ESPN looks back at the almost-successful attempt to get the United States to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics:
Seventy-two years ago this summer, Hitler’s Germany played host to the Games of the Eleventh Olympiad in Berlin.
The games are now best remembered for the brilliance of Jesse Owens – who won four gold medals – and the success of the Nazis’ propaganda machine. For the first time in the history of the modern Olympics, the Games were held hostage by the political goals of the host nation.
What’s largely forgotten is the fact that a powerful American movement to boycott the Nazi Olympics nearly succeeded. The final vote of the AAU’s delegates was 58.25 to 55.75 in favor of participation. If three more delegates had voted to boycott the Games, the Nazis would have presided at a meaningless event.