Summer Olympics 1920-1936
The 1916 Olympics were scheduled for Berlin, Germany, but World War I canceled the competition. However, those Games are still counted as the VI Olympiad.
The Antwerp Games were ill prepared because Belgium only had a little more than a year to prepare as host to the Games because World War I ended in 1918. Swimming and diving competitions were held in an old moat that protected Antwerp in ancient times. The Olympic stadium was still unfinished. Women slept in a YMCA building, and men slept in school barracks. Dan Aheam was thrown off the U.S. team for finding another place to stay. Also, 200 other American athletes demanded better conditions or they wouldn’t participate. The officials agreed to let Aheam back on the team, but sleeping quarters stayed the same. The American team traveled in a cramped Army ship with empty coffins and rats. Even so, the organizers were praised for throwing an Olympics together in such a short amount of time.
The VII Olympiad attracted 2,607 athletes from 29 nations to compete in 154 competitions in 21 sports. Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Hungary were not invited to the Games because they were the Central Powers in World War I, although not banned from attending. The Antwerp Olympics were held from July 7 to September 12. The Olympic Oath and Olympic Flag were introduced in these Olympics. The first person to say the oath was Victor Bion, a Belgian fencer.
Paavo Nurmi of Finland, another “Flying Finn” in track and field, won gold medals in the 10000m-race, 8000m cross-country run, and 5000m-race. Nedo Nati, an Italian fencer, won 5 gold medals in 6 fencing events, a record that still stands.
Eddie Eagan of the U.S. won gold in lightweight boxing, and also won a gold as part of the 4-man bobsled team in 1924, making him the only person to win gold medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympics.
The U.S. had the most medals with 95.
The VIII Olympiad was scheduled to be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Games was stepping down as president of the IOC, and it was agreed that the last Olympics he supervised should be in his homeland of France.
The 1924 Olympics were held from May 4 to July 27 and attracted 3,092 athletes from 44 nations. There were 126 events in 21 sports during these Games.
Paavo Nurmi of Finland was again a star in these Olympics, winning five gold track and field medals. He won the 5000m and 1500m races; the two finals were less than an hour apart! He also won gold in 10,000m cross country run, the team race in the 10000m cross country race, and the team 3000m race.
Harold Abrahams of Great Britain was the first European to win the 100m sprint. His win was depicted in the movie Chariots of Fire.
Another performance having to do with films was by Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in movies after his swimming days. The U.S. swimmer won three golds in the 400m freestyle, 100m freestyle, and 800m freestyle.
William Dehart of the U.S. was the first black person to win a gold medal. He won the long jump.
Uruguay was the first South American team to capture a gold medal in football (soccer).
Armond Blanchonnet of France, the winner of the 188 km cycling competition, finished nine minutes before the second place finisher.
The U.S. won 89 medals; the most medals in this Olympics.
The IX Olympiad represented peace and harmony. Doves were released as part of the Opening Ceremonies. Athletes from 28 nations won medals, a feat that would not be matched for 40 years. Germany competed in the Games again.
The 1928 Games were held from May 17 to August 12. Competing from 46 nations in 109 events in 46 sports were 3, 014 athletes. Women participated in track and field for the first time.
Asian athletes won medals for the first time. Milkio Oda of Japan won the triple jump, and Yoshiyaka Tsuruta, also of Japan, won gold in the 200m breaststroke. India’s men’s field hockey team won the gold medal and started an eight Olympic streak of gold medals.
Hungary’s men’s saber fencing team also started a seven Olympic winning streak.
Percy Williams of Canada became the first non-American to win both the 100m and 200m sprints.
The U.S. won the most medals with 47.
Los Angeles, United States
The X Olympiad was held from July 30 to August 14. Participating from 37 nations in 14 sporting events were 1,408 Olympians. There was a decrease in participation because of the worldwide economic depression, and because it was costly to send teams to far-off California. Even so, 18 world records and 33 Olympic records were broken or tied in this stellar Olympics.
An Olympic Village, a place where athletes from all participating countries live together, was established for the first time. Despite protests from officials, the athletes enjoyed it so much it was made a permanent part of the Olympics.
Mildred (Babe) Didrikson of the U.S. won two gold medals in the 80m hurdles and javelin throw, and a silver medal in the high jump. She actually tied with fellow American Jean Shiley, but was awarded second place after officials ruled that her jumping style was illegal.
The 1932 Olympics also introduced the medal stand, where the gold medal winner’s national anthem is played.
The U.S. won the most medals with 103.
The XI Olympiad is also known as the “Nazi Games” because Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party ran Germany at that time. Hitler used the Games for propaganda, to prove that his anti-Semitic policies could be overlooked. Anti-Jew signs were removed from public view during the Olympics, and foreign visitors were excused from racial laws.
The Games introduced televised broadcasts, with two German networks broadcasting. However, Germany put strict regulations on the media to put a positive image on the Games.
Many countries debated on whether to send athletes to the Games, since the Nazis were racial supremacists and persecuted certain groups. Going to the Games might be viewed as approving of these tactics, but not sending athletes meant not competing. In the end, few nations chose to boycott, but many Jewish athletes did not compete.
The Berlin Olympics also introduced the Olympic torch relay.
These Olympics were held from August 1 to 16. Competing in 129 events in 19 sports, from 49 countries, were 4,066 athletes.
The big story of the 1936 Olympics was Jesse Owens of the U.S. An African-American, he shattered Hitler’s ideals of Aryan supremacy with his four gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints, the long jump, and the 4x100m relay race. Though not representing Nazi beliefs, German fans loved Owens. A street in Berlin was named after him in 1980.
Germany won the most medals with 89.
1896-1912 | 1920-1936 | 1948-1960
1964-1976 | 1980-1992 | 1996-2008
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