1936 Winter Olympics

Updated August 28, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


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Alpine Skiing


Figure Skating

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The fourth Winter Olympic Games were held in the neighboring villages of Garmisch and Partenkirchen in Germany's Bavarian Alps and included Alpine skiing for the first time.

Also featured in these Games were Norwegians Ivar Ballangrud and Sonja Henie, and Rudi Ball—the Jewish star of the German hockey team.

Ballangrud won three individual gold medals and narrowly missed a fourth in speed skating, but his heroics paled compared to the attention lavished on Henie, who won her third straight gold medal. A week later, she won the world championship for the 10th year in a row, then turned pro. Moving to the U.S., she toured in her own skating show, starred in nine Hollywood movies and was worth more than $45 million when she died in 1969 at age 57.

Ball, who had been the best player on Germany's bronze medal-winning hockey team in 1932, was invited back from voluntary exile in France to lead the 1936 German squad. He was the only Jew on the German Winter Olympic team and his presence was a token gesture by the government of Adolf Hitler to mollify anxious IOC officials who objected to the Nazis' fervent anti-Semitism.

The story of the hockey tournament, however, wasn't one German Jew, but 11 British Canadians, who led Britain to the gold medal and stopped Canada's undefeated Olympic winning streak at 20. The best of the imported Brits was goaltender Jimmy Foster, who allowed just three goals in eight games.

After winning six gold medals in 1932, the U.S. had to settle for one this time, in the two-man bobsled driven by Ivan Brown.


1932 Olympics Winter Olympics Through The Years 1948 Olympics


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