Olympia – the epic film of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, was the first documentary feature film of the Olympic Games ever made and remains one of the greatest sports films of all time. The film was directed by Leni Riefenstahl, one of Hitler’s golden girls, but you need to look past the Nazi propaganda subtext and enjoy the Olympics action in all its glory. The film was released in two parts: Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker (Festival of Nations) and Olympia 2. Teil — Fest der Schönheit (Festival of Beauty). Here are the German versions of the film, and for those who do not understand the Germann language, it can still be appreciated for the beauty of the cinematography, which was groundbreaking in many ways. See more Olympic Art Projects
Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker (Festival of Nations)
There are many unusual sports that have been part of the Olympic Games as demonstration sports. Gliding, or aeronautics, was demonstrated in 1936, and also a gold medal awarded for Swiss Hermann Schreiber for a flight across the Alps in 1935. The IOC were ready to add this as an official sport in 1940, only for the Olympics to be cancelled by the outbreak of war. There was plenty of aeronautic skills shown in the skies during the war, but unfortunately it was never again considered for the Olympics. See more about Aeronautics at the Olympics.
The men’s marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Germany was won by Japanese runner Kee-Chung Sohn. He was actually Korean-born, but ran in Japanese colors because his country was occupied by Japan. Here is a classic 10 minutes movie recording of the marathon. See more on the men’s Olympic Games marathon.
Complete footage of the 100m sprint final at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, in which American Jesse Owens won the gold medal. We are privileged to be able to see him running – poetry in motion even with this grainy jumpy footage. See him win the 200m final too.