Sven Ihbe carries the Olympic Flame along the Berlin Wall during Day 26 of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay on June 30, 2004 in Berlin, Germany. The Olympic Flame travels to 34 cities in 26 countries en route to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games
It was twenty years ago at 7 p.m. on November 9, 1989, that a member of the East German government declared at a press conference that, effective immediately, East Germans were free to travel. The Berlin Wall was down. The world rejoiced.
Within hours of the Wall coming down, there was speculation of a Berlin Olympic bid and talk of a joint East-West Olympic team. In 1990 before reunification was complete a West German team won the FIFA World Cup in Italy with a 1-0 victory against Argentina. It wasn’t long after that the world witnessed a united German team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
As Deutsche Welle reports not everyone in the former East Germany waited until the Wall came down to go west. Axel Mitbauer, a member of the GDR national swim team, was the only top athlete to actually use his sport to flee East Germany. Follow this link to read the full article.
In this special gallery we publish some Getty Images photographs of the wall in recent times.