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The Olympics have long been documented on film, starting when cameramen recorded early 20th-century Games for posterity. It was German director Leni Riefenstahl, however, who was the first to elevate what had once been plodding newsreels of ceremonies and competitions into visual art with her 1938 two-part documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympics, “Olympia.”

While celebrating Aryan beauty and grace to the delight of her Nazi employers, Riefenstahl also brought drama and excitement to her film of the Games, most notably in the sequences illustrating the triumphs of Black American track star Jesse Owens.

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