Frankfurt, 21 September 2023 –To date, no decision has been made as to whether Germany will bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and if so, for which year. There is one particular question that has been asked more often than any other: “Will the 2036 Olympic Games create opportunities or pose risks for our country?” Those who participated in our “1936, 1972, and 2036(?)” talk addressed that specific issue as well as other questions regarding the history and reappraisal of the previous Games that took place in Germany.
To a large extent, Germany has come to terms with the legacy left by the 1936 and 1972 Olympic Games. Now, the key task at hand is to share this knowledge with the public at large. With respect to a prospective bid for the 2036 Games, the opportunities created would far outweigh the risks, provided that the lessons learned from the past were used to set an example of cosmopolitanism and intercultural coexistence – 100 years after the propaganda-filled Games. According to the experts, there is virtually no way around choosing Berlin as a possible location for the Games.
The five experts, in their own words:
Torsten Burmester – Chairman of the Board, German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB)
“I was of one mind for quite some time: Hosting the 2036 Olympics in Berlin was an absolute no-go. I have changed my mind in the meantime, and I now think it’s a definite possibility. Now, 100 years later, we have everything that it takes to do things better and differently.”
“As part of the Olympic bid effort, the DOSB and the various federations should continue to initiate discourse aimed at coming to terms with the past Games in Germany, and everything that has already been dealt with should be brought to the public’s attention.”
“In our times, events like the Olympics are needed to unite society.”
Hannah Lühmann – Deputy Head of the Feature Section, WELT
“I am highly doubtful that our democracy is as solid as we perceive it to be. Therefore, I cannot speak in favor of hosting the 2036 Olympics in Berlin.”
“I simply cannot see how society as a whole can come to terms with and remember the past in the context of a possible 2036 Games.”
“Major sporting events can be triggers for social change. However, I do not believe that all corners of society can be reached through them.”
Rikola-Gunnar Lüttgenau – Head of Strategic Communications and Public Relations, Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation
“It’s about so much more than understanding how the Nazis abused the Games: It’s also about understanding the continuity within society that made it possible for sports to be so heavily appropriated by the Nazis.”
“Such a project can be tremendously helpful when it comes to understanding sports and sports associations as spaces in which democracy can be learned. In that respect, the Olympics could be of great use.”
Alon Meyer – President, Makkabi Deutschland e.V.
“Now that 100 years have passed, I think the whole issue can be addressed in a much more serious way – before, during, and after the Games. Moreover, it will give us the chance to show how much we have learned from the past. Sports have never been apolitical. Why then don’t we use sports in positive political ways?”
“The YOUR IDEAS. YOUR GAMES. initiative proves that the DOSB has learned from the mistakes of the past and has involved the public in the current process right from the start. That’s precisely what I expect to be the case when it comes to 2036.”
“The opportunities far outweigh the risks. We have come so far in Germany: We recognize the risks, we are taking them seriously, and we are using our experience to turn the 2036 Olympic Games into a wonderful, grand, and colorful event.”
Christopher Young – Historian and Member of the Commission for the Reappraisal of the 1972 Games
“The IOC and the sporting world are in need of a specific concept with respect to the reappraisal of the 1936 Games. Why not create one that sees the Games hosted in Germany?”
“I’m in favor of holding the 2036 Games in Germany, because that “anniversary” would force us as well as the rest of the world to take a long, hard look at the past, the present, and the future.”
A recording of the talk can be accessed here.