President Roosevelt was criticized for not boycotting the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime hosted. During the early-to-mid 20th century, when the U.S. was largely isolationist and avoiding foreign entanglements, presidents isolated themselves from the games as well. The U.S. coach also came under fire for kicking the team’s only two Jewish athletes — Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller — off the team. Though Hitler had recently passed the Nuremberg Laws, he took down the city’s anti-Semitic signs because he wanted the Games’ 150,000 attendees to view him as an honorable leader. In fact, the Nazis started the tradition of lighting the Olympic torch in ancient Greece and then running it to the host country to show that classical Greece was the Third Reich’s predecessor.
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