When the athletes entered the stadium, they saw on their left side a large number of Zeus statues. The athletes that broke the Olympic rules, either through bribery or match fixing, had to erect those statues. It that were to happen today, that would mean that those who’ve been involved in the biggest doping and corruption cases would have to be remembered at the opening ceremony.You said that the ancient Games were a national affair, while the modern Olympics are a sign of international understanding. I’m thinking of the year 1920, when the Olympic flag was introduced as a peace symbol after World War I. Is the opening ceremony an expression of the contemporary political situation?

The political situation is always reflected in the opening ceremony – particularly in the protocolary portion. The flag with the five Olympic rings was raised for the first time in 1920, but it had already been presented in 1914 at Olympic Congress in Paris. If the 1916 Games in Berlin hadn’t been canceled, it would have decorated the opening ceremony there.Let’s talk about Berlin in 1936, the year in which Hitler introduced the famous torch relay. What is Hitler’s Olympic legacy?

I have to pour some cold water on that. They weren’t Nazi Games, they were Games that took place under a National Socialist government. The 1936 Olympics have generated countless myths, including the legend that the Führer invented the torch relay. An Olympic fire burned already in 1928 and 1932 in the stadiums in Amsterdam and Los Angeles as a symbol of purity and pursuit of perfection. In 1936, another element of show was added to the tradition.