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Sonja Henie
Sonja Henie of Norway, the most famous figure skater of all time, wins gold for the third straight Olympics.

With the Nazi Party ruling the day in Germany, it fell to Adolf Hitler to personally open the fourth Olympic Winter Games. Seeking to put on its best face and suppress any possible negative reporting of the Nazi administration of the Games, Germany allowed only German photographers to record Olympic events. These pictures were then carefully screened by the Nazi propaganda ministry before being made available for international distribution.

Men's and women's alpine skiing made its first appearance, with a combined alpine and downhill event for men and women.


 The British ice hockey team scored a major upset by beating Canada for the gold. It was later discovered that eight of the British players actually lived and played hockey in Canada. Nevertheless, Britain was allowed to keep the gold because all eight had been born in England.

 Hockey player Rudi Ball was a German Jew who had fled his homeland to escape Nazi persecution. But because an Olympic Games was being held in their country for the first time, the Nazis swallowed their racist ideology for the moment, and invited him back to play for the German national team. Germany finished fourth in ice hockey.

 Figure skater Sonja Henie (Norway) was so popular that police had to control crowds around her. She won the gold in 1928, 1932 and 1936.

 Ivar Ballangrund (Norway) dominated the speedskating events by taking the gold in the 500m, 5,000m and 10,000m, and the silver in the 1,500m. These medals were added to three others (one gold, one silver and one bronze) that he had won in competition at the 1928 and 1932 Winter Games.

AttendanceMale AthletesFemale AthletesMost-MedaledU.S. Rank
28 nations675 80Norway (12)Fifth (tied)

Source: Knight-Ridder/Tribune

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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