With colourful shoelaces, “Düsseldorf Rhein-Ruhr” campaigned to host the Summer Olympic Games in North Rhine-Westphalia. After Munich in 1972, it was high time for the world sporting event to come to Germany again in 2012. The colour scheme combined all of the national flags of the world distributed on a percentage basis. The bid was unsuccessful – London won the race for 2012.
This was the third attempt to bring the Games to North Rhine-Westphalia. This great enthusiasm for competition under the five rings is an indicator of the growing role of sport in society. In the late 1960s, sport was the weapon of choice in the fight against obesity and cardiovascular disease in order to relieve the burden on the healthcare sector. Jürgen Palm of Solingen developed the campaign “Get fit through sport!”, which produced a multitude of fitness trails and the beloved mascot “Trimmy”. Unlike the Olympic bid, Palm’s campaign was very successful: the “nation of couch potatoes” is a thing of the past.
Now, North Rhine-Westphalia wants to make history in 2036; private and public initiatives are again hoping to bring home the Olympic Games. They aim to particularly score points with sustainability: the Rhine and Ruhr region boasts plentiful, modern and well-developed stadia, sporting facilities and transport links. The organisers plan to consciously distance the event from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games run by the National Socialists. 100 years later, this is to be a diverse, welcoming and colourful world celebration of sport taking place under democratic auspices.