Says U.S. Should Enter Olympics
Menu JTA Search

Says U.S. Should Enter Olympics

Download PDF for this date

age, A. A. U. head, and Brigadier General George H. Sherrill, who recently visited Germany to investigate conditions, Williams insisted that the issue was strictly a racial one.

“Everybody who has followed the actions of Hitler, Goering, Roehm and Goebbels must know precisely how the Jew stands in Germany. He just doesn’t stand at all. So, no matter what or how much is done to seemingly insure the Jewish athlete an equal chance socially with his German brother, the mocking truth will remain—it is merely a diplomatic convenience.”

Despite this, the sports columnist urged American participation in the games because “there is at least a hopeful, far-off possibility that out of the beauty and fire and spirit of the great athletic carnival may emerge in the politically drugged German mind something approaching an image of fellowship, sanity and common decency.

“I confess that in the present circumstances this would amount to a phenomenon comparable to the most fantastic miracle of Mr. Homer’s time, but, as we say at the track, you never can tell when one of those 1,000 to 1 shots will come bouncing down in front.


“Not all the Olympic meets have been conducted in sporting dignity and fine gentility. Indeed, there have been some that were distinctly Pier 8 in pugnaciousness and principle. But the last one held at Los Angeles was a grand show, and everybody wound up by saying what a swell guy everybody else was.

“It seems to me that the effect of this sort of atmosphere on a community that hasn’t been given much chance to devote any thought to sporting ethics in any phase of life might conceivably be very healthy. Even if it did no more than make some of the citizenry feel their shame it would be worth while.

“I don’t believe sports should be too closely tied up with affairs of state. I’d hate to think that a comic opera ruler, like Hitler, could provoke a situation which endangered the life of all international athletics. He is not worthy of the honor of taking the games elsewhere.

“Lithe-limbed young men will be pounding down the cinder track, leaping over hurdles and putting the shot long after an incredulous posterity has tossed aside the bloody record of Hitler and Naziland with the scoffing exclamation: —’Don’t try to kid us. There never was such a man or such a people!’

“And down through the ages this oath of the Olympians will continue to exist and to mean something: — ‘We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in loyal competition, respecting the regulations which govern them and desirous of participating in them in the true spirit of sportsmanship for the honor of our country and for the glory of sport.'”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund