Bid and preparations for the Olympics

Photos of the preparations for the 1972 Olympics - Photo: Aldiami/Herbert Michalke

From "Millionendorf" (village of a million) to metropolis

The idea of Munich's bid to host the 1972 Summer Olympics, put forward by then NOK President Willi Daume, quickly met with great enthusiasm from Munich's Lord Mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel and broad public support. From the beginning, the bid was also politically motivated: The Games were seen as an opportunity to modernize Munich and to present Germany internationally as a democratically consolidated, cosmopolitan country more than 20 years after the end of the war. Munich 1972 was to be the counter-draft to the Nazi propaganda event of Berlin 1936. On December 31, 1965, Munich submitted its official bid to the IOC. The acceptance of the bid to host the XX Olympic Games on April 26, 1966, marked the beginning of six years of massive changes in the Bavarian capital's infrastructure and cityscape, all of which were to follow the approach of sustainability. The acceptance accelerated the realization of the already existing plans for the construction of Munich's subway and commuter rail system. The U6 and the then "Olympic Line" U3 were completed in time for the Games. In May 1972, the Munich S-Bahn was opened with over 360 kilometers of track. At the same time of the development of the underground, the surface of the city also changed: The pedestrian zone was created between Marienplatz and Stachus, and the construction of the Mittlerer Ring was completed in time. BMW also pushed the pace after and visually completed its futuristic four-cylinder skyscraper in the immediate vicinity of the Olympic site in time for the Games. The motto "Olympic Games in the countryside" and the Oberwiesenfeld site were chosen by the city council as the concept for the construction of the central Olympic site with sports facilities and athletes' accommodations. On the once flat Oberwiesenfeld, a largely fallow hilly landscape of 10,000,000 cubic meters of war debris had grown up in the post-war period. A thoroughly symbolic location. The visionary overall architectural concept for the competition venues and surrounding green areas was designed by the architectural firm of Günter Behnisch und Partner, while the landscape design of the Olympic Park was the responsibility of landscape architect Günther Grzimek. The center of the site became the Olympic Stadium, sunk into the green hills, with capacity for 77,000 spectators. The stadium, Olympic Hall and Olympic Swimming Hall were spanned and connected by the revolutionary and now iconic tent roof construction by Behnisch & Partner and Frei Otto. As a "city within the city," the Olympic Village for the athletes was created in brutalist-looking concrete architecture. The already standing TV tower was integrated into the ensemble as the Olympic Tower. The construction measures for the Olympic Games in Munich cost almost two billion deutschmarks. An investment in the future, because without the characteristic buildings that are still in use today, modern Munich would be unthinkable. The overall visual concept of the Munich Games was complemented by the design commissioner Otl Aicher, who created the "corporate design" with the rainbow colors (albeit without red), uniforms, posters and logo for the Games. His radically simplified pictograms developed for Munich 1972 became a universal, international design classic. The mascot became a literally colorful dog named "Waldi": a dachshund, a popular pet in Munich and Bavaria, in Aicher's colors.