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Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936

Ski instructor controversy

Alpine skiing events were included for the first time, and this led to a major controversy. The IOC declared that ski instructors could not compete in the Olympic Games because they were professionals. Incensed, Austrian and Swiss skiers boycotted the events, with the exception of a few Austrians who decided to represent Germany.

Ice hockey upset

Great Britain caused a major upset by beating Canada in the ice hockey competition. It should be noted, however, that several of the British players were living in Canada at the time but had kept their British passports.

Memorable champion

One of the greatest speed skaters in the early history of the Winter Games was Ivar Ballangrud. The Norwegian won three speed skating golds in the 500m, 5,000m and 10,000m. He also claimed silver in the 1500m, his seventh Olympic medal in total.

Figure skating star

Norwegian Sonja Henie won her third consecutive Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating. After the Games, she turned professional and toured the world with spectacular ice shows, achieving great popularity, particularly in the US.

NOCs: 28
Athletes: 646 (80 women, 566 men)
Events: 17
Volunteers: n/a
Media: n/a

The selection of host cities for the 1936 Games

It was at the Barcelona Session in 1931 that Berlin was chosen as host city of the Games of the XI Olympiad. On this occasion, the German National Olympic Committee announced that it was exercising its right to organise the Winter Games, as the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed at that time. Later, the German IOC members thus named Garmisch-Partenkirchen as host of the Winter Games, and the IOC agreed with the choice.

The first symbolic fire at the Olympic Winter Games

First time a symbolic fire was lit during the Olympic Winter Games.

The Spectacle at the Closing Ceremony

Fireworks were set off at the Closing Ceremony.

New on the programme

Alpine skiing, in a combined format (downhill and slalom) was added to the programme, with events for both men and women.

A demonstration

Eisschiessen (a kind of curling) was a demonstration sport. The military patrol race was a demonstration event for the third time.

Twelve years from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to St Moritz

The outbreak of hostilities, first in Japan and China and then in Europe, made it impossible for the Olympic Winter Games to be held in 1940 or 1944. Unlike the Summer Games though, the Winter Games were not numbered if they were not celebrated. As a result, it would be 12 years before the V Olympic Winter Games was held, in St Moritz, in 1948.


Garmisch 6 February 1936. The skier Willy Bogner (GER) pronounces the Olympic Oath.

Official opening of the Games by:
Chancellor Adolf Hitler

Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
A symbolic fire at an Olympic Winter Games was first lit in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Olympic Oath by:
Wilhelm Bogner (cross country skiing and Nordic combined)

Officials' Oath by:
The officials' oath at an Olympic Winter Games was first sworn in 1972 at Sapporo.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 Emblem

It comprises the Olympic rings in the foreground and the summit of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Alps with a ski track leading to the mountains in the background. Around, there is the inscription “IV. OLYMPISCHE WINTERSPIELE 1936 GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN”

Garmisch Partenkirchen 1936 Medals

On the obverse, in the upper half, an ancient chariot pulled by three horses, driving on a triumphal arch composed of four rays. A Goddess of Victory sits on the chariot holding a laurel crown. In the bottom half, in front of a picture, an illustration of winter sports equipment with some examples. Around, there is the inscription “GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN”.

On the reverse, which is deliberately simple, the Olympic rings and the inscription “IV OLYMPISCHE WINTERSPIELE 1936”.

More info
Garmisch Partenkirchen 1936 Poster

106,150 copies were made in 13 languages (large format) and 22,450 in German (small format).

Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1948 Official Reports

The official report, “IV Olympische Winterspiele 1936: Garmisch-Partenkirchen 6. bis 16. Februar: amtlicher Bericht”, is a 450-page work, published only in German.




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