1900 Summer Olympics

1900 Summer Olympics

Olympics infobox|1900|Summer
Name = Games of the II Olympiad

Size = 200
Optional caption =
Host city = Paris, France
Nations participating = 24
Athletes participating = 997
Events = 95 in 19 sports [http://olympic.org/uk/games/past/index_uk.asp?OLGT=1&OLGY=1900 The IOC site for the 1900 Olympic Games] claims 18 sports, but lists 19 when the "18" is clicked on. The site includes the two disciplines of swimming and water polo in the single sport "aquatics".]
Opening ceremony = May 14, 1900There were no actual ceremonies for either the opening or closing of the Games. Dates listed are for the beginning and end of competition.]
Closing ceremony = October 28, 1900
Officially opened by =
Athlete's Oath =
Judge's Oath =
Olympic Torch =
Stadium = Vélodrome de Vincennes
The 1900 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1900 in Paris, France. No opening or closing ceremonies were held but competitions began on May 14 and ended on October 28. The Games were held as part of the 1900 World's Fair. Over a thousand competitors took part in 19 different sports. Women took part in the games for the first time and Charlotte Cooper became the first female Olympic champion. The decision to hold competitions on a Sunday brought protests from many American athletes, who travelled as representatives of their colleges and were expected to withdraw rather than compete on their religious day of rest.

Most of the winners in 1900 did not receive medals, but were given cups or trophies. Professionals competed in fencing and Albert Robert Ayat, who won the épée for amateurs and masters, was awarded a prize of 3000 francs.

Some unusual events were contested for the first and only time in the history of the Games. The equestrian high and long jumps, swimming obstacle race, two-day cricket and live pigeon shooting being foremost among them.

Election of the host city

At the Sorbonne conference of 1895, Baron de Coubertin proposed that the Olympic Games should take place in 1900 in Paris. The delegates to the conference were unwilling to wait six years and lobbied to hold the first games in 1896. A decision was made to hold the first Olympic games in 1896 in Athens and that Paris would hold the second celebration instead. Despite Greek efforts to keep the Games in their country, the International Olympic Committee kept to their decision and instead offered that a separate Panhellenic Games be held in Athens in the two year intervals between the regular Olympics. Financial considerations also weighed against the permanent hosting of the Games in Greece.


The 1900 Games were held as part of the 1900 Exposition Universelle. The Baron de Coubertin believed that this would help public awareness of the Olympics and submitted elaborate plans to rebuild the ancient site of Olympia, complete with statues, temples, stadia and gymnasia. The director of the Exposition Universelle, Alfred Picard, thought sport a "useless and absurd activity"fact|date=August 2008 and after thanking de Coubertin for his plans, filed them away and nothing more came of it.

A committee was formed for the organization of the Games, consisiting of some of the more able sports administrators of the day and a provisional program was drawn up. Sports to be included at the games were track and field athletics, swimming, wrestling, gymnastics and fencing, French and British boxing, river and ocean yacht racing, cycling, golf, life-saving and archery, weightlifting, rowing, diving and water polo.

British and Irish sports associations announced a desire to compete, as did a number of powerful American universities and sports clubs. Competitors from Russia and Australia also confirmed their intentions to travel to Paris.

On November 9, 1898 the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA) put out an announcement that it would have sole right to any organised sport held during the World's Fair. It was an empty threat but Viscount Charles de La Rochefoucauld, the nominated head of the organizing committee, stepped down rather than be embroiled in the political battle.The Baron de Coubertin, who was also secretary-general of the USFSA, was urged to withdraw from active involvement in the running of the Games and did so, only to comment later, "I surrendered - and was incorrect in doing so."

The IOC ceded control of the Games to a new committee which was to oversee every sporting activity connected to the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Alfred Picard appointed Daniel Merillon, the head of the French Shooting Association as president of this organization in February 1899. Merillon proceeded to publish an entirely different schedule of events ,with the result that many of those that had made plans to compete in concordance with the original program withdrew, and refused to deal with the new committee.

Between May and October 1900, the new organizing committee held an enormous number of sporting activities alongside the Paris Exposition. The sporting events rarely used the term of "Olympic". Indeed the term "Olympic Games" was replaced by "Concours Internationaux d'exercises physiques et de sport" in the official report of the sporting events of the 1900 Exposition Universelle. The press reported competitions variously as "International Championships", "International Games", "Paris Championships", "World Championships" and "Grand Prix of the Paris Exposition".

De Coubertin commented later to friends: "It's a miracle that the Olympic Movement survived that celebration".


* Alvin Kraenzlein won the 60 metres (he was one of two people to win this event), the 110 metres, the 220 metre hurdles, and the long jump events; as of 2005, these four individual gold medals are still a record for a track and field athlete. For his victory in the long jump, he was allegedly punched in the face by his rival Meyer Prinstein, who was prevented from competing in the final by officials of Syracuse University, because it was scheduled for a Sunday.
* Charlotte Cooper was the first woman to become Olympic champion after winning the women's singles tennis competition. She later went on to win the mixed doubles tournament.
* Three marathon runners from the United States contested the result saying the French runners who got first and second places took a short cut, and the proof was they were the only contestants not spattered with mud.
* In the coxed pairs and eights events in rowing, crews replaced adult coxswain with children. The identities and ages of these boys were not recorded but they are believed to have been amongst the youngest of all Olympic competitors.


20 disciplines, comprising 19 sports, were part of the Olympic program in Paris. Weightlifting and wrestling had been dropped since the 1896 Summer Olympics, while 13 new sports were added. Swimming and water polo were considered to be two disciplines within a single sport of "aquatics" in the Olympic context.

ee also

* IOC country codes


External links

* [http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/past/index_uk.asp?OLGT=1&OLGY=1900 IOC Paris 1900 Page]
* [http://www.gbrathletics.com/olympic/other.htm GB Athletics website - Olympic Games Medallists - Other Sports - Demonstration & Unofficial Sports]
*fr icon [http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1900/1900.pdf Official Report]

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