St. Louis 1904

The Olympic Family

The programme of 1904

On 23 June 1994 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) celebrated though its birthday in the Sorbonne of Paris, but it is firstly baptised the term IOC in the house of the automobile club of France in Paris on 21 May 1901. To complete its tasks it took office under the name "International Committee for the Olympic Games" in 1894. In 1897 journalists have reduced this long term to International Olympic Committee, and the Swedish reporter Wolf Lyborg gives a date: 1 August 1897. It lasted four years until the fourth plenary meeting in 1901 in Paris as in the minutes of the session (twelve IOC members have participated in it) the committee have agreed on a short form: CIO = ComitÚ International Olympique (French) or IOC = International Olympic Committee. Beyond, the term session was established for the meetings of the IOC.

On the sessions in 1901 und 1903 in Paris Coubertin tried to cut the losses the Olympic movement has taken based on the disastrouse performance of the games of Paris, as well as possible. Thereby Chicago was firstly accepted as scene of the Olympic Games 1904 due to a "gift" for the IOC to the amount of 200,000 dollars. But it gave again a lot of trouble because at first the American spokesperson James Sullivan voted for Buffalo, then the American president Theodore Roosevelt argued for St. Louis since the world exhibition took place there. So the games were snatched from Chicago. A headline of the New York Times was: "The mistakes of Paris were simply repeated again."
That was again showed in a totally uncoordinated organisation of the games. In spite of the growth to 32 IOC members nobody had a correct understanding for the organisation. In a session in June 1904 a new mistake was programmed on the part of Coubertin: the games 1908 should take place in Rome. Heself did not considered his appearance in St. Louis as necessary, but he therefore preferred to visit the Bayreuth Festival. Karl August Gebhardt and Ferenc Kemeny, founder members of the IOC (see also Athens 1896), were nominated as Coubertins deputies by himself.
The German record runner and later president of the German Sport-Beh÷rde, Johannes Runge (1878-1950) wrote in a report: "The cinderpath, length a third mile, is the only one what I can praise. All other institutions are very moderate. The changing rooms are the worst. To offer foreigns athletes spared no efforts a long sea passage and travels such a room we disrelish." - About the hotel "Inside Inn" where the athletes housed he described: "Hotel is not really the correct word, large barn is the better one. A tremendous wooden house without any decoration with 5000 single and 2500 double bedrooms. The rooms are gruesome."