HISTORY The 1924 Olympics officially known as the VIII Modern Olympic Games were held in Paris, France, between May 4 and July 27. Paris hosted over three thousand athletes, 2956 men and 136 women.
The 1924 Games saw American William DeHart Hubbard became the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal; he triumphed in the long jump. His compatriot Robert LeGendre broke the long jump world record with a leap of 7.76m, but this was in the pentathlon, and he had to settle for bronze.
Paavo Nurmi (FIN-athletics) had a crazy programme. He participated in the 1,500 and 5,000m, the finals of which were less than an hour apart, in the 3,000m, both individual and team events, as well as the cross-country! Nurmi obtained an incredible five titles. Nurmi was honoured for his achievements when a his statue was erected outside Helsinki stadium. Great Britain scored two major victories when Harold Abrahams became the first European to win an Olympic sprint medal, while Eric Liddell took the gold in the 400m in a time of 47.6 seconds. Lidells time was a world record, but was not officially recognised because the runners only had to run around one bend until 1936.
The gold medals won by British runners Harold Abrahams in the 100 meters and Eric Liddell in the 400 were chronicled in the 1981 Academy Award- winning film Chariots of Fire. The movie, however, was not based on fact. Liddell, a devout Christian, knew months in advance that the preliminary for the 100 (his best event) was on a Sunday, so he had plenty of time to change plans and train for the 400. Speaking of the movies, Johnny Weissmuller of USA won three swimming gold medals in the 100 and 400- meter freestyles and the 4x200 freestyle relay. He would later become Hollywoods most famous Tarzan
At the 1924 Paris Games, the Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius, (Swifter, Higher, Strong er) was introduced, as was the Closing Ceremony ritual of raising three flags: the flag of the International Olympic Committee, the flag of the host nation and the flag of the next host nation. The number of participating nations jumped from 29 to 44, signaling widespread acceptance of the Olympics as a major event, as did the presence of 1,000 journalists. Womens fencing made its debut as Ellen Osiier of Denmark earned the gold medal without losing a single bout.
American swimmer Gertrude Ederle won a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle. Two years later she caused a sensation by becoming the first woman to swim across the English Channel (La Manche) - and in a time almost two hours faster than any man had ever achieved. Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, won five gold medals to add to the three he had won in 1920. His most spectacular performance occurred on 10 July. First he easily won the 1,500m. Then, a mere 55 minutes later, he returned to the track and won the 5,000m. Nurmis team-mate, Ville Ritola, did not do badly either in 1924: he won four gold medals and two silver. Tennis made its last appearance before being brought back more than 60 years later at Seoul. The IOC, which was fiercely anti-professional, had doubts whether the games top players were truly amateurs.
OFFICIAL PROGRAM AND SPORTEXHIBITION - Official Program - Sports exhibition Athletics Pelota vasca Boxing Cane fighting Cycling Canadian Canoe and kayak Swimming Savate Riding Volleyball Fencing Football Gymnastics Weightlifting Fight Modern Pentathlon Rowing Rugby Tennis Shot Candle