1904 Olympics, St. Louis
St. Louis was the first American city to host the Olympics. The 1904 Olympic games looked a bit different than the games today, but in many ways the same athleticism and spirit can be found in the photographs and stories from 1904. Learn more about the 1904 Olympics by visiting the "Our Olympics" gallery installation at the Missouri History Museum. "Our Olympics" is on display June 30 - Nov 18, 2012.
The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis marked not only the first time the Games were hosted by an American city, but also the first time that freestyle wrestling made an appearance in the Olympics. The long history of Olympic wrestling is what has left so many athletes and fans shocked when the IOC announced this week that the sport would be thrown out of the Games. Read more on the Missouri History Museum's blog: historyhappensher...
Perikles Kakousis was a Greek weightlifter who won gold in the two-hand lift at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis. He was heralded in the local press for coming “thousands of miles to carry modern Olympic honors back to his native land.”
Ray Ewry won eight gold medals in the 1900, 1904, and 1908 Games, and remained the American with the most individual gold medals until Michael Phelps surpassed him. Ewry was struck with polio when he was seven and was told that he may never walk again. One doctor said he should try jumping exercises to build the strength of his legs. He went from being unable to walk to becoming one of the most celebrated jumpers in Olympic history.
A number of sports featured in the 1904 Olympic games look unusual today. To many, tug of war seems like a competition more suited for elementary school field days rather than the Olympics, but from 1900 to 1920 it was a feature of all Games, including those held in St. Louis.
One sport made its first and only Olympic appearance at the 1904 games in St. Louis. That sport was the plunge for distance, a kind of long jump for divers. Competitors jumped from a platform into a lake and glided as far as they could underwater without using their arms or legs. William Dickey of the New York Athletic Club earned the unique title of Olympic champion in the plunge for distance with a winning distance of 62 feet, 6 inches.
A. G. Spalding and Bros., exhibit of a Model Gymnasium, showing another view of their No. O Vaulting Horse particularly commended by all the Turn Verein Representatives who competed in the Olympic International Gymnastic Championships.