Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics

Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics

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At the 1900 Summer Olympics
1900 Summer Olympics
The 1900 Summer Olympics, today officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1900 in Paris, France. No opening or closing ceremonies were held; competitions began on May 14 and ended on October 28. The Games were held as part of...

, twenty-three athletics events were contested. 117 athletes from 15 nations competed. In many countries, due in part to the conflagration of the Olympic Games and the World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, the media discussed only the athletics events under the "Olympic" name while ignoring the incredible variety of other sports featured at the time.

The 23 events listed are those currently considered to have been of Olympic stature by the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 and most Olympic historians. They exclude all events that used a handicap system as well as all events that were open to professional athletes.

Competitions were held on 14 July, 15 July, 16 July, 19 July, and 22 July. This included Bastille Day
Bastille Day
Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July of each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commonly le quatorze juillet...

, which is a French holiday, and a Sunday, which many of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 athletes protested. Even with many Americans not competing in finals because of confusion caused by the organizers' decision to count scores achieved on Monday, 16 July for finals held on Sunday, 15 July and subsequent rescission of that decision, the United States won more than 4 times as many medals as any other nation, including 16 of the gold medal
Gold medal
A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

s.

The conditions of competition were also subpar compared even to those at the previous games in 1896
1896 Summer Olympics
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was a multi-sport event celebrated in Athens, Greece, from April 6 to April 15, 1896. It was the first international Olympic Games held in the Modern era...

. There was no track for the Paris Games, as a grass field dotted with trees and of unequal elevation was used. The course was 500 metres in length, an unusual distance for a track.

Medal table


These medals are retroactively assigned by the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

; at the time, winners were given a silver medal.
1 16 13 10 39
2 3 3 2 8
3 1 4 2 7
4 1 0 1 2
1 0 1 2
6 1 0 0 1
7 0 2 0 2
8 0 1 0 1
9 0 0 3 3
10 0 0 1 1
0 0 1 1
0 0 1 1



14 July

  • All rounds, including the finals, for the 100 metres and the 110 metre hurdles were held. The United States took 5 of the medals, missing only the bronze medal in the 100 metres won by Stan Rowley of Australia. Frank Jarvis
    Frank Jarvis
    Frank Washington Jarvis was an American athlete, and the Olympic 100 m champion of 1900.Jarvis, an AAU champion in the 100 y, was among the pre-race favourites for the 100 m at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, but the hot favourite was American Arthur Duffey, who won the British Championships...

     won the 100 metres, with Alvin Kraenzlein
    Alvin Kraenzlein
    Alvin Christian Kraenzlein was an American athlete. He was the first sportsman to win four Olympic titles in a single Olympic Games...

     taking the gold in the 110 metre hurdles.
  • In the 400 metre heats, the United States took 5 qualifying spots for the final while Denmark secured the last one. The 800 metres was more balanced, with 3 Americans and one athlete each from France, Great Britain, and Hungary.
  • The 400 metre hurdles semifinals eliminated only one athlete, with the other four advancing to the finals.
  • Defending discus and shot put champion Robert Garrett
    Robert Garrett
    Robert Garrett was an American athlete. He was the first modern Olympic champion in discus throw and shot put.-Biography:...

     failed to make a mark in the qualification round of the discus throw, but did advance to the final in the shot put. Bohemia advanced a thrower in the discus, an event which saw 5 athletes from 5 different nations qualify.
  • Surprising few, Kraenzlein and Meyer Prinstein took the top two spots in the long jump qualification, moving to the final along with a third American, a Briton, and a Frenchman.

15 July

  • In a busy day for the athletics program, 10 finals were held along with the semifinals of the 60 metres (which was one of the events with a final that day). The United States took 7 of the championships, with Great Britain, Canada, and Hungary each picking up one of the rest.
  • Kraenzlein took the top spots in the 60 metres and the long jump, the latter victory allegedly earning him a punch in the face from Prinstein, who had not competed because the final was held on a Sunday. This brought Kraenzlein's total to 3 gold medals, better than any athlete had done four years earlier. Irving Baxter
    Irving Baxter
    Irving Knot Baxter was an American athlete, who won the gold medal in both the men's high jump and the pole vault at the 1900 Summer Olympics, in Paris, France....

     also took gold in two events, the high jump and the pole vault.
  • Denmark won its first athletics medal, with a bronze in the 400 metres. Charles Bennett
    Charles Bennett (athlete)
    Charles Bennett was a British athlete, winner of the 1500 m at the 1900 Summer Olympics and the first British track and field athlete to become Olympic champion...

