Olympics and History of the Modern Games Paris 1900

About the Olympics and the modern games, account of the games in Paris, France in 1900.

PARIS, FRANCE, 1900

The next Olympics were held as a sidelight to the French International Exposition in Paris. French politicians got control and almost ruined the games. Some of the events were scheduled for Sunday and many of the best U.S. athletes from Princeton, Pennsylvania, and Syracuse, with their Puritan heritage, refused to compete on the Sabbath. Europeans were amazed at this attitude; to them, Sunday was the perfect day for sporting divertissements. Americans nevertheless took 17 of the 23 track and field events, with sprinter Alvin Kraenzlein and jumper Ray Ewry collecting 7 gold medals between them. The French outscored other nations, although team victories have always been unofficial. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) frowns on keeping team scores.

The field at the Bois de Boulogne, in Paris, was ideal for picnics but no place to run a race because there was no cinder track. The best throws by discus and hammer competitors landed in a grove of picturesque trees. Michel Theato, a French bread delivery man, won the marathon; some suspected he knew the road so well from his deliveries that he took a few shortcuts.

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