A German sport administrator and pedagogue whose lasting legacy in the educational sphere is the German Sport University (Cologne), founded in Berlin in 1920 as the German College of Physical Education, and revived in Cologne in 1947. It is now recognized as the largest sport university in the world. But Diem's more notorious legacy is linked to his commitment to Olympism; he was the primary organizer of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, which became widely known as the Nazi Games. Although he had assumed responsibility for German Olympics before Hitler came to power, in 1936 he presided over what has been recognized as a mass political spectacle, at which he took the opportunity to introduce the ‘tradition’ of the torch relay and the torch ceremony. In 1938, Diem began editing the Olympic Bulletin, and he remained an ardent champion of Olympism despite the political excesses to which the ideal could clearly be put. Most commentators conclude that Diem was not explicitly a Nazi sympathizer, but neither did he do anything to deflect the patronage of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.