Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1904 St Louis Olympics - an entertaining shambles

I have just been reading about the 1904 Olympics, which were hardly Olympics at all. (Either were the 1900 version actually). It was supposed to happen in Chicago, while St Louis was holding the World's Fair. Then the World's Fair organisers announced their intention to hold their own sporting tournament that would blow Chicago's off the map. They had the IOC over a barrel and the Baron himself, Pierre de Courbetin, officially awarded them the games.

Some fun facts from St Louis quoted from Wikipedia;
  • Various indigenous men from around the world, who were at the World's Fair as part of the Department of Ethnology exhibits, competed in various events for anthropologists to see how they compared to the white man.
  • 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.
  • A Cuban postman named Felix Carbajal joined the marathon, arriving at the last minute. 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.

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