The Greek government had no choice but to re-edit a tourism video, titled “Gods, Myths, Heroes,” unveiled at the World Travel Market in London this week. The offensive footage showed the torch-lighting ceremony from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. After being alerted to their mistake officials took it down from YouTube and replaced the clip with a torch-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia.
The mistake was first pointed out by Damian Mac Con Uladh on his blog, “A Gael in Greece”, and was quickly followed by a report in the Guardian.
The offending clip was from German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl’s footage of the infamous 1936 Olympics held when Berlin was in power and showed a blond, blue-eyed athlete, an example of the “master race”, holding an Olympic torch and climbing a stairway to light a cauldron. The scene, eight minutes into the footage, lasts for barely a second.
The video outraged some viewers who thought it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. Forum sites were particularly angered by the presentation of Greece as a land of antiquity without showing what contemporary life is like or celebrating the achievements of young Greeks today. Strangely enough, the 12-minute-long video opens with a shot of New York and is narrated by an American who participated in the 1984 Olympics.