Amid massive dollops of rain, pomp, circumstance and confetti fashioned from defaulted Greek IOU pledges, the Olympic flame was handed over to the London 2012 Brit’ Pack in the magnificently marbled dreariness of the ancient Olympic Stadium in Mediterranean Germany (formally known as Greece).
Becks, Coe and Princess Frumpy valiantly suppressed massive yawns as some amazingly dull choreography performed by lady priestesses dressed in ‘jarmies and Jesus boots meandered meaninglessly around the hallowed stonework.
The Lord Coe stepped up to the mic as German bailiffs waited patiently in the wings, ready to repossess the cauldron, staging, courtesy cars, sound system and anything else that wasn’t nailed down back to the Fatherland to cover debts unpaid.
Seb’ waxed lyrical about the ancient traditions of the Olympics. About the age-old custom of carrying the flame around the 4 corners of the host nation – and the spirit of goodwill that Corinthian act of selflessness engendered within the population….
If only he knew.
For the jolly act of running around the countryside in pressed white vest & shorts with a flaming torch lit from the Sun’s rays on Mount Olympus was not an invention of the ancient Greeks – but rather the idea of a 20th century man in Nazi Germany, specifically for the Berlin 1936 Olympiad. He was Nazi official and sports administrator, Carl Diem (I know what you’re thinking; why didn’t his parents Christen him ‘Carpe’?).
He floated the idea to Minister of Propaganda; Joseph Goebbels who thought it was a stroke of genius. Adolf Hitler took some persuading though. It was only after Joe had emphasised the visual Teutonic advantages of fit young Aryan boys and girls gallivanting from Greece to the Fatherland with a flaming beacon in their Sieg Heiling hand that the Fuehrer relented. And they could always do some spying out on the way – for the route had the added advantage of travelling through most of the countries to the east of Germany which would later be occupied via Hitler’s Blitzkrieg tactic of bringing neighbouring states ‘onside’…. So that was handy.
Krupps, Germany’s biggest armaments manufacturer made the Olympic torches – and number 1 in the series, the original and best was used to light a giant new furnace which was built specifically to make massive field guns for the German Army……. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that the people of Germany were engaged in activities not conducive to the Corinthian ‘Faster, Higher, Further & Druggier’ ideals of the Olympic movement – but rather tooling up for war…
“German sport has only one task: to strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence,”
Joseph Goebbels, April 1933.
Joe wasn’t the German Minister of Propaganda for nothing….