The story of Fishtown’s ‘Forgotten Olympian’: A swimmer who refused to salute Hitler

American reporters claimed French and Austrians, among others, were too quick to oblige Hitler, including dipping their flags to the ruler and giving the Nazi salute as they passed. The German people returned the salute, cheering loudly at each country’s obedience.

When the Americans marched, they turned to face Hitler. But instead of outstretching their arms, they removed their straw hats, and pulled them close to their hearts. The flag bearer refused to dip the flag in Hitler’s direction.

A hissing sound rose from the crowd. The sound of vibrating lips pursed together.

The Nazis blew raspberries.

A native Philadelphian absorbed the brunt of the backlash. Some believe the 1930s equivalent of Michael Phelps may have been cheated out of a medal in retaliation.

Read The Inquirer


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