Olympics History >> St. Louis 1904 >> St. Louis 1904

St. Louis 1904

The Games falter once more

Ironically, the organisation of another International Exhibition contributed to the moving of the 1904 Games' venue from Chicago to Saint-Louis, Missouri, from July 1 to November 23.

The decision was taken personally by Theodore Roosevelt to mark the centenary of Louisana's links with the United States.

But the mix of people produced a second organisational disaster after Paris. The Olympic image emerged tarnished.

Sparse participation

St. Louis brought together around 600 athletes, 580 of them Americans, from only a dozen countries. The long Atlantic crossing discouraged many teams from making the effort to turn up.

But those who did benefitted from their fellow citizens, already on American soil, to win several medals.

St. Louis produced a local hero - Archie Hahn, who won three titles (60m, 100m and 200m) in athletics.

*For the very first time winners received gold medals, with the Americans receiving the majority, winning 79 gold and 244 medals in total.

But, as in Paris, the Olympic Games did not really come to life. Too many categories, too spread out, too many attractions besides sport. Barely two thousand spectators followed the athletics events.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

Moment in Time