It was also a welcome, if not surprising, spike in gold medals for the German artists, who won five of the nine gold medals awarded that year. (By contrast, their combined gold-medal count from the 1928 and 1932 Summer Olympics had come to a grand total of one.) German musicians also swept the Musical Composition for Solo and Chorus category.
Charles Downing Lay was the only American to win a medal in 1936, taking home silver in the Municipal Planning division of the Architecture category for his design titled "Marine Park in Brooklyn." A pair of German brothers called Werner and Walter March took home gold in that category for their design "Reich Sport Field." The latter was based on the Olympiastadion, an original structure designed by Werner that had been built to scale right there in Berlin over the course of the previous two years. It was currently housing the Olympic competitions in handball, equestrian, soccer, and track and field, and in fact, it's still in use today.
GLITCHES IN THE PROGRAMMING
The German organizers of the 1936 Games did, of course, run into their share of problems in putting together an art competition; for starters, the German people distinctly lacked interest in it.
But according to the Official Report, that was nothing a little propaganda campaign couldn't fix:
Because of the slight interest which the general public had hitherto evidenced in the Olympic Art Competition and Exhibition, it was necessary to emphasize their cultural significance to the Olympic Games through numerous articles in the professional and daily publications as well as radio lectures.
At the same time an appropriate poster had to be designed in order to attract as many visitors as possible. ... The poster [designed by Dresden artist Willy Petzold], which revealed an antique head wearing a victor's band, was printed in a rich bronze, and 7,000 copies were displayed in the stations of the state, underground and municipal railways in addition to the Berlin museums, hotels, theatres, restaurants, cafes and shops. It proved to be extremely effective and contributed in no small degree to the surprising success of the Exhibition.
Still, other issues lurked. Due dates for art competition entries had to be extended that year; as a result of "special conditions existing in several nations and the consequent uncertainty of whether they would participate in the Olympic Games," the deadlines were pushed back four weeks into the late spring of 1936. A quick consultation of the historical accounts of the months leading up to the Summer Olympics provides a clue as to what those "special conditions" may have been—though boycott movements in Great Britain, France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands had been abandoned soon after the United States decided to compete in December of 1935, countries like the Soviet Union and Spain were still holding fast to their promises to skip the Games. (That deadline extension proved beneficial, however, to the U.S. Olympic art effort: The extra time allowed the French ambassador Charles Sherrill, an Olympic art enthusiast and IOC member, to successfully coax American expatriate artists living in Paris to enter their work into the competition.)