An IOC video included footage of the 1936 Olympics torch lighting.

While the 1936 Berlin Olympics featured the first modern Olympic torch relay, commemorating that isn’t always looked on fondly, especially considering how the cauldron lighting in particular was orchestrated for Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 film Olympia. Even general discussions of the torch relay and the Olympic cauldron have touched on that, sometimes with calls to get rid of the tradition altogether given its past.

So it probably wasn’t a good idea for the International Olympic Committee to post a video and tweet that included footage celebrating that 1936 torch lighting Thursday, one they eventually wound up deleting after widespread criticism (including from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum) and apologizing “to those who feel offended” for.

Here’s the preserved version of the initial tweet:

Here’s more on that from The Associated Press:

The IOC apologized on Friday and deleted a Twitter message which some saw as celebrating Nazi Germany’s hosting of the 1936 Olympics.

Joining a message thread on Thursday one year before the Olympic cauldron is lit at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games, the International Olympic Committee used its official account to tweet a film about the first-ever torch relay entering the Berlin stadium.

“We apologize to those who feel offended by the film of the Olympic Games Berlin 1936,” the IOC wrote on Friday.

“We have deleted this film, which was part of the series of films featuring the message of unity and solidarity, from the @Olympics Twitter account.”

An Agence France-Press story (via Yahoo) has more on the specific criticisms the IOC took, including the one from the Twitter account of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum:

“This is turning out to be quite a ThrowbackThursday already! Berlin 1936 marked the 1st Olympic torch relay to bring the flame to the cauldron.

“We can’t wait for the next one in Japan,” said the Berlin tweet, followed by #StrongerTogether.

The cheery tone contrasted with the images which, as well as photos of black American sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens, also showed images of the lighting of the cauldron, carefully staged by film-maker Leni Riefenstahl to serve as Nazi propaganda.

The 1936 Games were exploited by Adolf Hitler to promote Nazi ideas of racial supremacy.

The volley of critical reactions included a tweet from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum which said the “Nazi dictatorship” used the Olympics to camouflage “its racist, militaristic character” and “to impress foreign spectators with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.”

Here are the tweets the IOC sent on this front Friday from their @IOCmedia account:

That is quite the high-profile misstep. And the IOC could probably stand to be a little more careful with any future descriptions of the 1936 Olympics.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.