St. Louis 1904

Olympic Games again an appurtenance of the world exhibition

III. Olympic Summer Games
Date July 1 - November 23
Participants 12 nations
682 athletes
(6 women)
Sports 18
Events 95
Patron Alice Roosevelt (President's daughter)
Visitors 250,000
 

Just early it was decided that the third Olympic Games should be placed in the USA that had emerged as the strongest industrial nation worldwide and whose population has reduplicated abundantly clear within close fourty years by immigration. Buffalo, St. Louis and Chicago, the second largest city after New York, had evinced their interests for the organisation. Latter wanted connect it with the 100-year anniversary since its settlement and the people have collected a kind of contribution for the IOC to the tune of 120,000 $. On 22 May 1901 the IOC's decision was indeed Chicago, patron should become the US president William McKinley who was though assassinated on 6 September and has died on 14 December of the same year. His successor has become Theodore Roosevelt, a friend of Coubertin.

The stadium of St. Louis
The stadium of St. Louis

However, in 1903, 100 years after the sale of Louisiana to the USA, St. Louis liked to commemorate the world exhibition "Louisiana Purchase Exposition" that had though to be reschudeled to 1904. J.E. Sullivan, secretary of the American Athletics Union (AAU) and of the American Olympic Committee, has attracted D.R. Francis, the director of the exhibition, with the idea to implement these games into the programm of this exhibition. Therefor he has addressed hisself to Coubertin that the games would be really performed as such Olympic games and that precious prizes will be handed out the winners. After prior consultation with Roosevelt the IOC has almost unanimously voted for St. Louis on 23 December 1902. Coubertin was even frustrated by that decision, did not travelled to the world exhibition but has spended some days in Bayreuth (Germany). How unable to organise the Americans really were, the historian David Wallenchinsky wrote in his american standard work: "President Roosevelt had argued for St. Louis, and the change from Chicago was an annoying mistake. The organisators of St. Louis were yet less competent than the hosts of Paris. The most Europeans have saved their way to the games, even Baron de Coubertin was oblivious of them. The events were spreaded over four months and a half, some of them have been contested only by Americans."

The first Black Africans
The first Black Africans
Lentauw and Yamasami

It happended in the same manner. A lot of athletes have not principally registered the games at all and passed on the travel. Only eight nations have sent athletes from their home to the USA; Austria, France and Switzerland were represented only by athletes who were training in American clubs. The largest contingent had still the Canadians with 52 participators, the Germans had the second largest with 17 competitors. The most of the about 400 events were inherently a purely American matter so that the most events are not noted as Olympic based on their purely national character. Furthermore, only the athletic's competitions from 29 August to 3 September have been signified as "Olympic Games". Besides, the competitions have dragged on over a couple of months, similar to Paris. By the means of the games of St. Louis it became clear that the international sport was still in its infancy.

An definite body of rules and regulations did not exist since only a few sports were internationally performed like the tennis tournament of Wimbledon since 1877, cycling since 1893, weightlifting since 1893 etc. The rule of women was also still uncertain, only six have participated. Men of colour have firstly competed in that year, and medals are directly won by George Poage and Joseph Stadler. Even two exotics with the Zulu members Lentauw and Yamasami tarried in St. Louis as worker of a South African exhibition corporation have started in the marathon. But it has to be mentioned that an anthropological exhibition included in the world exhibition let be the Olympics suspicous to be racist. The sportsmen above prove this claim wrong.
Besides, the résumé remains that the games have ended again only as an appurtenance of a world exhibition visited by almost 20 millions people, and was threatening to finally go under in their depth.

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Medal Tally
# Country G S B
1 USA 80 84 84
2 Germany 4 4 4
3 Canada 4 1 1
4 Cuba 4 0 0
5 Austria 2 1 1
5 Hungary 2 1 1
7 Great Britain 1 1 0
8 Greece 1 0 1
8 Switzerland 1 0 1
10 France 0 2 0