Avery Brundage became President of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1929 and later took the IOC appointment of an American expelled for advocating a boycott of the Berlin Games. Brundage opposed the boycott, publicly praised the Nazi regime and led the second largest team, after Germany, to the 1936 Olympics. He was unrepentant thirty-five years later when he claimed, “The Berlin Games were the finest in modern history.“
Brundage’s record was described by Dr. Rafael Medoff, Director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in a letter the NY Times refused to publish:
Brundage dismissively described the plight of Jews in Germany “the present Jew-Nazi altercation.” He claimed that opposition to U.S. participation in the Berlin Olympics was “a Jewish-Communist conspiracy” to “make the American athlete a martyr to a cause not his own.”
The Berlin experience did not change his perspective. Even after Hitler blatantly exploited the games for propaganda purposes, and even after the Nazis’ demand (which Brundage accepted) to bar two U.S. Jewish track stars from competing, Brundage continued to insist that the games had contributed to “international peace and harmony.”
Three years later, Brundage sought to organize a track and field meet between the U.S. and Hitler Germany. Explaining the failure of this effort to his German colleague, Brundage wrote that “the overwhelming proportion of Jewish advertising, our papers have been filled with anti-Nazi propaganda.”
He also sought to build a business relationship with the Nazis. As the New York Times reported on February 21, 1999, after the Olympics, Brundage asked officials of the German Olympic Committee to facilitate a role for his construction company in the building of a new German Embassy in Washington. In August 1938, German Olympic officials informed Brundage that in view of the “proven record of your friendly attitude toward German sports,” his bid had been accepted. Only the onset of World War II foiled the project, although Brundage did what he could, as a member of the extremist America First movement, to keep the U.S. from joining England in the war against Hitler.
Brundage long insisted that women should have no roles in the Olympic Games beyond those ceremonial or decorative.
Like all the merchandisers of recent Games, VANOC relies on a dishonest rewriting of Olympic history. It promotes fraudulent traditions, ignores truth and reveals its real purpose is strictly commercial.
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