The Unknown Champion
On 26 August 1900, the Dutch coxed pair suddenly needed a replacement coxswain. A French boy was chosen and the Dutch pair rowed to a close victory. The French boy joined in the victory ceremony and had his photograph taken. Then he disappeared. Years of research have failed to turn up a clue as to his name or his actual age. Judging a Parisian boy of 1900 with present-day eyes, he could be anywhere from 7 to 12 years old.
Prinstein refuses to take part in the final
After the preliminary rounds, Myer Prinstein (USA-athletics) was leading in the long jump competition. Because of his religious beliefs, he refused to take part in the final as this was scheduled for a Sunday. In the final, his compatriot and rival Alvin Kraenzlein beat him by one centimetre. Prinstein was allegedly so angry that he attacked and punched Kraenzlein in the face.
Several nationalities on one team
In sports such as polo, sailing, athletics and tennis, medals were won by teams comprising athletes of different nationalities.
Sailing events at two venues
The sailing regattas took place on the Seine, but in two places: on the Meulan, 20km from Paris, and in the port of Le Havre, located at the mouth of the Seine. This was due to the big draught of certain boats which prevented them from navigating the river. The categories were established according to the number of tons (the norm at the time) of the boat.
A single spectator for croquet
The croquet event had only French players, who were actually from Paris, but the only entry ticket sold for the competition was bought by an Englishman, who had travelled from Nice especially for the occasion.
Teachers versus students
In fencing, one of the competitions organised away from the Games venue pitted fencing masters against their students. The results favoured a teacher who won against his student.
Many and victorious Frenchmen
French athletes won many medals at these Games. Not only because there were many more of them than athletes from the foreign delegations, but also because certain events were entered by only French competitors.
In gymnastics, to win the title in the individual all-round event, the athlete had to shine in 16 different movements to be performed on several pieces of apparatus. Some exercises of this era, such as the 50kg stone lifting or the rope climbing, disappeared from gymnastics some time afterwards, while others, like the pole vault, changed sport.
Paris 3 June 1900, Games of the II Olympiad. Gymnasts parade in the "Vélodrome de Vincennes" during the Federal Meeting of the Union of Gymnastics Associations of France.
Official opening of the Games by: No official opening.
Lighting the Olympic Flame by: A symbolic fire at an Olympic Summer Games was first lit in 1928 in Amsterdam.
Olympic Oath by: The athletes’ oath was first sworn at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp.
Official Oath by: The officials' oath at an Olympic Summer Games was first sworn in 1972 in Munich.