Paris 1924 Olympics
A brief history of the VIII Olympiad. 1924 was the first Olympic Games where the athletes were accommodated in an Olympic Village, a group of wood cabins.
The Paris 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 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.
Eric Liddell, "The Flying Scotsman", was born in 1902 at 天津 in North China. When he was 8 Eric was sent to a boarding school in England. While at Eltham Collage Liddell was renowned as fastest runner in Scotland. Because of his birth in China, some consider Liddell to be China's first Olympic.
Liddell was a committed Christian and thus would not consider running on a Sunday, so could not run in his favoured event the 100m. The only alternative was to run in the 400m. As Liddell went to his starting blocks, an American slipped a piece of paper into Liddell's hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, "Those who honour me I will honour." Liddell ran with that piece of paper in his hand. He not only won the race, but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds.
The gold medals won by British runners Harold Abrahams in the 100 meters and Eric Liddell in the 400 in the Paris Olympics were chronicled in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film 'Chariots of Fire.'
The Scottish connection with Olympic sprinting was reconnected when Allan Wells won the 100 metre sprint at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. When asked after the victory if he had run the race for Harold Abrahams, the last 100 metre Olympic winner from Britain (in 1924), Wells replied, "No, this one was for Eric Liddell."
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 Hollywood's most famous Tarzan.
On a stormy day in July 1927, Johnny Weissmuller was training on the lakefront off Chicago's North Avenue Beach with his brother Peter when a sudden storm swamped the pleasure boat Favorite. The disaster killed 27 of the 71 people aboard, mostly women and children, but the Weissmuller brothers rescued 11 people. He can really be considered a hero as well as a legend.
At the 1924 Paris Games, the Olympic motto, 'Citius, Altius, Fortius', (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) 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, signalling widespread acceptance of the Olympics as a major event, as did the presence of 1,000 journalists. Women's 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.
The Flying Finn, 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. Nurmi's team-mate, Ville Ritola, did not do badly either in 1924: he won four gold medals and two silver.
Tennis made its last appearance until it was brought back more than 60 years later at Seoul. The IOC, which was fiercely anti-professional, had doubts whether the game's top players were truly amateurs.
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