1904 - St Louis

Last Updated: 20/06/12 2:09pm

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Archie Hahn: Two victories.

Archie Hahn: Two victories.

Once again the Olympic competitions were spread out over four and a half months and were lost in the chaos of a World's Fair.

In this Year...

  • Longacre Square in Midtown Manhattan in New York is renamed Times Square after The New York Times.
  • The Entente Cordiale is signed between the UK and France.
  • Boston American pitcher Cy Young throws the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball, against the Philadelphia Athletics.
  • The International Federation of Association Football, FIFA, is established in Paris.
  • The USA gains control of the Panama Canal zone for $10 million and begins construction of the famous canal.

Given the distance needed to travel and St Louis not being seen as a major city by many, just over 100 of the 651 came from outside of the United States, and most of them came from Canada.

They were the first games at which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third place, while boxing and freestyle wrestling made their debuts.

One man who did not get a gold was Fred Lorz, who travelled part of the marathon course in a car, and was almost announced as the winner before the truth came out and Thomas Hicks was awarded the gold medal instead.

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.

American gymnast George Eyser won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood.

Chicago runner James Lightbody won the steeplechase and the 800m and then set a world record in the 1,500m in a superb performance.

Another great display came from 'The Milwaukee Meteor' Archie Hahn, champion in the 60m and 100m, who set a new Olympic record of 21.6 seconds in the 200m - a feat that would not be broken for 28 years.Olympic Stars:

Sprinter Archie Hahn became champion in the 60m, 100m and 200m and was one of the best sprinters of the early 20th century.

In this last race, the 200m, the University of Michigan product he set an Olympic record of 21.6 seconds, a blistering record that stood for a whopping 28 years.

George Eyser's story is one of the most remarkable in the Olympics as he somehow managed six gymnastics medals despite his left leg being made of wood.

The German-born American won three golds, in the parallel bars, vault and rope climbing, and also added silvers in the combined event and pommel horse and a bronze sealed a memorable performance on the horizontal bar.

In an Olympics very poorly attended by Europeans, German swimmer Emil Rausch was the top non-American performer in St Louis with three medals over a wide variety of distances.

Rausch won bronze in the 220 yard freestyle but performed even better over the longer distances with gold medals coming in both the 880 yard freestyle and one mile freestyle races.

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