A Lazy Person Explores the Olympiastadion

The title is a bit inaccuracte, since I’m not really a lazy person (most days).  I have no problem being active (I go to the gym, enjoy long walks and stage fighting).  I do, however, have a bit of a problem with sports.  Even before my dislocated kneecap injury, I really didn’t like playing most sports – especially basketball and volleyball.  

So why the did I go to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin?  Simple, because it has history!

Large, round history.
Large, round history.

This stadium was built for the 1939 summer olympics – also known as the olympics when Hitler wanted to prove that he was all that and a bag of chips, but got out-shone by track and field star Jessie Owens.  The stadium is now used for sporting events (like the FIFA World Cup) and concerts (like AC/DC, U2, and Bon Jovi).

The stadium only had minor damage during WW2 (mostly bullets), and there was only 1 battle fought here (in 1945, when the Soviets tried to capture the site).  As expected, there were mixed feelings about the stadium – some wanted it destroyed and a new stadium built, others wanted it left alone so that it could crumble to dust, but it was finally decided that it would be reconstructed.

When you visit the Olympic Stadium you can still see history from the 1936 games, including the Olympic Bell, the cauldron, the list of olympic winners.  It’s a dark history, but it’s also the site where Jess Owens won 4 Gold Medals. 

Victory is mine!
Victory is mine!

Interesting note: when they were doing reconstructions for the stadium in 2002 they discovered an unexploded bomb from WW2 buried under a section of seating.  A bomb hiding under a bunch of seats for 50+ years?  That is terrifying.

My sister and I wandered around, taking pictures.  It’s really a nice and picturesque area.  There weren’t a lot of other people around, but that was okay because we could pretty much do whatever we wanted.  This included sitting in the seats and re-enacting parts of U2’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” video (which apparently does not exist anywhere on the internet.  Seriously?  What happened to that video – you know, the american football one with Brendan Fehr?  The Lemons?).

As I’m not an athlete (I hate running, I couldn’t get above 3.5 feet for the high jump, and my javelin tossing was only so-so), I wasn’t sure if I would like wandering around a stadium, but I did.  As I mentioned, it’s really picturesque. 

The new improved inside
The new improved inside

To end with a quote:

“The stadium recalls the dark elements present in its creation. But in 2006 the world will look upon to modern, democratic, and open Germany”.

                – Otto Schily (Germany’s Interior Minister)

I have to say, Berlin is a damn nice place to visit.

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