    's gold in the 1500 metres gave Britain its first gold in the sport. Canada's George Orton
    George Orton
    George Washington Orton was a Canadian middle-distance runner. In 1900, he became the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal.-Biography:...

     took two medals, a gold and a bronze, for the debut nation. Hungary won its first gold with the discus throw, adding a bronze in the high jump. Bohemia, another nation making its debut, took the silver medal in the discus.
  • The steeplechase made its Olympic debut, with the 2500 metre version won by Orton.

16 July

  • 8 more finals were held on Monday the 16th. Kraenzlein picked up a fourth victory with the 200 metre hurdles, winning both his semifinal and the final to set a long-lived Olympic record for athletic gold medals in individual events. Ray Ewry
    Ray Ewry
    Raymond "Ray" Clarence Ewry was an American track and field athlete who won 8 gold medals at the Olympic Games and 2 gold medals at the "Intercalated Games" . This puts him among the most successful Olympians of all time...

     won all three of the standing jumps, each of which made its Olympic debut in 1900. Great Britain picked up another pair of gold medals with the 800 metres and the 4000 metre steeplechase. Prinstein got his long-awaited victory in the triple jump, while John Flanagan's hammer throw earned the United States its 6th championship of the day.
  • India's debut Games reached a high point with Norman Pritchard
    Norman Pritchard
    Norman Gilbert Pritchard was an athlete from India who went on to star in Hollywood and Broadway...

    's silver medal in the 200 metre hurdles.

19 July

  • The marathon was the only event held on the 19th. Michel Théato
    Michel Théato
    Michel Johann Théato was a Luxembourgian athlete, and the winner of the marathon at the 1900 Olympics in Paris....

     of Luxembourg won the gold medal, giving that nation a perfect 1:1 ratio of championships to entries. Sweden earned its first athletics medal with the bronze in the marathon.

22 July

  • The two remaining events were held on Sunday the 22nd. The semifinals of the 200 metres and the finals of that event and the 5000 metre team race were held.
  • Pritchard won his second silver medal in the 200 metres, while Rowley won his third bronze in the same event. The race was won by Walter Tewksbury, bringing his total for the Games to 5 medals, including 2 gold medals.
  • The 5000 metre team race was won by the British team, assisted by Rowley of Australia. This made Rowley the only athlete in Olympic history to win gold medals for multiple nations in the same Games, with the establishment of National Olympic Committee
    National Olympic Committee
    National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

    s making that accomplishment one which will always be unique. Rowley did not even finish the race, which was far longer than the sprinter was accustomed to running; he stopped after everyone else had crossed the finish line to accept last place.

Medal summary

60 metres
100 metres
200 metres
400 metres
800 metres
1500 metres
Marathon
110 metres hurdles
200 metres hurdles
400 metres hurdles
2500 metres steeplechase
4000 metres steeplechase
5000 metres team race






Henri Deloge
Henri Deloge
Henri Deloge was a French middle distance runner who won a silver medal over 1500m in Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris ahead of John Bray. The race was won by Charles Bennett who won the gold medal...


Jacques Chastanié
Jacques Chastanié
Jean Chastanié was an early twentieth century French middle-distance athlete who specialised in 2500 metres steeplechase. He participated in Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and won the Bronze medal in the 2500 metre event...


André Castanet
André Castanet
André Castanet was an early twentieth century French middle-distance runner. He participated in Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and won the silver medal in the 5000 metres team race for the French team with Jacques Chastanie, Henri Deloge and Gaston Ragueneau....


Michel Champoudry
Michel Champoudry
Albert Champoudry was an early twentieth century French middle-distance runner. He participated in Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and won the silver medal in the 5000 metres team race for the French team with Jacques Chastanie, Henri Deloge, Gaston Ragueneau, and André...


Gaston Ragueneau
Gaston Ragueneau
Gaston Ragueneau was a French athlete. He competed at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and the 1908 Summer Olympics in London....

none awarded
Long jump
Triple jump
High jump
Pole vault
Standing long jump
Standing triple jump
Standing high jump
Shot put
Discus throw
Hammer throw