Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
1904 Summer Olympics
|Games of the III Olympiad|
The 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.
|Officially opened by||David Francis|
The 1904 Summer Olympics, formally known as the Games of the III Olympiad, were held in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States from July 1 to November 23, 1904. Chicago, Illinois won the original bid to host the games, but the organisation of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition would not accept another international event in the same time-frame. They started to organise their own sports activities, informing the Chicago OCOG they intended to eclipse the Olympic Games unless the games would be moved to St. Louis. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement, gave in.
Considered the lesser of two evils by De Coubertin, St. Louis did repeat the mistakes made at the 1900 Summer Olympics. Competitions were reduced to a side-show of the World's Fair and were lost in the chaos of other, more popular cultural exhibits. The games lasted for months; in fact, James Edward Sullivan tried to hold an event every day, for the duration of the fair. The Olympic events were again mixed with other sporting events, but where Paris hardly ever mentioned the Olympics, Sullivan called all his sports events "Olympic". From all such events, the IOC is taken to have have declared 94 events Olympic. In these event participated 689 athletes, of which 681 were men and 8 were women, from 13 countries. However only 42 events actually included athletes who were not from the United States.
- First games at which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third place.
- European tension caused by the Russo-Japanese War and the difficulty of getting to St. Louis kept many of the world's top athletes away.
- In a number of sports, the U.S. national championship was combined with the Olympic championship, because there were no competitors from other nations.
- Boxing, dumbbells , freestyle wrestling, and decathlon made their debuts.
- Marathon runners Len Tau and Jan Mashiani , Tswana tribesmen who were in St. Louis as part of the Boer War exhibit at the World's Fair, became the first Africans to compete in the Olympics.
- 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 Lightbody won the steeplechase and the 800 m and then set a world record in the 1500 m.
- Harry Hillman won 200 m and 400 m hurdles and also 400 m dash.
- Sprinter Archie Hahn was champion in the 60 m, 100 m and 200 m. In this last race, he set a new Olympic record in 21.6, a record broken only 28 years later.
- In the discus, after American Martin Sheridan had 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 Ewry again won all three standing jumps.
- The marathon was 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 Fred 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 until he was found out shortly after the medal ceremony. Banned for life by the AAU , Lorz was reinstated a year later and won the 1905 Boston Marathon.
- The Briton Thomas Hicks running for the United States was the next to cross the finish-line, after having received several doses of strychnine sulfate, and of brandy, from his trainers. He was even "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.
- Len Tau finished in ninth place. This unfortunately included running more than a kilometer off track while being chased by a dog. Presumably, a higher ranking would have been possible otherwise.
- The top foreign athlete was Emil Rausch of Germany, who won three swimming events.
- Zoltan Halmay of Hungary and Charles Daniels of the United States each won two swimming gold medals.
|1904 Summer Olympics medal count||Pos||Country||Gold||Silver||Bronze||Total|
|6||Mixed Team (ZZX)||1||1||0||2|
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