Paris was the hub of the civilised world in the 1920s, serving as temporary home to Hemingway, Joyce, Picasso and Stravinsky. During a heatwave it was probably not the greatest place for a sports festival but the Games proved a success.
Although the finals of the 1,500 and 5,000 metres had been scheduled only 55 minutes apart, the relentless Finn Paavo Nurmi won both. On the following day, with temperatures hovering around 35 degrees Celsius, he won the individual and a team gold in the cross country. A fifth gold medal came from the 3,000 metres team event.
Briton Harold Abrahams was as far ahead in his attitude to an amateur sport as Nurmi. Abrahams employed a professional coach who helped him become the first European to win the 100 metres title.
Johnny Weissmuller, best known of the screen Tarzans, won his first three gold medals in the pool and the Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) was introduced.
** The 1924 Games was originally awarded to Amsterdam, but
IOC president Baron de Coubertin, then in his last term requested that the Games
be transferred to Paris, in the hope that the bad image acquired in 1900 could
** The IOC for the first time during the
1924 Games, had taken steps to impose it authority on the staging of the
Olympics so that never again could a host country add events as it wished. So
this was the first IOC controlled Games.
** Although an
Olympic village had been proposed for the 1924 Games, the idea was not carried
through. The competitors were housed in huts scattered around the main site.
** Although four of the five 'enemy' countries accepted
invitation for the 1924 Games, Germany was still not present due to its frosty
relations with the host nation, because of the tension surrounding the payment
of war reparations to France.
** Among the newcomers for
the 1924 Games, Ireland was competing separately from Brtain for the first time.
** The newly instituted Olympic motto, Citius, Altius,
Fortius (faster, higher, stronger), originally composed by Father Henri Didon in
1895, was impemented to the letter during the 1924 Games.
** In the 1924 Games the Closing Ceremony ritual of raising
the three flags: the flag of the IOC, the flag of the host nation and the flag
of the next host nation was introduced for the first time.
** William DeHart Hubbard of the USA became the first black
athlete to win a gold medal in an individual event when he won the long jump in
the 1924 Games.
** Robert Legendre, who had failed to
qualify for the US team in the long jump, set a world record in the event while
competing in the pentathlon just a day before the long jump final of the 1924
** The remarkable Finnish long distance runner Paavo
Nurmi won the 1500m and 5000m golds within 100 minutes on the same day during
the 1924 Games. He later went on to win three other golds in the 3000m team race
and 10,000m cross-country team and individual events.
Two Britons during the 1924 Games scored upsets wins when Harold Abrahams became
the first European to win an Olympic 100m title, while Eric Liddle set a world
record in taking the 400m.
** New Zealand's Arthur Porritt
who won the bronze medal in the 100m event in the 1924 Games, later went on to
become his country's Governor-General, and for more than 30 years, as surgeon to
** American Harold Osborn won the gold in the
high jump in the 1924 games had the habit of pressing the bar back against the
uprights with his hand as he jumped, using the Western Roll technique. This led
to a change in the event's rules.
** Perhaps the most
modest of all Olympic gold medalists was Frenchman Pierre Coquelin de Lisle who
won the small-bore rifle shooting event in the 1924 Games. After his victory he
sent the following cable to his mother: 'Am Olympic champsion. World record
beaten. Will arrive Tuesday morning."
** The 1924 Games was
the first to introduce lane dividers in the pool for swimming events.
** Johnny Weissmuller who won three golds in the swiming
events in the 1924 Games, later turned to films in the 1930s, where he starred
as "Tarzan" in twelve movies.
** American female swimmer
Gertrude Ederle, who had become the youngest person ever to set a world record
in 1919 at the age of 12 years 298 days won a gold in the relay during the 1924
Games. Two years later in 1926 she became the first woman to swim the English
channel, in a time almost two hours faster than any manhad ever achieved!
** Uruguay, the first South American country to enter the
Olympic football competition won the gold in the 1924 Games.
** With son Alfred Swahn picking up his ninth shooting
medal in his fourth Games in 1924, the Swedish father and son pair of Oscar and
Alfred in all picked up six golds, four silvers and five bronzes.
** American Norris "Dick" Williams who won the gold in the
mixed doubles tennis event in the 1924 Games was a survivor of the 1912 Titanic
disaster. Williams then 21 years old when the disaster took place had watched
his father die after being hit by a huge funnel. Wearing a fur coat he jumped
into the freezing waters and was barely alive when he was rescued. The doctors
wanted to amputate both his legs to avoid gangrene, but Williams refused. He
recovered and very soon was a member of the US Davis Cup team in 1913.