For years, passers-by have been amazed by the statue, which seems to bring the Hitler salute. It was already clear that this is not the case: the work of art dates from 1928, years before the Nazis came to power in Germany.
The explanation was always that the athlete brought a Roman greeting, a gesture introduced at the 1924 Olympics as the Olympic greeting. The Dutch sculptor Gra Rueb immortalised that gesture at the Amsterdam edition in 1928.
When Mussolini came to power, the gesture was used more and more in Italy. Also Hitler’s Nazi party eventually took over the salute.
In Trouw director Ellen van Haaren says that the statue will get a place inside the stadium. “It’s just to be seen on tours, then we can explain it.”
The 3 meter high statue is meant to honour Baron Van Tuyll of Serooskerken, the first chairman of the Dutch Olympic Committee and the man who managed to bring the Games to our country.
The Olympic salute was abolished after the Second World War because of its connotation with the Hitler salute.