Saturday, April 05, 2008

Olympic originals...

Berlin Olympics 1936The original torch relay before the Olympic Games is more recent than I thought; the idea of lighting the torch in Greece - at the ancient Olympian site - and then sending it, carried by runners, through different countries has more sinister, 'dark’ origins. It was invented in its modern form by the organisers of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and Carl Diem, chief organiser, wanted an event linking the modern Olympics to the ancient; he 'invented' the torch relay, planned with immense care along with the Nazi leadership to portray a dynamic image of the Third Reich.

"Sporting chivalrous contest,"…"helps knit the bonds of peace between nations. Therefore may the Olympic flame never expire" - Adolf Hitler

Nine years later Carl Diem ended WWII as fanatical military commander at the Olympic stadium exhorting his troops to be like the Spartans, to not fear dying for their country and to die like heroes.

With the recent trouble in Tibet, amongst other things, the fear is that the torch relay will attract a multitude of anti-China protests, and already certain activist groups have planned demonstrations in London, Paris and San Francisco all part of the route that the torch will pass through. (Taiwan and Tibet were removed from the original route, perhaps sparking memories of what happened to countries along the route of the 'original' torch relay!) [Route] Mr Kyriakou, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, said last week at the torch handover - before it was flown to Beijing:

"The Olympic flame is the timeless symbol which stirs admiration, pride and faith [in] the Olympic ideals and values"…"I hope the world community welcomes the flame and honours it".

As an aside and to 'compliment' the image, the swastika has been in the blogosphere news the last couple of days: the 'swastika' logo for the progressive governance Promoting Prosperity summit in London yesterday wasn't really 'proof-read' before use was it - memories of London's own Olympic logo! If you follow the link through to the Number 10 website you'll see it's been changed/updated since the recent polemic.

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4 comments:

Aurora said...

Great post and thanks for the link on the swastika story. This info on the Olympic Games fits with something I'm writing tonight. Will link back to you on it.

Span Ows said...

Thanks Aurora; it's crazy to think that that logo would have been designed, looked at by colleagues of the designers, presented to the bosses of the designers...all BEFORE then being presented to Number 10 etc...impossible to believe that 'nobody' noticed!!

Aurora said...

Indeed it is and like you I doubt whether 'nobody noticed'. I'm positive that the significance wasn't lost on Brown and his cohorts. That man is evil.
I've linked you here
Cheers.

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