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Berlin 1968


Sir Rols

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Very interesting article that came out today:

Plans made for 1968 Olympics in East and West Berlin, historian says

A team headed by former German Chancellor Willy Brandt was bidding to bring the 1968 Olympics to the divided city of Berlin, a sports historian said in an interview with a German newspaper.

A plan existed to bring the 1968 Olympic Games to Berlin, which was divided by then East and West Germany, a sports historian said Saturday. But the Allies, along with the West German government, would not allow it.

Christopher Young, who also heads German studies at the University of Cambridge, told the online edition of daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that the idea was the brainchild of eventual Chancellor Willy Brandt.

"It was somewhat of a crazy idea of (the then-West German Olympic Committee head Willi) Daume and Willy Brandt, the governing mayor of West Berlin at the time," he said. "They wanted the Olympics in both halves of the city, but failed in their dream because of the allies, (the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union).

Munich precursor

He said the failed Berlin bid is what led to the Games eventually being awarded to Munich in 1972.

"Munich was second choice, where Brandt's political party friend Hans-Jochen Vogel was mayor," Young said. "Daume first asked him if he sitting down, then told him he wanted the get the Games in Munich. Vogel was inspired. He saw a chance for urban development and of course a chance for his career. Three month later, everything had been approved."

Young, author of the book "The 1972 Munich Olympics," suggested that German officials stepped up their sports development aid for Africa in order to get the Munich Games.

"At the time the world was divided into East and West, as was the International Olympic Committee," he said. "You had to fight for the votes of the Third World. The South Americans would vote for Madrid, this was clear, so the Germans concentrated on the Africans.

"Unofficial diplomats came to the fore, such as Alfred Ries, the president of football club Werder Bremen and long-time diplomat. Help was promised. Football trainers went to developing countries. Development aid for sport was tripled," he said in the interview.

African campaign

Young said state development aid was also ramped up in Germany's bid to bag the Olympics for Munich.

"The was a trip to Africa by President Heinrich Luebke in which financial agreements were made with Morocco," he told the Tagesspiegel. "Although it's believed this would have happened without the Olympics in the background, it nonetheless did not damage Germany's case.

Deutsche Welle

I remember also talk in the early 1980's of a joint Berlin bid - with I seem to remember Reagan all for it as well. But of course that never made it off the planning board either. Anyone remember if it was for 88 or 92?

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Interesting also to see already then the significance of chasing the African votes then. We might talk about the influence of the European IOC members, but to my mind they all too often cancel each other out. Yet, the African chunk of votes has since gone on to prove decisive in such races as Atlanta's and Sydney's.

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Very interesting SR...thanks for the post :)

I bet the 100 metres dash through Checkpoint Charlie would have been the fastest ever :lol:

Seriously though, it is intriguing to see the lobbying techniques used by the Germans in the run up to Munich was obviously either disregarded or forgotten by the Berlin 2000 bid team, with the Sydney and Beijing teams effectively gazumping the Deutschies. And the $64,000 question is, could a Berlin games in 68 been negotiated and organised if the Four Powers had in fact assented to such a hosting proposal....

If only I'd had this info for my what if Olympic threads :)

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I never heard of this before...but I don't really see how it would've worked out. I mean the GDR was as paranoid as ever. And they were trying everything to keep their people in, so I don't think they would've been ready for open borders. God knows what a bureaucratic and security nightmare it would've been. Can you imagine the plans being hatched and the scenarios unfolding then to get people out?

Of course maybe 11 Israeli athletes might still be alive today...but then maybe not either.

Maybe Berlin really has bad Olympic karma?

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I was trying to find some reference to the speculations I mentioned earlier, about a joint Berlin bid in the days of divided Germany. I seem to think it was probably around the time of Ronnie's visit to Berlin and his "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!" speech. I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, I came across this item - a bit of nostalgia (especially JAS's predictions of the hostings ahead!): Unity: Four West German sites would withdraw applications if Berlin sought the Games. Juan Antonio Samaranch calls such a move a 'symbol of peace.'

Well, of course, the old GDR was always too paranoid for it ever to have really got of the ground. But certainly in the later 80s, with Ronnie and Gorby cautiously engaging, and the Moscow-LA tit-for-tats over - I don't think the Four Powers would have necessarily vetoed it instinctively as they would have earlier in the hotter days of the Cold War.

