London 2012

1900 - Paris

Last Updated: 20/06/12 2:10pm

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Alvin Kraenzlein: Won four athletics events.

Alvin Kraenzlein: Won four athletics events.

Far from being the huge spectacle they are today, the second Olympic Games was spread over five months and incorporated as part of the Paris World's Fair.

In this Year...

  • Golfing legend Harry Vardon wins his one and only US Open to go along with his record six victories in the Open Championship.
  • Yorkshire completes the County Championship season unbeaten, the first time this has happened since the start of the official championship in 1890.
  • The first line of the Paris Metro is opened during the World's Fair being held in the city.
  • Several sports took place for the first and only time in the Olympics such as automobile and motorcycle racing, ballooning, cricket and croquet.
  • Dwight F. Davis creates the Davis Cup tennis tournament.
  • Ramsay MacDonald is appointed secretary of the newly formed British Labour Party in the UK.
  • Louis Lassen of Louis' Lunch in Connecticut is credited with serving the first ever hamburger.

No opening or closing ceremonies were held, as there was much less emphasis on the Olympic status of the events and they were seen by many as just another part of the huge fair going on in the French capital at the time.

Several sports took place for the first and only time in the Olympics such as automobile and motorcycle racing, ballooning, cricket, croquet, 200m swimming obstacle race and underwater swimming.

Women made their first appearance in the modern Games with France's Mme Brohy and Mlle Ohnier taking part in croquet.

The first female champion was Britain's Charlotte Cooper in the tennis. Tennis was one of five sports (also football, polo, rowing and tug of war) in which athletes from different nations competed on the same team.

Cups or trophies replaced medals in most events, while some athletes, such as professional fencer Albert Robert Ayat, was awarded a cash prize of 3,000 francs for winning.

Alvin Kraenzlein won four athletics events (60m, the 110m hurdles and 200m hurdles, and the long jump) in three days - an individual record which stands today.

Ray Ewry, who had overcome childhood polio, won three championships in one day all in the standing jump events.

American marathon runners launched a complaint of the result of their race, saying the French athletes coming first and second had taken a short cut - pointing to the fact the duo were the only two not covered in mud as proof.Olympic Stars:

In just the second Olympics, American Alvin Kraenzlein set a standard in track and field that no other athlete has ever managed to match so far in history - as he bagged four individual gold medals.

Kraenzlein won the 60m, the 110m hurdles, the 200m hurdles and the long jump, with his 60m and long jump success coming by just inches. He later went on to become dentist and then a track coach.

Ray Ewry spent part of his childhood in a wheelchair with polio, with his family fearing he would be paralysed for life, making his domination of jumping even more remarkable.

Ewry won the standing long jump, high jump and triple jump in Paris, and went on to become the third most successful Olympic athlete of all time as he defended all three tiles in St Louis and two more out of three in London.

Charlotte Cooper will forever go down in history as the first female Olympic champion when she won the tennis event in Paris in 1900, in fact she won two titles as she also won the mixed doubles with Reginald Doherty.

A five-time Wimbledon champion, Cooper stayed entrenched in tennis even after her two titles in Paris, playing competitively well into her 50s while her husband went on to become president of the LTA.

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