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PARIS 1900

Coubertin's pride was short-lived. The Paris Games, which served as a sideshow to the five-month International Exposition, were marked by chaos, inefficiency and squabbling. Some athletes were even unaware they were competing in an Olympics.

The track was a 500-metre oval on undulating grass at Pre Catalan, the marathon was run on twisting streets through the city and swimming was held in the murky waters of the Seine. With the competitors swimming downstream, the men's world record for the 200 metres freestyle was broken by 13 seconds.

In the marathon, a Parisian delivery boy Michel Theato took advantage of his local knowledge and, according to some disgruntled rivals a series of short cuts, to succeed Louis as Olympic champion.

Ray Ewry, devastated by polio as a child, won three of his record haul of 10 Olympic golds in the standing jumps.



** Despite strong Greek pressure for the exclusive rights to organise future Games, Baron de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement and the president of the IOC, won the agreement to hold the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris.

** Baron de Coubertin made a serious mistake of making the 1900 Olympic Games a part of the Fifth Universal Exposition which was also being held in Paris. In the event the Games merely became a sideshow to the fair.

** Amid the general confusion many competitors, even medal winners, were not aware until much later that they were actually competing at the Olympic Games in 1900. Many of the athletes died without ever knowing that they had participated in the Olympics.

** Women were allowed to compete for the first time in the 1900 Games at Paris.

** Out of the 1225 competitors in the 1900 Games only 19 were women.

** The first women Olympic competitors were French - Madame Brohy and Mademoiselle Ohnier - who took part in the croquet competition.

** The first female Olympic champion was Britain's Wimbledon Charlotte Cooper, who won the tennis singles title in 1900.

** Cricket, croquet and golf made their first and last appearance in the 1900 Olympic Games, although golf was also played in the next Games in 1904.

** The track and field events of the 1900 Olympic Games were held on uneven turf and the jumpers had to dig their own pits.

** France, the host nation, in the 1900 Games had a record-sized team numbering 884, the largest ever entered for the event.

** The decision to have the 1900 Olympic competition on Sunday upset many of the Americans, who represented the universities that were controlled by the church.

** In the 1900 Games Irving Baxter became the first athlete of American Indian ancestry to win at the Olympic Games, when he won the high jump and pole vault events.

** Norman Pritchard representing India in the 1900 Games won the first medals by an Asian sportsman with two silvers in the 200m flat and hurdles races.

** Canada won its first Olympic gold medal in the 1900 Games, when George Orton, billed as an Ameri can, won the 2500m steeplechase. But his Canadian nationality was discovered much later as Orten had entered the race wearing the colours of the University of Pennsylvania.

** The swimming events in the 1900 Games produced unusually fast times because they were held in the River Seine and the swimmers swum with the current.

** The cricket event for the 1900 Olympics games was between just two teams - Great Britain (repre sented by the Devon and Somerset Wanderers Cricket Club) and France, made up of players from the British embassy. Needless to mention the former (262) beat the host nation (104) by 158 runs!

*** Most of the winners in the 1900 Games did not receive medals, but rather cups and and trophies.

*** The 1900 Games came to an ignominious end - without a Closing Ceremony!


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