Winter Olympics Through the Years: 1936

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


The fourth Winter Olympic Games were held in the neighboring villages of Garmisch and Partenkirchen in Germany's Bavarian Alps and included Alpine skiing for the first time.

Also featured in these Games were Norwegians Ivar Ballangrud and Sonja Henie, and Rudi Ball—the Jewish star of the German hockey team.

Ballangrud won three individual gold medals and narrowly missed a fourth in speed skating, but his heroics paled compared to the attention lavished on Henie, who won her third straight gold medal. A week later, she won the world championship for the 10th year in a row, then turned pro. Moving to the U.S., she toured in her own skating show, starred in nine Hollywood movies and was worth more than $45 million when she died in 1969 at age 57.

Ball, who had been the best player on Germany's bronze medal-winning hockey team in 1932, was invited back from voluntary exile in France to lead the 1936 German squad. He was the only Jew on the German Winter Olympic team and his presence was a token gesture by the government of Adolf Hitler to mollify anxious IOC officials who objected to the Nazis' fervent anti-Semitism.

The story of the hockey tournament, however, wasn't one German Jew, but 11 British Canadians, who led Britain to the gold medal and stopped Canada's undefeated Olympic winning streak at 20. The best of the imported Brits was goaltender Jimmy Foster, who allowed just three goals in eight games.

After winning six gold medals in 1932, the U.S. had to settle for one this time, in the two-man bobsled driven by Ivan Brown.

Top 10 Standings

National medal standings are not recognized by the IOC. The unofficial point totals are based on 3 points for a gold medal, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze. Total medals are in parentheses.

1Norway (15)75334
2Germany (6)33015
3Sweden (7)22313
4Finland (6)12310
5Switzerland (3)1207
6Austria (4)1127
7Great Britain (3)1116
8USA (4)1036
9Canada (1)0102
10France (1)0011
 Hungary (1)0011

Leading Medal Winners

Number of individual medals won on the left; gold, silver and bronze breakdown to the right.

No SportG-S-B
4Ivar Ballangrud, NORSp. Skate3-1-0
3Oddbjörn Hagen, NORX-country 
  & Nordic Combined1-2-0
3Birger Vasenius, FINSp. Skate0-2-1
2Ernst Baier, GERFig. Skate1-1-0
2Joseph Beerli, SWIBobsled1-1-0
2Erik Larsson, SWEX-country1-0-1
2Fritz Feierabend, SWIBobsled0-2-0
2Olaf Hoffsbakken, NORX-country0-2-0
2Sverre Brodahl, NORX-country0-1-1

Alpine Skiing


Event  Pts
CombinedFranz Pfnür, GER99.25


Event  Pts
CombinedChristl Cranz, GER97.06


Event  Time
2-ManUSA (Ivan Brown & Alan Washbond)5:29.29
4-ManSWI (Pierre Musy, Arnold Gartmann,
Charles Bouvier, Joseph Beerli)

Figure Skating

Event  Points
MenKarl Schäfer, AUT2959.0
WomenSonja Henie, NOR425.5
PairsMaxi Herber & Ernst Baier, GER11.5

Ice Hockey

Championship Round

(Overall records in parentheses)

1Great Britain (5-0-2)32-0-1571
2Canada (7-1-0)32-1-0492
3USA (5-2-1)31-1-1321
4Czechoslovakia (5-3-0)30-3-00014
Scores: Britain beat Canada, 2–1; Czech., 5–0; and tied the U.S., 0–0 (OT). Canada beat Czech., 7–0, and the U.S., 1–0. The U.S. beat Czech., 2–0.

Nordic Skiing

Cross Country

Event  Time
18kmErik-August Larsson, SWE1:14:38
50kmElis Wiklund, SWE3:30:11
4x10kmFIN (Sulo Nurmela, Klaes Karppinen,
Matti Lähde, Kalle Jalkanen)

Ski Jumping

Event  Points
90mBirger Rudd, NOR232.0

Nordic Combined

Event Points
18km/JumpOddbjörn Hagen, NOR430.3

Speed Skating

Event  Time  
500mIvar Ballangrud, NOR43.4=OR
1500mCharles Mathisen, NOR2:19.2OR
5000mIvar Ballangrud, NOR8:19.6OR
10,000mIvar Ballangrud, NOR17:24.3OR
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