IOC apologizes 'to those who feel offended' after tweeting video reminiscing about 1936 Olympics

Jack Baer
·4-min read

The International Olympic Committee issued a half-hearted mea culpa early Friday morning for a tweet featuring a video reminiscing about the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Obviously, those Games carry an infamous legacy due to the Nazi regime visibly in control of host Germany, but the IOC’s @Olympics account still made a post praising the first appearance of the Olympic torch at the event.

The video in question has since been deleted.

The tweet was posted in reply to a “One Year to Go” thread started by the Olympics on Wednesday with a montage of the opening ceremony of the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Team USA replied with a similar video of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, followed by Belgium’s 1920 Antwerp video.

And then, the Olympics account responded with this:

This is turning out to be quite a #ThrowbackThursday already! Berlin 1936 marked the 1st Olympic torch relay to bring the flame to the cauldron.

We can’t wait for the next one in [Japan]. #StrongerTogether

You can probably imagine why some people had a problem with a tweet celebrating an Olympics that was infamously heavy in Nazi imagery.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was among those questioning the decision.

That backlash was enough for the IOC to eventually delete the tweet, then explain why it wanted to celebrate an event the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has called “a huge propaganda success” for Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

IOC’s apology for Berlin Olympics tweet

In an eight-tweet thread, the IOC conceded its video did not land as intended, then argued the film was specifically meant to recall the story of the friendship between Jesse Owens and Luz Long. Notably, the organization focused its apology only to “those who feel offended by the film.”

The sixth tweet of that thread is certainly an interesting claim. According to the IOC, Owens’ legendary performance was so powerful that it shattered the Nazis’ claims of racial superiority.

The IOC declined to mention what happened after the Nazis’ supposed lesson: world war and a genocide that killed 11 million people, the majority of whom were members of racial, ethnic and religious groups deemed inferior.

A crowd gives the Nazi salute during the 1936 Olympics.
Not the Olympics' finest moment. (Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

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