As the beginning of the 2020 Olympics approached in July 2021 (the video games had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic), an outdated meme began to make its manner round social media about how tens of hundreds of pigeons pooped on the viewers in the course of the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympic Video games after they had been scared by the noise of a firing cannon:
Usually talking, there’s some reality to this humorous anecdote. It needs to be famous that the above-displayed image truly comes from the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, not the 1936 video games in Germany.
Once we first got here throughout the pigeon meme, we had three fast questions: Had been hundreds of pigeons launched in the course of the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympic Video games? Did these pigeons truly poop on the viewers? And simply how devastating was this doo-doo drop?
The reply to the primary query is sure, roughly 30,000 pigeons had been launched in the course of the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympic Video games. The Star Tribune reported on Aug. 1, 1936, that 30,000 pigeons could be launched and cannons would hearth as soon as German Chancellor Adolf Hitler introduced the beginning of the video games:
We weren’t capable of finding any newspaper articles from the Thirties that reported on a mass pooping occasion. To reply our second query — did the pigeons poop on the viewers — we turned to a 2012 documentary produced by PBS about Jesse Owens. Whereas the “American Experience” documentary focuses on Owens’ accomplishments and the historic impression of a Black man dominating the observe and area occasion in entrance of a Germany chancellor who sought to showcase the prevalence of the white race, long-distance runner and World Struggle II veteran Louis Silvie Zamperini (whose life was become the 2014 movie “Unbroken”) supplied a humorous anecdote about one other manner that Hitler’s Olympics didn’t go as deliberate.
Right here’s a transcript from the documentary:
David Wallechinsky, Author: Hitler needed to be on high in his field overlooking every little thing, like, as if this was his celebration, this was his occasion. He needed to be glorified. That was half of it.
Louis Zamperini, 1936 U.S. Olympic Crew: We’re all standing on the infield, the grass, all lined up army fashion. They launched 25,000 pigeons, they stated. The sky was clouded with pigeons. And the pigeons circled overhead after which they shot a cannon they usually scared the poop out of the pigeons. And we had straw hats, flat straw hats. You might hear the pitter patter on our hats. However we felt sorry for the ladies as a result of they obtained it of their hair. However I imply it was a mass of droppings, and I inform you it was so humorous.
Whereas we don’t doubt Zamperini’s telling of this occasion, it doesn’t reply our third query: Simply how many individuals had been pooped on throughout this incident? Did they solely poop on the folks in Zamperini’s neighborhood? Moreover, had been the pigeons actually scared by the cannon hearth or was this simply incidental?
Sadly, we now have not been capable of finding a solution to those urgent issues.
What we will say is that hundreds of pigeons had been really launched in the course of the 1936 Olympics (the photograph above is from 1952, although) and that this anecdote about pooping pigeons originated with an athlete who was in attendance at these video games. Simply how messy of a state of affairs this actually was, nevertheless, we’ll go away as much as your creativeness.