Paris 1900

The development of sports

First-time exhibition of Polo
First-time exhibition
of Polo

Seen from today's point of view the immense number of events and participators complicates a final list of Olympic medal winners. There were countless competitions with international or purely national character, some were executed more than once, some for amateures and professionals and/or for different age groups and some have simultaneously taken place in Paris without being a part of the world exhibition. According to the Official Report more than 58,000 have participated, thereof are only 1,600 foreigners. A lot of books and authors have intensely dealt with the games of Paris and tried to get a system in that multiplicity of events. The Hungarian Ferenc Mez÷ (see main text) came to the number of 86 events, his opus influences all successors, even the IOC looks about his data. In this web presentation I am geared to it and come to 87 events.

A multiplicity of sports scheduled by the committee had been chancelled because of lack of participation. Other sports may not be considered as Olympic sports based on their purely national character and are mentioned here only marginally. The rest is to be listed now here (first-time performed are bold printed):

  • Athletics was of course the absolute highlight of the competitions, some events were also for professionals that may not be considered as Olympic with respect to the amateures' idea.
  • The exceptions was fencing like 1896; here events for fencing masters are offered and belong to the circle of Olympic events.
  • Shooting: A multiplicity of events were purely national, hundreds of Frenchmen have partially competed in. An unambiguous separation between Olympic and non-Olympic is almost impossible.
  • For the first time in programme archery: whereas archery is generally recognised, the crossbow events are not accepted because seemingly only Frenchmen have participated.
  • Likewise new were equestrian, polo and water polo; these three are recognised based on the international competition.
  • In cycling only one event was opened for amateures, for all others only professionals were admitted.
  • In gymnastics only an all-round event was performed.
  • Even in swimming between amateures and professionals it have been separated, only the former may be considered as Olympic.
  • After the cancellation in 1896 rowing is performed for the first time. Some events were devided into beginners, juniors and seniors, only the latter are generally noted as Olympic. Furthermore the men's coxed four was performed twice, both runs are valid.
  • A further programme item was also now sailing. For each weight class except course d'honneur and ships about 10 tons there were two sailing trips. Sailing stays the greatest secret of Paris since no total rating or anything else have been documented. I decided in favor of the IOC "solution".
  • Furthermore Olympic were Football, Rugby, Cricket, Croquet and Golf.
  • Tennis tournaments were also performed, four for amateurs, one for professionals, latter one does not come into the official rankings.
  • The sports boules, pelota, the automotive sports, the motorboat sport and the aviation with ballooning and hang gliding does also not belong to the official Olympic programme.
Whoever is interested in the results of the games of Paris, please have a look into Volker Kluge's chronicle about the Olympic summer games, published by Sportverlag Berlin (in German), or into the official report from 1900 (in French) on www.aafla.org.