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Berlin mayor wants to make Olympics bid

The Local · 13 Jul 2011, 10:56

Published: 13 Jul 2011 10:56 GMT+02:00

Wowereit said Berlin could possibly bid for the 2020 Olympics even though German sporting officials have said it’s already too late to submit a bid.

“Berlin is ready for the Olympic games. Berlin has all the requirements: The stadiums, infrastructure, hotel industry, the enthusiasm of people toward sports,” he told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper on Wednesday.

But it’s unclear if Berlin will actually be able to bid for the Olympics in the near future. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has said time is too short for new German cities to register to bid for the 2020 games – registration is due with the International Olympic Committee by the beginning of September.

Wowereit said only Berlin makes sense as a German candidate, although the northern port city of Hamburg has also been considered a possibility.

“When one comes to the verdict that Hamburg has the best chance, then Berlin will obviously support Hamburg. I am, however, firmly convinced that Germany could only have a real chance with Berlin,” he told the newspaper.

Wowereit’s call comes as Germans officials are still smarting from Munich’s failed attempt to host the Winter Games in 2018. The city lost out to Pyeongchang, South Korea last week.

Although Germany has played host to the Olympics before – the Summer and Winter Games in 1936 and 1972 and the Winter Games in 1936 – the country has a recent history of failed bids.

Among the most painful was Berlin’s 1993 attempt to host the 2000 Olympics. The only received nine votes in first and second round voting and Sydney was picked instead.

The city's bid was marred by widespread opposition from Berlin residents who argued the games would be a waste of money in the face of Germany’s recent reunification.

Wowereit said things are now different and infrastructure has been improved in recent years – he pointed to the new airport set to open in 2012, and the city’s Olympic Stadium, which was renovated for the 2006 football World Cup.

He told Der Tagesspiegel that most Berliners would support an Olympics bid, although he acknowledged that not everyone would be happy.

“It is impossible to achieve 100 percent of cheering Berliners. But this is not necessary. There will always be people who say: Leave me in peace with sport and give the money to something else,” Wowereit said.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:22 July 13, 2011 by lunchbreak
Perfect. Maybe the Berliners can reenact Hitler's reaction when Jesse Owens won in 1936 as part of the bidding promo video.
15:07 July 13, 2011 by ChrisRea
What has Hitler to do with the bid for 2020? Or, as usual, when there is nothing interesting to say, we bring in the Nazis?
15:58 July 13, 2011 by lunchbreak
The Nazis were very interesting. And they were very interested in sport. The current Olympiastadion was originally built by the Nazis for the 1936 Summer Olympics and would undoubtedly be used in future olympic events in Berlin. So should Berlin be successful in its bid one could say there would be continuity from Hitlers aspirations to the present german regime.

From a pig's ear to a silk purse? Nah. Same ol, same ol, nur neue Kleider.
17:26 July 13, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Not this again.

We went through this in the 1990s, and there was a huge outcry in Berlin against hosting the Olympics. I distinctly remember "NOlympics" signs around town.

20 years later, reunification is well developed, but Berlin is not much better off financially. I am sure that Berliners will be opposed to it again. So don't waste the time and money with another failed bid. Geeez.
17:50 July 13, 2011 by neunElf
The city's finances are a wreck and this guy wants to spend how many billions to bring this faded star to Berlin?
22:57 July 13, 2011 by BerlinNY
The fact that the city's finances could not bear the burden of the Games is absolutely true.

But for the love of sport, what exactly the proposed bid has to do with the 1936 Games and Hitler/Owens? The Games were awarded to Berlin in 1931, before the Nazi's take over. and the current Olympiastadion was designed by Werner March ( son of architect Otto March, who designed the previous stadium on the same site - Deutsches Stadion - for the 1916 Olympics).

And as for J. Owens, are you referring to the fact about Hitler not shaking his hand - as well as other winners? (he did shake hands at the beginning, of all winners, including German . But one night, when it started raining, he did not stay - and thus skipped the award ceremony. The next day he was requested by IOC either to stay no matter what or stop shaking the hands. Well, the rest is the history)

Or, are you referring to the image when Hitler was waiving to Jesse Owens?

J. Owens later would repeatedly say that it was FDR who snubbed him not Hitler ( and yes, there was a huge parade for him in NYC when he got back - and then a reception at Waldorf Astoria in his honour for which he was asked to use the back service elevator).

And yes, the Nazis liked the sports.

And the ice stadium in Garmisch, built for 1936 games is still in use, and has been used for many world class events since - but what it has to do with the Nazi spirit?
00:31 July 14, 2011 by wood artist

Thank you for debunking the Hitler/Jessie Owens myth. It's sad that this story still gets trotted out. Hitler did enough bad things to fill bunches of books, but this one wasn't his fault, and while he might well have done it anyway, that isn't what happened.

I recognize the costs associated with staging the games, and like every other city, Berlin has a bunch of issues already on the table, but I would love to see the games held there again. In fact, I'd reschedule a visit to coincide with the games...assuming I could afford the tickets.

00:54 July 14, 2011 by lunchbreak
@ BerlinNY

It has this to do with the Nazi spirit:

Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and later war armaments minister, recollected:

... he (Hitler) was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens. People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive, Hitler said with a shrug; their physiques were stronger than those of civilized whites and hence should be excluded from future games.

So Hitler may or may not have acknowledged Owen but thats really beside the point if you believe Speer whose memories of the event are certainly in line with the Nazi racial stereotypes. And if Owens did have to ride the back elevator at his reception in the US at least he wasn't thrown into a concentration camp at the end of the proceedings.
05:43 July 14, 2011 by german-guardian
@ lunchbreak

This article is about simple sport and nothing more. Why do you always bring in hitler and the Nazi's to every article. It is like if you want to keep Hitler's name alive always. Every single article, you bring up the Nazi's and Hitler's name. It is like Hilter was your messiah or something and you always want to keep his name alive. Well my friend, 70 years ago does not apply now. Nazi's are no more. and Hilter is dead. So please stop bringing up the Hilter name, and let us rest in peace. We want to discuss nice articles and talk about sporst and you always have to bring up the name of stupid Hilter. Please stop, thank you
13:00 July 14, 2011 by lunchbreak
@ german-guardian

I'm sorry to inform you that nazism did not die with Hitler's death and the Nuremberg trials and that it continues to exist here in germany today at many levels of german society. Hitlers name and legacy and the fact that as recently as 70 years ago the nation followed a mad despot into utter barbarism remain a window to the german character.

Yes, this article is about sports but as anyone who has lived in germany can testify everything that happens here is in one way or another political.

As a german I can imagine you must be ashamed of what your parents or grandparents might have experienced but it is no basis for trying to censor discussions. As the saying goes "Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it".
17:46 July 14, 2011 by german-guardian
@ lunchbreak

Ok, if you think that history should be covered in detail, than you should cover all of histroy. Not just a small section that you choose. It is like we have a big book, and you choose to talk about only one chapter. In reallity we should then also talk about world war 1. The crusades, and keep going back and also talk about the Roman empire... we should talk about all of history. All of history is a lesson, not just one part of it.
00:29 July 18, 2011 by lunchbreak
@ german-guardian

You can talk about all of history if you want but this discussion is about Berlin's Olympic bid and local politics and history is absolutely relevant in my opinion.
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