Monday, August 15, 2016

Egyptian Olympics Tales : The Egyptian Olympian and the false Aryan supremacy

It was in summer 1936 when Adolf Hitler used to the summer Olympics in Berlin as his biggest propaganda tool to spread the ideas of Nazism and Aryan racial supremacy.
The Nazi leader made sure that his athletes were the best and the strongest, especially the strongest to send a clear message : The Aryans were the masters of the world and they were the new world power.
It was not about the Olympic spirit, it was about Aryan supremacy. Yet amazingly , a simple young dark Egyptian man proved Hitler wrong.
That young Egyptian man was legendary weightlifter Khadr El-Touni.
Khadr El-Touni
Khadr El-Touni with the Egyptian National weightlifting team in
the 1940s 
The 1916-Cairo born made history not only when he broke the world record for his 75 kg class once again in the 1936 Olympics but also when he proved that both Hitler as well the international weightlifting Federation were wrong.
In 1925, the son of a simple leather shop owner in Cairo's Shubra already broke the world record in a local competition amazingly for his class but the International Weightlifting federation did not recognize it. For some reason , the federation believed then that the young Egyptian was bluffing and lying as no man could not lift up 107.5 kg.
Months later , the federation was proven wrong when El-Touni broke the world and Olympic records once again for three times  in Berlin.
He did not only crush the world and Olympic records but also crushed his German rivals whom Hitler was presenting as a proof of the white Aryanism supremacy.
The 20-years-old Egyptian was facing, Germany's Rudolf Ismayer and Adolf Wagner despite all the Nazi propaganda that they are the strongest men on earth.
El-Touni between Ismayer and Wanger in Berline 1936 "Getty Images
El-Touni between Ismayer and Wanger in Berline 1936
"Getty Images" 
Khadr El-Touni lifted up a total of 387.5 kg winning the Gold medal of weightlifting in his class for Egypt. His German competitors won the silver and bronze medals.
El-Touni between Ismayer and Wanger in Berline 1936 "Getty Images
El-Touni and his German rivals in Berlin 1936 "Getty images" 
El-Touni is said to impress the Führer of Germany himself then. Reportedly while awarding him with the Gold medal , Hitler told him that he wished that him "El-Touni" were a German. He also told him that Egypt should be proud of him. Hitler even named a street in Berlin after that Egyptian African Arab man.
That short tale of El-Touni in Nazi Germany actually deserves to be a drama film.
Of course, he was not the only African to impress Helter and prove that his theory was wrong as African American Jesse Owens who won 4 gold medals in those Olympics games.
El-Touni would be ranked as a legendary weightlifter topping the International federation of Weightlifting's History's 50 greatest weightlifters for decades till 1996 when Turkish weightlifter Naima Süleymanoğlu replaced him.
Khadr El-Touni 
Our legendary weightlifter represented Egypt later in 1948 London Olympics where he could not get a medal because of his illness. Nevertheless, he came in the fourth place.
In 1956 , he died in Cairo unfortunately in an accident while doing house repairs.
Thought they could not score gold medals like El-Touni in the 1930s , new Olympians Sarah Samir and Mohamed Ihab are now officially called "El-Touni's grandchildren" and they deserve it.
It is noticeable that they are just like El-Touni coming from humble working classes that already lift even heavier weights than in weightlifting : The burden of life itself.
I must thank dear Ahmed Abdel Rasoul for reminding me with that great Egyptian forgotten hero.

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