Olympiastadion: Make an Olympic Splash This Summer
Pipped to the post this year by Hamburg, Berlin lost out as potential Olympic host city. The northern city won the chance to represent Germany in the 2024 Olympic bid instead. Meanwhile, Berlin has already been there, done that and got the Olympic T-shirt. And in true Berlin style, the city does not hide the unforgettable events from the ground-breaking Olympics of 1936. Rather than lying dormant like so many other historically significant venues across town, the Olympic stadium and swimming pool are still in use.
Take a day off from the hype of the East and give the West a chance. Reachable on the U2 or the S5 and no more than 25 minutes from Alexanderplatz, the Olympiastadion is really not as far as people fear. Plus, how many other outdoor swimming pools greet you with such glory and greatness? Feel your gaze lift as the Olympic rings demand your attention. From the moment the looming circles so much as to creep into your peripheral vision, you will be gawking helplessly.
Somewhat reminiscent of a firm introductory German handshake, the imposing grey limestone of the Olympic sculpture and stadium makes for a fierce welcome. Feeling suitably inferior and unable to bear the heat any longer, I had to head for the water. I turned my back on the grounds where Jesse Owens won his 4 historic gold medals and the very grounds where Hitler infamously intended to display Aryan superiority to the world. Buzzing on a history high, I made a beeline for the former Olympic pool (regulation size, of course). If you’re going to swim in an Olympic sized pool you may as well do it properly, right? Be a good sport and all that…
|PHOTO: Alice Higgins|
And while the pool is hardly abandoned, the Olympic swimming pool will not be stealing bikini clad customers from new kids on the block, Badeschiff or Haubentaucher, anytime soon. Rough and ready around the edges, a little tender loving care wouldn’t go a miss here. But surely that’s all part of the fun? Hold onto your swimmers and take the plunge from above in the diving pool. Swim underneath an open sky and picture the huge seating blocks are filled with roaring crowds. The 8 lanes and 3 diving boards ensure there’s space for everyone. Onsite facilities also cater for every swimmer’s need: changing rooms, lockers, toilets and hot showers – the lot. Plus, even that post swim hunger is accounted for: tucked away in the corner you will find an Imbiss stocked with traditional German favourites, Currywurst and Pommes included.
If you’re keen to lap up some history while swimming laps, this is a no brainer. However, if your favourite stroke is sunstroke and your kind of swimming pool comes served in a glass at the bar, the Olympiastadion might not be gold for you.
Otherwise, you can swim like its 1936 for just 5.50€. Leave your Kiez Freibad behind and double up on history and endorphins.
By Alice Higgins