Eighty years ago this month, the United States competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, and 18 African-American athletes were part of the U.S. squad.
Track star Jesse Owens, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, won four gold medals. What the 17 other African-American Olympians did in Berlin, though, has largely been forgotten — and so too has their rough return home to racial segregation.
“Determination! That’s what it takes,” one of the athletes, John Woodruff, said during a 1996 oral history interview for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “A lot of fire in the stomach!”
Woodruff won the gold medal in the 800-meter race — and he did it in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.
“There was very definitely a special feeling in winning the gold medal and being a black man,” Woodruff said. “We destroyed his master-race theory whenever we start winning those gold medals.”
Photo: Bettman Archive/Getty Images Caption: At the 1936 Olympics, 18 black athletes went to Berlin as part of the U.S. team. Pictured here are (left to right rear) Dave Albritton, and Cornelius Johnson, high jumpers; Tidye Pickett, a hurdler; Ralph Metcalfe, a sprinter; Jim Clark, a boxer, and Mack Robinson, a sprinter. In front are John Terry, (left) a weight lifter and John Brooks, a long jumper.
Executive Producers John Stephens and Ken Woodruff, along with Catwoman actress Camren Bicondova and Poison Ivy actress Maggie Geha, recently spoke with IGN about the popular character, and that while we will see the character in season three, fans very well might have already met her.
“You may have already seen Harley as a person that you thought you had met and known for a long time. So we always reserve the right to sort of do that as well,” said Woodruff. To which Bicondova, who was standing beside Woodruff, reacted with a genuinely surprised, “Ummm, I didn’t know that!”
Stephens added that Harley is a bit more complicated than Ivy or Croc, and that she does have connections to the Joker mythology they’ve setup in the show.
“The Harley Quinn of it all is a bit more of a sticky wicket but it’s one we’ve already thought about for the character,” Stephens said. “We don’t want to give too much away but it will definitely be someone connected to the Joker cult world that we have set up. But it’s down the road, later in Season Three right now.”
It helps that Harley’s best friend Poison Ivy is already on the show, and Geha couldn’t be more excited about getting to share the screen with her.
“I would love, love, love, love to see Harley Quinn. In the comics she and Ivy and Harley Quinn are very close. In fact, I’m pretty sure in the comics they just formally announced that they’re girlfriends. Just as an actor I would love it for them to bring Harley Quinn onto the show. I would love that. I hope they do one day. That would be great. It would be so much fun for me.”