1936 Winter Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (Venues)
Opening ceremony 6 February
Closing ceremony 16 February
Competition dates 6 – 16 February
Participants 669 from 28 countries
Medal events 17 in 8 disciplines
Other events 9 in 2 disciplines

Overview

The 1936 Olympic Winter Games were held in the beautiful Bavarian resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. After Berlin was selected to host the 1936 Olympic Games, Germany exercised its option to host the Winter Olympics and in May 1933 informed the IOC that they had chosen the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Three sites had been considered by the Germans, including Schreiberhau, Braunlage-Schierke, and Garmisch. But Garmisch had many facilities available already and its Bavarian location was home to the German National Socialist Party. The National Socialists had come to power in January 1933, led by Adolf Hitler. It was not to be a happy time for the IOC.

When IOC president Henri de Baillet-Latour was traveling to Garmisch to see the Games, he was astonished to see roadsigns en route declaring “Dogs and Jews not allowed”. 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 considered as much as Berlin a few months later. 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 (Hitler), 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, as might be expected. That was Rudi Ball, who skated on the ice hockey team for the Germans.

The 1936 Olympic Winter Games were notable for the first appearance of Alpine skiing events at the Olympics. The Scandanavians countries, which preferred Nordic skiing, had previously resisted alpine events, but they were finally overruled.

The Games were opened in a blinding snowstorm. They ended with the ski jump being watched by a record attendance of 150,000 people. In between, Ivar Ballangrud won three more gold medals in speed skating. Sonja Henie won her third gold medal in figure skating but the victory was a bit controversial. Henie had become a favorite of Der Führer, and it was thought that he wished her to win. She was not undeserving, but Britain’s Cecilia Colledge was much improved and some thought that her second place finish was less than it could have been.

The biggest upset of the 1936 Olympic Winter Games occurred in ice hockey when the British team defeated the Canadians. The victory was aided by the scheming of J. F. “Bunny” Ahearne, general secretary of the British Ice Hockey Federation. Ahearne had a “mole” working in the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and by 1934 had a complete list of all Canadian registered players who had been born in the British Isles. He contacted many of them and the team that won in Garmisch was led by eight ersatz Brits, all of whom had been imported from Canada. The Canadians howled in protest but to no avail.

Bid process

After Berlin was selected as the host city for the 1936 Olympic Games, Germany exercised its option to also host the 1936 Olympic Winter Games. On 13 May 1933, Germany informed the 32nd IOC Session that their choice for the winter site was Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Montréal, Québec (Canada) and St. Moritz (Switzerland) had applied in case Germany would be unable to host the Winter Games.

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Adolf Hitler (Chancellor)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Willy Bogner
Flagbearers Full list

Medal Disciplines

Alpine Skiing Figure Skating Ski Jumping
Bobsleigh Ice Hockey Speed Skating
Cross Country Skiing Nordic Combined

Other Disciplines

Ice Stock Sport Military Ski Patrol

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 7 5 3 15
Germany GER 3 3 0 6
Sweden SWE 2 2 3 7
Finland FIN 1 2 3 6
Switzerland SUI 1 2 0 3
Austria AUT 1 1 2 4
Great Britain GBR 1 1 1 3
United States USA 1 0 3 4
Canada CAN 0 1 0 1
France FRA 0 0 1 1
Hungary HUN 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Ivar Ballangrud NOR 3 1 0 4
Oddbjørn Hagen NOR 1 2 0 3
Ernst Baier GER 1 1 0 2
Joseph Beerli SUI 1 1 0 2
Erik Larsson SWE 1 0 1 2
Christl Cranz GER 1 0 0 1
Sonja Henie NOR 1 0 0 1
Maxi Herber GER 1 0 0 1
Sandy Archer GBR 1 0 0 1
Jimmy Borland GBR 1 0 0 1
Charles Bouvier SUI 1 0 0 1
Edgar Brenchley GBR 1 0 0 1
Ivan Brown USA 1 0 0 1
Jimmy Chappell GBR 1 0 0 1
Johnny Coward GBR 1 0 0 1
Gordon Dailley GBR 1 0 0 1
Gerry Davey GBR 1 0 0 1
Carl Erhardt GBR 1 0 0 1
Jimmy Foster GBR 1 0 0 1
Noldi Gartmann SUI 1 0 0 1
Kalle Jalkanen FIN 1 0 0 1
Klaes Karppinen FIN 1 0 0 1
Jack Kilpatrick GBR 1 0 0 1
Matti Lähde FIN 1 0 0 1
Charles Mathiesen NOR 1 0 0 1
Pierre Musy SUI 1 0 0 1
Sulo Nurmela FIN 1 0 0 1
Franz Pfnür GER 1 0 0 1
Birger Ruud NOR 1 0 0 1
Karl Schäfer AUT 1 0 0 1
Archie Stinchcombe GBR 1 0 0 1
Al Washbond USA 1 0 0 1
Elis Wiklund SWE 1 0 0 1
Bob Wyman GBR 1 0 0 1
Art Child GBR 1 0 0 1

All medalists at these Games