- 1904 Summer Olympics
Name = Games of the III Olympiad
Host city = St. Louis,
Size = 200
Nations participating = 12
Athletes participating = 651
Events = 91 in 17
Opening ceremony =
July 1, 1904
Closing ceremony =
November 23, 1904
Officially opened by = David Francis
The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, were an
international multi-sport eventwhich was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouriin the United Statesfrom July 1, 1904to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Fieldon the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.cite book|last=Christen|first=Barbara S. |coauthors=Steven Flanders|title=Cass Gilbert, Life and Work: Architect of the Public Domain|publisher=W. W. Norton & Company|date=November 2001|pages=257|isbn=978-0393730654|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=_a7CkRmc8oIC&pg=PA257&dq=%221904+Summer+Olympics%22&ei=7yVMSIqCMIfQigGW-t3OCg&sig=t_bej9ZBdpnb7NbiOeL73TvdAQc|accessdate=2008-06-08]
The city of Chicago had won the original bid to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but the organizers of the
Louisiana Purchase Expositionin St. Louis would not accept another international event in the same time frame.
The exposition organization began to plan for its own sports activities, informing the Chicago OCOG that its own international sports events intended to eclipse the Olympic Games unless they were moved to St. Louis.
Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement, gave in and awarded the games to St. Louis.
St. Louis organizers repeated the mistakes made at the
1900 Summer Olympicsin Paris. Competitions were reduced to a side-show of the World's Fair and were lost in the chaos of other, more popular cultural exhibits. David Francis, the President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, declined to invite anybody else to open the Games and, on July 1did so himself in a scaled-down short and humdrum "ceremony".
Officially, the games lasted for four and a half months; in fact,
James Edward Sullivantried to hold an event every day for the duration of the fair. The Olympic caliber events were again mixed with other sporting events, but where as Paris hardly ever mentioned them, Sullivan called all his sports events "Olympic." The IOClater declared that 94 of these events were Olympic.
The participants totaled 651 athletes - 645 men and 6 women representing 12 countries. However, only 42 events (less than half) actually included athletes who were "not" from the United States. The actual athletics events that formed the bulk of the recognized Olympic sports were held from Monday,
August 29to Saturday, September 3rd.
* European tension caused by the
Russo-Japanese Warand the difficulty of getting to St. Louis kept many of the world's top athletes away.
* In a number of sports, because there were no competitors from other nations, the U.S. national championship was combined with the Olympic championship (and other events such as a local
Boxing, dumbbells, freestyle wrestling, and the decathlonmade their debuts.
* One of the most remarkable athletes was the American gymnast
George Eyser, who won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood.
* Chicago runner
Jim Lightbodywon the steeplechase and the 800 m and then set a world record in the 1500 m.
Harry Hillmanwon both the 200 m and 400 m hurdles and also the flat 400 m.
Archie Hahnwas champion in the 60 m, 100 m and 200 m. In this last race, he set an Olympic record in 21.6, a record that stood for 28 years.
* In the discus, after American
Martin Sheridanhad thrown exactly the same distance as his compatriot, Ralph Rose(39.28 m), the judges gave them both an extra throw to decide the winner. Sheridan won the decider and claimed the gold medal.
Ray Ewryagain won all three standing jumps.
marathonwas the most bizarre event of the Games. It was run in brutally hot weather, over dusty roads, with horses and automobiles clearing the way and creating dust clouds.
**The first to arrive was
Frederick Lorz, who actually was just trotting back to the finish line to retrieve his clothes, after dropping out after nine miles. When the officials thought he had won the race, Lorz played along with his practical joke until he was found out shortly after the medal ceremony and was banned for a year by the AAU for this stunt, later winning the 1905 Boston Marathon.
** mixed with brandy from his trainers. He was supported by his trainers when he crossed the finish, but is still considered the winner. Hicks had to be carried off the track, and possibly would have died in the stadium, had he not been treated by several doctors.
**A Cuban postman named
Felix Carbajaljoined the marathon. He had to run in street clothes that he cut around the legs to make them look like shorts. He stopped off in an orchard en route to have a snack on some apples, which turned out to be rotten. The rotten apples caused him to have to lie down and take a nap. Despite falling ill to apples he finished in fourth place.
** The marathon included the first two black Africans to compete in the Olympics; two Tswana tribesmen named
Len Tau(real name: Len Taunyane) and Yamasani (real name: Jan Mashiani). But they weren't there to compete in the Olympics, they were actually the sideshow. They had been brought over by the exposition as part of the Boer War exhibit (both were really students from Orange Free Statein South Africa, but this fact was not made known to the public). Len Tau finished ninth and Yamasani came in twelfth. This was a disappointment, as many observers were sure Len Tau could have done better if he had not been chased nearly a mile off course by aggressive dogs.
* The top foreign athlete was
Emil Rauschof Germany, who won three swimming events.
Zoltan Halmayof Hungaryand Charles Daniels of the United States each won two swimming gold medals.
* The organizers of the games held "Anthropology Days" on
August 12and 13. Various indigenous men from around the world, who were at the World's Fair as part of the exhibits, competed in various events for anthropologists to see how they compared to the white man.
18 disciplines, comprising 16 sports, were part of the Olympic program in 1904.
*Basketball was featured as a
*Baseball was featured as a
Athletes from only twelve nations competed in St. Louis. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of known competitors for each nation.
* [http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/past/index_uk.asp?OLGT=1&OLGY=1904 International Olympic Committee St Louis 1904]
* [http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1904/1904lucas.pdf The Olympic Games 1904, Charles J.P. Lucas]
* [http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1904/1904lucas.pdf Spalding's Athletic Almanac for 1905]
* [http://www.einsteinsrefrigerator.com/st_louis_olympics/index.html 1904 St. Louis Olympics Games] at [http://home.nycap.rr.com/useless/ Useless Information]
* [http://exhibits.slpl.org/lpe/data/lpe240023235.asp?thread=240030551 Competitions on Anthropology Days]
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