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Individuals Respond | Canadian Athletes | More Than Just Games

Individuals Respond

Photo of athletes aboard ship to Barcelona

After the announcement of Canada's decision to participate in the 1936 Games, boycott supporters continued to organize public protests and letter-writing campaigns. They also tried to convince athletes to boycott the Olympics, especially once the alternate People’s Olympiad was planned for Barcelona, Spain. The organizing committee declared the People’s Olympiad “a blow against the Berlin Olympiad, which stands for the fascization of sport and the preparation of youth for future war.”

Several Canadian athletes decided to participate in the People's Olympiad rather than the Berlin Games. Their trip ended in Toulouse, France, when they learned that the Spanish Civil War had broken out and that the Barcelona Games were cancelled.

All Canadian athletes - whether Jewish, non-Jewish or of Afro-Caribbean descent - navigated complex, often competing, concerns to decide whether or not to participate in the Olympic Games hosted by Nazi Germany.

A photograph from the July 20, 1936 issue of the Toronto Daily Star showing Canadian athletes aboard a ship en route to the Barcelona Games. From left to right: Tom Richie, sprinter; Norman “Baby” Yack and Sammy Luftspring, boxers; Eva Dawes, high jumper; Bill Christie, sprinter and Harry Sniderman, coach.

Toronto Daily Star