Letters: Sordid Olympic History

Closeup of letters on writing desk at home
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A recent op-ed by Steve Rosenberg, “Sports: A Powerful Ally in the Battle Against Antisemitism” (Sept. 28) was excellent. However one sentence needs a more thorough explanation. Regarding the murder of the Israeli athletes by Black September, he wrote, “Avery Brundage, the IOC chair couldn’t find it in his heart to cancel one event in their memory.”

Brundage was a notorious antisemite going back to his position as head of the U.S. Olympic Committee in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

In the tryouts, one competitor was a skinny Jewish kid from New York City named Marty Glickman, a football and track star at Syracuse University. Glickman was undefeated in track. In the 100-meter dash, Glickman finished a close second to Jesse Owens and ahead of Ralph Metcalf. The U.S. track team coach was Dean Cromwell, the USC coach, and he said that the Owens won and Glickman finished fourth behind Ralph Metcalf and a USC runner. Since there were no photos or movies, there was no way to appeal. Only the first three competed in the Olympics at that time.

Brundage was an admirer of Adolph Hitler and had several meetings with him and other Nazi officials. Glickman and a fellow Jewish athlete, Sam Stoller, were supposed to run in the 100-meter relay, but Brundage insisted that they not compete in order “not to embarrass Hitler.” Although the other American athletes protested, Brundage insisted.
Glickman went on to have a successful career, becoming a sports announcer on the radio, movies and TV from the 1940s through the 1990s.

Peter J. Whitman, Glen Mills


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