Race heats up for German Olympic bid spot

Berlin has said it is ready to put up €2.5 million in its bid to host the 2024 or 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in hopes that the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) chooses the capital over Hamburg.

Race heats up for German Olympic bid spot
Photo: DPA

 The Berliner Morgenpost reported on Sunday that only €1 million will come from city funds, with the remainder made up from funds that already exist in the former of the "Be Berlin" public relations campaign.

The rest of the money will come from private firms, such as Wall, which has already said it would provide billboards at no cost to the city in its bidding hopes.

Michael Vesper, head of the DOSB, told Focus magazine that his committee will announce their choice on March 21 in Frankfurt, although a poll is being conducted in February that could determine the winner.

"We'll then be able to see reliable figures and see where each city stands. Both cities could be the host," Vesper said in an interview published on Saturday.

According to Berlin senate documents, Berlin has already splashed out €234,000 on an ad campaign under the slogan "We want the games!", among other promotional items.   

Already, the slogan can be found on Berlin busses, in ad spots on radio and television, as well as on Air Berlin planes and Tegel Airport itself.

An Air Berlin plane with

Gregor Gysi, a leader of Die Linke (The Left), party, told the Berliner Zeitung last week that he is hoping for a successful Berlin bid as a way to refresh the capital's image.

"I really wish that there will be other pictures of Berlin and Olympics than those of Adolf Hitler," said Gysi, referring to the last time the German capital hosted the games, in 1936, when Hitler and the National Socialist (Nazi) party was in power.

"Everytime Berlin and the Olympics are mentioned together, these old pictures get pulled out again: Hitler on the stage. There must be something new, something different," Gysi said.

"My God, Just think of the (2006) Wold Cup! Those are the pictures we need!"

Adolf Hitler at the 1936 Olympic Games. Photo: DPA

The Berlin bid committee has already said it would use the Olympic stadium, built for Hitler's games, as the main venue, as well as several other venues from those games nearly 80 years ago.

Tegel would also be a site that would see construction, providing the new airport, the beleaguered Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) actually manages to open.

Hamburg's bid has already promised a new Olympic Stadium, which would see its seating reduced following the games to ensure its future use. Most of the OIympic sites are planned for the Kleiner Grasbrook area.

Munich was the last German city to host the Olympics, in 1972.

The IOC will announce the host city for the 2024 games in 2017. 

SEE ALSO: Germans eager to host the games

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Saxony police probe motorcycling ‘Hitler’

German police said they were investigating after a man dressed as Adolf Hitler rode around a weekend festival in a motorbike sidecar, although he provoked more amusement than outrage.

Saxony police probe motorcycling 'Hitler'
Front of a motorcycle. Photo: DPA

“When people dress up as Adolf Hitler, an investigation is always necessary,” a spokesman for Saxony police told news agency DPA on Monday.

The fake Führer appeared at a classic motorcycle gathering in Augustusburg, near Chemnitz, and was seen in videos of the event posted online.

He sported a toothbrush moustache and was seated in the sidecar of a bike driven by a man dressed as a 1940s-era soldier, complete with World War II-style helmet.

READ ALSO: Outrage grows over Hitler masks on sale in Prague

People are heard laughing as the pair pass by and a policeman guarding the event pulls out his phone with a smile to take photos.

The officer could now face consequences for his failure to step in.

“We would have expected our colleague to put a stop to all this without the least hesitation,” the Saxony police spokesman said.

The officer seen laughing at the impersonator was summoned for a meeting with his superiors and has “acknowledged his misconduct”, a spokesman for the local Chemnitz police told AFP on Tuesday.

Saxony premier Michael Kretschmer also condemned the Hitler pantomime.

“Dressing up as a mass murderer is more than just bad taste,” he tweeted. “This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and shouldn't be repeated.”

Around 1,800 motorcyclists and 7,500 visitors took part in the weekend classic bike festival in Saxony, a region in former communist East Germany that has made headlines for far-right and neo-Nazi activities in recent years.