Olympic Fever

The Olympics, abolished for years and then restored in 1896 has continued its marathon run through time and boundaries. This tradition is one which has been cancelled just thrice in hundred years, and never has it been pre-poned or post-poned.
In 1932, the Olympic journey first crossed the sea to reach Los Angles. For the first time in the history of Olympics, the games were to unfold outside Europe. This was done partially because of the influence of the post World-War America and partially because Europe was running short of funds due to the Great Depression that plagued the society of the time. For a while it seemed as though no one was going to attend LA Games. Even at six months to the commencement of the Games, not a single country had responded to the official invitations. The world was in a financial crunch because of the failing economy which made the expense of traveling to California seemed nearly as troublesome as the distance.
Another problem was to fill up the grand stadium – the Memorial Coliseum, which had been expanded to 105,000 seats for the occasion. The ticket sale was slow and discouraging and the Opening Ceremony was feared to be attended by only a few invitees and spectators. Then, a few Hollywood stars (including Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin) offered to entertain the crowd during the Opening Ceremony of the Games and ticket sales picked up.
Los Angeles has taken the credit of evolving the concept of an Olympic Village for the Games. The LA Olympic Village spanned over 320 acres and offered 550 two-bedroom portable bungalows for the male athletes, a hospital, post office, library, and a large number of eating establishments to feed the athletes. The female athletes were accommodated in hotels, which offered more luxuries than the bungalows. The 1932 Olympic Games also introduced the first photo-finish cameras as well as the victory platform. Approximately 1,300 athletes participated in these games, representing 37 countries.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 1936 Games to Germany. However, trouble began to brew when Adolf Hitler made his entrance into the politics of Germany. These were the first games that were going to be affected by the politics of the host nation. The United States was extremely close to boycotting but later decided to accept the invitation.
Adolf Hitler took the organization in his hands and tried hard to show the Nazi ideology to the world. To put up a good impression of Nazis, they built four grandiose stadiums, swimming pools, an outdoor theater, a polo field, and an Olympic Village that had 150 cottages for the male athletes. Throughout the Berlin Games, the Olympic complex was covered in Nazi banners.
Leni Riefenstahl filmed these Olympic Games and made them into her movie Olympia. These Games were televised and were the first to use telex transmissions of the results. These games also take the credit for introducing the famous tradition of torch relay in the Summer Games. About 4,000 athletes participated here, representing 49 countries.
The journey of Olympics continued perennially in the years to come and evolved in a never preceded form that is extremely inspiring. The never-say-die spirit of Olympics is instilled in its participants who make games not only possible, but a wonder of tradition. The journey will continue!


Saurabh Sharma

[Image Source:http://flickr.com/photos/travelingman/495900198/]