German officials say Berlin-Tel Aviv 2036 Olympics would be ‘a mark of reconciliation’

Two German officials have proposed that the German capital of Berlin and Tel Aviv, one of the largest cities in Israel, should submit a joint bid for the 2036 Olympics

Writing in German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, Richard Meng, President of the German Olympic Association, and Frank Kowalski, Managing Director of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championship, argued that Germany’s capital is ideally suited as it is the country’s ‘only metropolis, a colourful city with a civil, cosmopolitan cultural character’.

The officials went on to describe Berlin as having ‘a lot that the Olympics need in the form of ‘love of life, diversity, (and) enthusiasm for honest sport, whilst also criticising the decision for the Rhine-Ruhr region to apply to host the 2032 games as ‘criminal’.

Describing the concept behind the region’s application as ‘ambitious and interesting’, the duo lamented that the Rhine-Ruhr is ‘second-rate and boring from an international perspective’, in stark comparison to Berlin.

Under Meng and Kowalski’s proposal, Berlin would be the host to a number of land-based track and athletic competitions as well as team sports such as football, whilst Israel – with its Mediterranean coastline – would be home to surfing, sailing and beach volleyball, among other events.

However, the duo’s suggestion also contains a strong historical element, as the proposed joint Berlin-Tel Aviv event would take exactly 100 years after the 1936 Olympics held in Munich, Germany – which was at the time under the regime of the Nazi Party.

“In 2036 in particular, it would be possible to show what has changed and still needs to change,” the officials stated, describing a joint bid as an opportunity to demonstrate ‘a mark of reconciliation’.

They continued: “So why not send a completely new, strong signal of peace and reconciliation in 2036? A signal that does not suppress the historical burden, but takes up the responsibility that arises from it?

“It would be such a signal if Germany and Israel apply together, more precisely: Berlin and Tel Aviv. With the sailing and surfing competitions on the eastern Mediterranean, but also with other sports such as beach volleyball in Israel’s lively metropolis. As a clear signal of how responsibility arises from obligation.”

Finally, Meng and Kowalski argued that in the context of the ‘corona games’ in Tokyo, which are currently expected to be the most expensive on record due to vast debts accumulated as a result of the pandemic, there is a need to ‘think new and bigger, preferably radically’.

However, the two also acknowledged that the Tokyo Games are ‘apparently so financially important for world sport that they should definitely take place, however risky and regulated’.

Although the Israeli Olympic Committee has expressed interest in hosting the 2036 edition of the games, it has not confirmed any support for a joint bid with Berlin, or any other city.

Following the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Games, Paris will host the 2024 event, followed by Los Angeles in 2026. The location of the 2032 games has not yet been determined.