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Athletics at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games

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Sports:

Host City: Berlin, Germany
Date Started: August 2, 1936
Date Finished: August 9, 1936
Events: 29

Participants: 776 (678 men and 98 women) from 43 countries
Youngest Participant: JPN Ko Nakamura-Yoshino (16 years, 104 days)
Oldest Participant: CAN Percy Wyer (52 years, 199 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): USA Jesse Owens (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (25 medals)

Overview

The 1936 Olympics are often considered the most controversial Olympics ever, because they were held as a showcase to the Third Reich, its leader, Adolf Hitler, and his theories of Aryan supremacy. In many countries, there were calls to boycott the Berlin Games, but among the major countries, only Spain did not compete, as it was mired in its own Civil War. Before the Olympics, critics of German racial theories received support when Gretel Bergmann, the top German distaff high jumper, but also a Jew, was not chosen for the German team, although her marks for the year were better than any other German. Despite the controversy, Jesse Owens showed the Germans that their theories of Aryan supremacy were, well, basically a crock. He was superlative in winning the 100 metres, 200 metres, long jump, and running on the winning 4x100 metre relay team. The Americans also had several other Black stars – Archie Williams won the 400, Corny Johnson narrowly defeated Dave Albritton in the high jump, and Ralph Metcalfe and Mack Robinson placed second to Owns in the 100 and 200. As a group, they mocked Hitler’s theories. On the first day of track & field competition, Hitler greeted several German athletes in his private box. The story is often told that he then snubbed Owens when he won the 100 metres, but in actuality, if he snubbed anyone, it was Corny Johnson after his high jump gold medal. After the first day of athletics competition, Hitler was asked by IOC President Henri Baillet de Latour to either greet and congratulate all the victors or none of them, rather than singling out the German champions. Rumors persist that Hitler responded by meeting the German champions underneath the stands but these have never been proven.

Medalists

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres USA Jesse Owens USA Ralph Metcalfe NED Tinus Osendarp
Men's 200 metres USA Jesse Owens USA Mack Robinson NED Tinus Osendarp
Men's 400 metres USA Archie Williams GBR Godfrey Brown USA Jimmy LuValle
Men's 800 metres USA John Woodruff ITA Mario Lanzi CAN Phil Edwards
Men's 1,500 metres NZL Jack Lovelock USA Glenn Cunningham ITA Luigi Beccali
Men's 5,000 metres FIN Gunnar Höckert FIN Lauri Lehtinen SWE Henry Jonsson
Men's 10,000 metres FIN Ilmari Salminen FIN Arvo Askola FIN Volmari Iso-Hollo
Men's Marathon JPN Son Gi-Jeong GBR Ernie Harper JPN Shoryu Nan
Men's 110 metres Hurdles USA Forrest Towns GBR Don Finlay USA Fritz Pollard
Men's 400 metres Hurdles USA Glenn Hardin CAN Johnny Loaring PHI Miguel White
Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase FIN Volmari Iso-Hollo FIN Kalle Tuominen GER Alfred Dompert
Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States ITA Italy GER Germany
Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay GBR Great Britain USA United States GER Germany
Men's 50 kilometres Walk GBR Harold Whitlock SUI Arthur Tell Schwab LAT Adalberts Bubenko
Men's High Jump USA Corny Johnson USA Dave Albritton USA Delos Thurber
Men's Pole Vault USA Earle Meadows JPN Shuhei Nishida JPN Sueo Oe
Men's Long Jump USA Jesse Owens GER Luz Long JPN Naoto Tajima
Men's Triple Jump JPN Naoto Tajima JPN Masao Harada AUS Jack Metcalfe
Men's Shot Put GER Hans Woellke FIN Sulo Bärlund GER Gerd Stöck
Men's Discus Throw USA Ken Carpenter USA Gordon Dunn ITA Giorgio Oberweger
Men's Hammer Throw GER Karl Hein GER Erwin Blask SWE Fred Warngård
Men's Javelin Throw GER Gerd Stöck FIN Yrjö Nikkanen FIN Kalervo Toivonen
Men's Decathlon USA Glenn Morris USA Bob Clark USA Jack Parker
Women's 100 metres USA Helen Stephens POL Stanisława Walasiewicz GER Käthe Krauß
Women's 80 metres Hurdles ITA Ondina Valla GER Anni Steuer CAN Betty Taylor
Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States GBR Great Britain CAN Canada
Women's High Jump HUN Ibolya Csák GBR Dorothy Odam-Tyler GER Elfriede Kaun
Women's Discus Throw GER Gisela Mauermayer POL Jadwiga Wajs-Marcinkiewicz GER Paula Mollenhauer
Women's Javelin Throw GER Tilly Fleischer GER Lies Krüger POL Maria Kwaśniewska