Germany has a proud Olympic history. Together with the UK, it was one of the 14 nations who participated in the very first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Today, both countries have strong business and cultural links also reflected in the London 2012 Games.
Here are five ways in which a strong German influence is leaving its mark on London 2012:
1. German influence on Team GB’s looks – the German sportswear manufacturer and sponsor for London 2012, Adidas, has worked in partnership with British designer Stella McCartney to develop and produce Team GB’s kit for the London 2012 Olympics.
2. German cars will ensure athletes get to Olympic venues – BMW, who produces the iconic Mini in the UK, is the official automotive partner to the Games.
Over 3,000 BMW cars, motorcycles and bicycles will be used before and during the Games. Athletes can expect to be driven in one of 160 zero-emission 1-Series Active-E vehicles, to support the Games in achieving its CO2 emission targets.
3. German sport experts supporting Team GB athletes – British Rowing’s German Head Coach Jürgen Grobler has led gold medal crews in each of the last five Olympic Games. He is widely credited for the success of the Team GB Rowing team, who are hoping to win again in the London 2012 Games.
Another German who coaches one of Team GB’s top teams is the double World Champion winner in sprint and team sprint, Jan van Eijden. He is now the Olympic Sprint Coach for the Great Britain Cycling Team, amongst whom is star athlete Sir Chris Hoy (4x Olympic Champion and 11x World Champion).
4. German art and literature at the centre of the Olympic festival – leading up to the Games, German poet Jan Wagner performed his work at one of the largest poetry events ever to take place at the Southbank Centre (26 Jun – 1 Jul) at the “Poetry Parnassaus”. Wagner has won a number of awards and his poetry has been translated into 30 languages.
As part of the London 2012 Festival, and throughout the summer, the TanztheaterWuppertal will perform all works of influential German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in 2009. Her dance-theatre works were commissioned by cities she visited around the globe. The Festival will take place across the UK.
German artist Hans Peter Kuhn’s installation ‘Flags’ will be embedded in the dramatic landscape of the Giant’s Causeway. From August to November 2012, it will create a new visitor experience at this iconic visitor attraction in Northern Ireland.
The Barbican Art Gallery’s exhibition ‘Bauhaus: Art as Life’ is the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK in over 40 years (3 May – 12 Aug). The show is a portrait of the school and a survey of its production, and presents a history of the impact that the German craft and fine art school made on the development of architecture, photography, textiles, printing, graphic design, furniture and theatre.
And the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells will be performing ‘1936’ – a play by award-winning author and technical director Tom McNab. A take on the events that led up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which are remembered both for the American Jesse Owens winning four gold medals, and for being a pivotal moment in Hitler’s rise to power. The play will be followed by a screening of excerpts from Leni Riefenstahl’s iconic film ‘Olympia’, as well as a discussion led by Tom McNab – himself a former long-jumper and Olympic coach – with other eminent sports personalities on the panel (18 Jul – 5 Aug).
5. German celebrations in London – During the Games, German fans will be able to celebrate together at the Deutsches Haus Fan Fest. The German House will be based in the Museum of London Docklands and on a five-star cruise liner, MS Deutschland, in nearby West India Docks.