The production company Olympia-Film-GmbH, owned by Leni Riefenstahl and her brother Heinz, was only a front to preserve the film's political independence in front of the International Olympic Committee. It was in fact entirely funded by the Third Reich. The original contract stipulated that Olympia-Film-GmbH would be dissolved once production completed and the copyrights would be the sole property of the Reich. The dissolution only took place on 9th January 1942, with Riefenstahl being awarded 20% of the film's total earnings and naming the State as the only lawful copyright owner.
Leni Riefenstahl's visit to the United States in 1938 was mainly aimed at finding a US distributor for the film. Faced with fierce protests from many American organizations, in particular the 'Anti-Nazi League', her plan never came to fruition. The first screening in the United States was organised in Chicago in November 1938 by Avery Brundage, president of the US Olympic Committee and an ardent Nazi sympathiser. The private reception was hosted by Mrs. Claire Dux Swift, ex-wife of the German film star Hans Albers. The second screening (also private) took place on 14th December 1938 at the California Club in presence of Olympic medalists and screen Tarzans Johnny Weissmuller and Glenn Morris (Riefenstahl's ex-lover), as well as Olympic diver Marjorie Gestring. For this screening, Riefenstahl submitted a copy where she had edited out almost all the scenes featuring Hitler.
Leni Riefenstahl first contacted the biggest German film studio, Ufa, in order for them to finance the film. Friedrich A. Mainz, the studio head refused because of cost, so she contacted Tobis-Filmkunst who agreed to finance the film and put up ½ million Reichmarks upfront (three times the cost of a standard film at the time). The contract was only signed in December 1936, four months after the end of the Olympic Games.