Seriously though, it is intriguing to see the lobbying techniques used by the Germans in the run up to Munich was obviously either disregarded or forgotten by the Berlin 2000 bid team, with the Sydney and Beijing teams effectively gazumping the Deutschies. And the $64,000 question is, could a Berlin games in 68 been negotiated and organised if the Four Powers had in fact assented to such a hosting proposal....

It wasn't as much bad lobbying, as more the incredibly effective anti-games movement in Berlin. Remember, this was a campaign in full swing at the time Germany was into the hangover stage after the reunification honeymoon, and the east was sucking the west's old economic prosperity dry just to prop it up. Even moving the capital back to Berlin was starting to become unpopular. By the time the IOC inspection teams were swinging through Berlin, they were getting huge demonstrations against them at every stop. It heartened me greatly as I eagerly crossed my fingers and hoped for Sydney's chances.

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Ah yes, the anti-Berlin 5th column at home did remove much of the popular sentiment behind the 2000 bid. And yes , Die Wende and the impact of reunification did have a double edged effect on the bid; it was a key reason that the bid committee promoted the Berlin cause yet at the same time its cost and political ramifications undermined so much of what Berlin was 'selling'.

Berlin 2000 as well as Athens 96 and Cape Town 2004 showed how telling on sentiment and political change won't necessarily currywurst favour with the IOC.

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BTW, what's the score on Kornelia Ender and company, those old. steroid-pumped up guinea pigs. How have they fared? And the guys didn't get as bad as the women did, huh?

I've not seen much reference to Kornelia Ender in the recent news (now there's a blast from the past) but I have a doco on DVD about the DDR drug regime and I recall one female athlete from the old East actually having to undergo a sex change as a result of her state doping regime.

Actually if memory serves me right Roland Matthes (DDR back stroke legend) who was drug free married Kornelia, but latter they divorced.

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I was trying to find some reference to the speculations I mentioned earlier, about a joint Berlin bid in the days of divided Germany. I seem to think it was probably around the time of Ronnie's visit to Berlin and his "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!" speech. I'll keep looking.

You don't have to -- I already found it: Reagan made that "Olympics in Berlin" statement right in that very speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate, on June 12, 1987:

International sports competitions of all kinds could take place in both parts of this city. And what better way to demonstrate to the world the openness of this city than to offer in some future year to hold the Olympic games here in Berlin, East and West?

See http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=34390&st=&st1=

So he didn't name a precise year for that idea to become reality. But since at that time, the 1988 Games were only one year away and the 1992 Games had already been awarded to Barcelona, the 1996 Games would have been the earliest possible date for Olympic Games in East and West Berlin. I'm glad that history thwarted Reagan's idea only a little bit more than two years after his speech so that we Germans didn't have to consider joint Olympic Games in two German countries anymore!

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By the way: Berlin newspaper "Der Tagesspiegel" also asked that sports historian Christopher Young which mistakes the new Olympic bid of Munich (for the 2018 Winter Games) makes, considering the farmers' protests and the financial problems of the bid. Young answered:

The bid for the Games of 1972 was carried by the zeitgeist. The current bid is not. Back then, one thought that the world will always develop positively and that progress can be planned. Additionally the German infrastructure still needed to catch up after the war. Today people are much more sceptical about large-scale projects. The zeitgeist now is rather green and ecological and people want to have a say in building projects on their estates. A commercial event like the Olympic Games is not untainted anymore.

Source (in German): http://www.tagesspiegel.de/sport/willy-brandt-wollte-olympische-spiele-1968-in-berlin/1913288.html;jsessionid=756F64D460D28C25005B273596EF525F

Very interesting -- he might have a point there.

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At least Kim Jong Il of the Sacred, Benevolent, Blessed DPRK was polite enough in asking, nay demanding, some events for 1988; and Seoul was actually willing to give them one or 2 football venues. But I think they wanted more. So a joint demo-totalo Olympic Games may have happened first in Korea before these pie-in-the-sky dreams for such a joint Berlin bid. At least you guys got the distinction of being the first to field a joint team for Opening over those wild-and-crazy Koreans.

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I was trying to find some reference to the speculations I mentioned earlier, about a joint Berlin bid in the days of divided Germany. I seem to think it was probably around the time of Ronnie's visit to Berlin and his "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!" speech. I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, I came across this item - a bit of nostalgia (especially JAS's predictions of the hostings ahead!): Unity: Four West German sites would withdraw applications if Berlin sought the Games. Juan Antonio Samaranch calls such a move a 'symbol of peace.'

