The torch that Hitler lit

The Globe and Mail
By John Allemang, The Globe and Mail Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 3:51 PM ET
The torch relay in all its elaborate rituals and feel-good sponsorship opportunities turns out to be a creation of the people who are the byword for modern evil. Without the propaganda artists who staged the 1936 Berlin Olympics in all its triumphant glory, lovingly recorded in Leni Riefenstahl’s mesmerizing documentary film Olympia, we wouldn’t have the government-supported cross-country relay that is bringing the flame to Vancouver.

"The torch relay is a total fabrication," says Ira B. Nadel of the University of British Columbia, who has studied the techniques Riefenstahl used to aestheticize the Nazi cause. "The Germans invented it for the 1936 Olympics. There was nothing like it in the ancient Olympics."