A Brief History of the Opening Ceremonies

Olympics Opening Ceremonies
Mrs E. E. Williams / Keystone / Getty

Berlin, 1936
The Berlin Olympics of 1936 were meant to be a showcase for the might of Nazi Germany. And the Reich prepared for the games in true fascist fashion, starting with a drive to clear the streets of all unwanted "Gypsies." But the real innovation of the Games was its pageantry. Organizers came up with the novel idea of linking the Olympics' ancient origins with the Nazis' modern-day ideology by running the Olympic torch from Athens to Germany — in essence, the Nazis invented the torch relay we still use today.

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