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Maggie Hendricks

Opening Ceremony Theater, Berlin 1936

Seeing the pictures from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Opening Ceremony is sickening. With Hitler looking on, each nation's delegation marches into the stadium in perfect goosestep. Most of the teams raise their arm in the "Olympic salute," which looks supiciously similar to the Nazi salute. Countries that will go on to be decimated by the Third Reich march and cheer along with the crowds.

What's interesting to note about the 1936 games is that many of the traditions that are considering integral to the Olympics were started in Berlin. The torch relay, a massive opening ceremony and taping the whole spectacle were started by Hitler's regime. Hitler even cajoled filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to go to Delphi, carve the Olympic rings into a stone, and film it, so to convince people that the rings were an ancient drawing, not the creation of modern Olympic founder, Pierre de Coubertin.

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