But Owens kept on clapping for her, and Riefenstahl rose and started forward. And then one man in the middle of the crowd got to his feet and joined Owens in the applause, and that started it. One by one, as the old lady came forward, the crowd began to rise and cheer. At first the people were dubious, and then they were polite, and then they were genuine, and then they gave her such roars, such honor that Leni, even though she was organized like a man, began to cry like a woman.
When she got to the front of the room, Owens kissed her, and all of a sudden it was 1936 again. "I thank you," Leni said, leaning on Jesse a little, letting him support her a bit. And the people in the room kept cheering, calling her name. It was very nearly like a fairy tale. That was one of the few times in the last 40 years that Leni Riefenstahl was allowed to be a person, like the rest of us. It was one of the better of her days that had been left over from the six she had given to Adolf Hitler.