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The Stockholm Games were a model of efficiency. The Swedish hosts introduced the first Olympic use of automatic timing devices for the track events, the photo finish and a public address system.
If there was an unofficial theme of the 1912 Games, it was endurance. The course for the cycling road race was 320km (199 miles), the longest race of any kind in Olympic history. In Greco-Roman wrestling, the middleweight semi-final match between Russian Martin Klein and Finland’s Alfred Asikainen lasted 11 hours.
For the first time, competitors in the Games came from all five continents. It was also the first time Japan participated. The modern pentathlon, women’s swimming and women’s diving all made their Olympic debuts.
Jim Thorpe, a Native American from Oklahoma, won the pentathlon and decathlon by huge margins. He was later disqualified when it was discovered that he had accepted a modest sum to play baseball before the Games. But in 1982, the IOC decided to reinstate him and gave his medals back to his daughter.
Athletes: 2,407 (48 women, 2,359 men)
A well-organised edition of the Olympics, the Stockholm Games saw the first Olympic use of automatic timing equipment, the photo finish and a public address system.
Women's swimming events made their entrance.
Japan participated for the first time
Under the nom de plume of Georges Hohrod and M. Eschbach, Baron de Coubertin was awarded first place for his "Ode to sport" which "praises sport in both a literary and sporting way". (Illustration: "Les sports d'hiver" of Carlo Pelligrini, winner of the painting competition of the Concours d'Art)
A native American from Oklahoma, Jim Thorpe, described by King Gustav V of Sweden as "the greatest athlete in the world", won the pentathlon and decathlon. However, he was disqualified in January 1913 when it was discovered that he had accepted a very modest sum of money to play baseball before the Games. In 1982, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee decided to reinstate Jim Thorpe and to give back to his daughter the medals that were rightfully his. His feat was immortalised in the film "The Bronze Man" by Michael Curtiz, with Burt Lancaster in the role of Thorpe.
For the first time, competitors in the Games came from all five continents.
With the close of the 1912 Olympics, all eyes turned towards the city of Berlin where the next edition of the Games was scheduled to take place. Although World War I made it impossible for plans to proceed, the Games proved their resilience. The 1916 celebration remained in Olympic history as the Games of the VI Olympiad and in 1920 the Olympics were once again held, with the Belgian city of Antwerp acting as Olympic host.
Stockholm 1912, Games of the V Olympiad: the Swedish team of women gymnasts parades in the stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
Official opening of the Games by:
His Majesty The King Gustav V
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, two female figures placing a laurel crown on the head of young victorious athlete.
On the reverse, a herald proclaiming the opening of the Games with, on the left, the statue of Ling, the founder of the institutions and the Swedish gym system. All around, the inscription "OLYMPISKA SPELEN STOCKHOLM 1912".
It represents the parade of nations, each athlete carrying a twirling flag and all going towards a common goal- the Olympic Games. The nudity of the athletes was a reference to the Games of Antiquity, although it was judged as too "daring" by some managers and not distributed in some countries.
Pin commemorating the Stockholm Olympic Games
Published in 1913, “The official report of the Olympic Games of Stockholm 1912: the Fifth Olympiad”, was very detailed and well structured. It consisted of one volume, published in English and Swedish.