Jesse Owens. The performance of the black athlete was unforgettable, along with the visible displeasure of the local people and the Führer. Owens won four gold medals. He was unbeatable in the 100 and 200 meter races, the long jump and as a member of the American 4x100 meter relay.


All in all, Americans won 24 gold medals. One of those was contributed by springboard diver Marjorie Gestring. At 13 years of age, the American became the youngest ever Olympic gold medal winner. In the same year, Danish bronze medalist swimmer Inge Sörensen became the youngest ever competitor to win an individual Olympic medal at age 12.The Germans popularized the games with numerous television screens, placed around the city. This brought the competition closer to the masses and television coverage of sports events turned a new chapter in history.

Slovenians and the 1936 Summer Olympics

Although the 1936 Olympics mark a dark period in Olympic history due to their Nazi undertone, Slovenian memories of the games are quite contrary. In Berlin, Yugoslavia was represented by 27 Slovenian athletes, including, for the first time, 5 women. The main reason for fond memories of Berlin was naturally the legendary Leon Štukelj. After successful appearances in Paris and Amsterdam, the excellent competitor finished his Olympic story with a silver medal in the rings. In the company of Grilc, Primožič, Fortej, Vadnov, Pristov and Gregorka, Štukelj also reached sixth place in the team competition. This marked the conclusion of the competitive career of the most successful Slovenian Olympian of all time.

The female gymnastics team of Lidija Rupnik, Marta Pustišek, Kristina Hribar and Ančka Keržan was successful as well, winning fourth place.

Branko Ziherl's tenth place in springboard diving completed the list of results.