It's always interesting to read in hindsight articles like these when we all know now how the Olympic calender actually panned-out for certain Games years. Would've been interesting to see how that scenario would've played out if Berlin had bid for 2004 instead of 2000 like they intially planned, but looks like JAS got them to do so earlier.

Which "sentimental" factor woulda had more pull? Going back to the "Birthplace" of the Olympics (after already a failed 1996 bid), or going back to the capital of a growing, newer, reunified Germany? Would the Berlin opposition been as great for '04 as it was for '00, or would it had calmed some? Would the rest of the membership been as interested in Berlin as seemingly JAS was? ohh, the shoulda, coulda, wouldas. :lol: Reminds me of a thread tnmp did a few years back, titled "alternate Olympic History", or something along those lines. That was an interesting & fun one to read.

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Reminds me of a thread tnmp did a few years back, titled "alternate Olympic History", or something along those lines. That was an interesting & fun one to read.

Unless TNMP actually started another one...but, and I'll take credit where credit is due...I actually started one topic based on the premise of "If Athens had actually won for 1996," then how the stack of dominoes would've fallen in the ensuing cycles.

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At least Kim Jong Il of the Sacred, Benevolent, Blessed DPRK was polite enough in asking, nay demanding, some events for 1988; and Seoul was actually willing to give them one or 2 football venues. But I think they wanted more. So a joint demo-totalo Olympic Games may have happened first in Korea before these pie-in-the-sky dreams for such a joint Berlin bid. At least you guys got the distinction of being the first to field a joint team for Opening over those wild-and-crazy Koreans.

Hey Baron...what about the Australasian team that marched in Stockholm...doesn't that by default predate either the Germans or the Koreans when it comes to two separate nations marching under the same unified team? Or conversely considering that the DDR's separate NOC from that of the FRG wasn't actually recognised by the IOC till 1965 then the unified German team in fact represented only one NOC, which is different to what the Koreans did?

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Hey Baron...what about the Australasian team that marched in Stockholm...doesn't that by default predate either the Germans or the Koreans when it comes to two separate nations marching under the same unified team? Or conversely considering that the DDR's separate NOC from that of the FRG wasn't actually recognised by the IOC till 1965 then the unified German team in fact represented only one NOC, which is different to what the Koreans did?

What Australasian team? Tell us about it. Was there a breakaway faction of Oz that the outside world does no know about?

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What Australasian team? Tell us about it. Was there a breakaway faction of Oz that the outside world does no know about?

Here's the wikipedia entry:

Australasia at the 1912 Summer Olympics

There's also a detailed entry at the AOc's website here and in the Harry Gordon boom 'Australia and the Olympic Games' which I have in my collection there is a photo of the contingent marching in with what appears an Australia flag but Australasia on the team placard. There was a joint team also in London 1908 but I'm unsure as to the ceremonies aspect.

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Here's the wikipedia entry:

Australasia at the 1912 Summer Olympics

There's also a detailed entry at the AOc's website here and in the Harry Gordon boom 'Australia and the Olympic Games' which I have in my collection there is a photo of the contingent marching in with what appears an Australia flag but Australasia on the team placard. There was a joint team also in London 1908 but I'm unsure as to the ceremonies aspect.

OK. However, I don't think in the same category. The combined Oz-NZ entry in 1912 under an odd name: Australasia, is not quite the same as combined German or Korean teams because the latter 2 cases are large, traditional adversaries each who are/were more or less at each other's throats during non-Olympic periods -- i.e., unless more goes on between the 2 Southern Cross countries that we, in the outside world, are not aware of??

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Baron, obviously you have no grip on how much we Aussies loath and detest those sheep shagging rugger bugger Crowded House lovers across the ditch (sorry Kiwis :P).

Plus in the lead up to the Australian federation of 1901 there was involvement of NZ delegates so there was at one time potential for Australasia becoming a reality. The Aeotoroans obviously didn't feel comfy with the idea of being united with a superior sporting nation (sorry Mk.II lol)

However whilst I agree that the two Koreas and two Germanies were separate nations who originally formed one country, and who were diametrically opposed politically, on the basis of two Olympic teams representing two separate nations marching as one unified team Australasia in 1912 does set the precedent.

Course if we want to open up Pandora's box of canned worms perhaps we should start discussing the so-called British representation at St Louis...

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