Olympics: Watch Out For the G.D.R.

Comrade Honecker's well-laid plans

East Germany first competed in the Olympics under its own flag at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich. The hammer-and-compass banner was hoisted in victory 66 times, countering the G.D.R.'s image as a walled outcast with the impression of an athletic marvel. Four years later, in the last Summer Games not boycotted by a major competitor, East Germany, with 17 million people, earned 40 gold medals; the U.S., with over 200 million, won 34. National medal counts and per capita ratios are, of course, hardly the stuff of Olympic ideals, nor should athletics be pursued for political value. But East Germany...

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