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Unfortunately, the St Louis Games repeated all of the mistakes of 1900. The various competitions were spread out over four-and-a-half months and became lost in the chaos of a World’s Fair celebrating the purchase of the Louisiana territory from France.
The 1904 Olympic Games were the first at which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third place. Boxing, freestyle wrestling, decathlon and a dumbbells event all made their debuts on the programme.
Thomas Hicks of the US won the marathon after the disqualification of his fellow countryman Fred Lorz, who had covered a large part of the 40 kilometres in a car, getting out just before the finish!
Archie Hahn, known as the Milwaukee Meteor, won the 60m, 100m and 200m. In the 200m, he ran an Olympic record time of 21.6 seconds, a record that would stand for 28 years. 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.
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Four new additions were made to the competition schedule for these Games – the sports of boxing and wrestling (freestyle discipline), plus a dumbbells events and a decathlon event.
Thomas Hicks of the United States won the marathon after the disqualification of his fellow countryman Fred Lorz (opposite picture, caricatured by Hugo Ewerien), who had covered a large part of the 40 kilometres in a car. Lorz did at least get out of the car just before the finish!
Saint-Louis 1904. F.J.V. Skiff, Director of Exhibits, presenting the Skiff Cup to Archie HAHN of the United States, donated as a prize to winner of the 100m dash.
Official opening of the Games by:
Mr David Francis, president of Louisiana Purchase Exposition
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.
On the obverse, an athlete standing on some steps, holding in his right hand a laurel crown, symbol of victory, and raising his left arm. In the background, a bas relief illustrating the sports disciplines from Antiquity. Behind, a Greek temple. Above the figure of the athlete, the inscription "OLYMPIAD" and on the rock bottom right "1904".
On the reverse, the goddess Nike, goddess of victory, standing on a globe. She is holding a laurel crown in her left hand and a palm leaf in her right hand. In front of her, a great crown, with in the centre a space for putting the name of the sports discipline. Behind Nike, the bust of Zeus on a plinth. The inscription "UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION ST.-LOUIS U.S.A". The design of these two sides was inspired by the medal of the 1896 Athens Games and 1900 Paris Games.
It shows a view of the host city, enhanced by the use of a "fish's eye" effect. It is the reproduction of the cover of the programme of the Games.
Pin commemorating the St. Louis Olympic Games
As for the previous edition in Paris, the Games of the III Olympiad were just one part of the programme of the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis. No official report on the Games was published by the Organising Committee. However, two works published in English in 1905 are jointly regarded as the official reports on these Games, namely “The Olympic Games”1904 by Charles J.P. Lucas, and the “Review of the Olympic Games of 1904”by James E. Sullivan. The latter is more detailed and includes photographs.