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1900 Athletics Summary in Olympics

Athletics at the 1900 Paris Summer Games

Info about the Games    
Host City: Paris, France Participants: 119 (119 men and 0 women) from 17 countries
Date Started: July 14, 1900 Youngest Participant: USA Arthur Newton (17 years, 165 days)
Date Finished: July 16, 1900 Oldest Participant: GBR Ion Pool (42 years, 239 days)
Events: 23 Most Medals (Athlete): USA Irv Baxter and USA Walter Tewksbury (5 medals)
  Most Medals (Country): USA United States (39 medals)
Venue Croix-Catelan Stadium 500m (Grass track - the only time this surface was used)


Athletics at the
1900 Summer Olympics
Track events
Men's 60 m
Men's 100 m
Men's 200 m
Men's 400 m
Men's 800 m
Men's 1500 m
Men's 5000 m Team
Men's 110 m Hurdles
Men's 200 m Hurdles
Men's 400 m Hurdles
Men's 2500 m Steeplechase
Men's 4000 m Steeplechase
Road events
Men's Marathon
Field events
Men's High Jump
Men's Long Jump
Men's Pole Vault
Men's Triple Jump
Men's Standing High Jump
Men's Standing Long Jump
Men's Standing Triple Jump
Men's Shot Put
Men's Discus Throw
Men's Hammer Throw


The athletics events were the only events which received publicity in many countries as a part of the Olympic Games. Even the program to this sport labelled the events as "Championnats Universale." Multiple events were contested. In addition to the standard Olympic events, handicap contest and events for professionals were also held.

The "Sunday question" also muddled the affair. The French organizers wished to hold events, including several finals, on Sunday, 15 July. But the United States' representatives and athletes were vehemently opposed to competing on Sunday. On the Wednesday before competition began, a compromise was apparently reached. The New York Times reported that the organizers had agreed to allow American athletes in field events to compete on either Sunday or Monday, and that their marks would still count. But at the last minute, this ruling was apparently rescinded and the finals held on Sunday were just that – final. The Americans were incensed but there was little they could do, and besides, they had won most of the events.

The track & field athletics events were held on the grounds of the Racing Club de France at the Bois de Boulougne. No track was built; the events were simply run over a grass field, which had several dips and mounds in it. The "track" was 500 metres in length and also wound its way through a grove of trees at the beginning of the final straightaway. The discus throwers found many of their throws landing in the trees which greatly hindered their performance. Attendance was sparse, especially on 14 July, when the French celebrated Bastille Day. The weather was sunny throughout but on 16 and 19 July, it was unbearably hot, with temperatures above 35° C. (95° F.).


The 1900 marathon involved a confusing, poorly marked course that went straight through the streets of Paris. Many runners took wrong turns and in some places, the course overlapped with the commutes of automobiles, animals, bicycles, pedestrians, and runners joining in for fun.

Amid the course confusion, fifth-place finisher Arthur Newton claimed that he had finished first because he never saw anyone pass him. Even worse, the race was run at 2:30 in the afternoon in July heat that reached 102 degrees. The local favorite, Georges Touquet-Daunis, ducked into a café to escape the heat, had a couple beers, and decided it was too hot to continue.

OLYMPICS: American Track and Field Athletes for the 1900 Olympics. In this portrait, the athletes wear college or athletic club uniforms.:

American Track and Field Athletes for the 1900 Olympics. In this portrait, the athletes wear college or athletic club uniforms.
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  

At the 1900 Summer Olympics, twenty-three athletics events were contested. Altogether, 117 athletes from 15 nations competed. A total of 68 medals (23 gold, 23 silver, 22 bronze) were awarded. In many countries, due in part to the conflagration of the Olympic Games and the World's Fair in Paris, 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 and most Olympic historians. They exclude all events that used a handicap system, as well as all events which were open to professional athletes.

Competitions were held on 14 July, 15 July, 16 July, 19 July, and 22 July. This included Bastille Day, which is a French holiday, and then Sunday, which many of the American 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 23 gold medals.

The conditions of competition were also subpar compared even to those at the previous games in 1896. 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 summary

60 metres  Alvin Kraenzlein 7.0 s
United States (USA)
 Walter Tewksbury 7.1 s
United States (USA)
 Stan Rowley 7.2 s
Australia (AUS)
100 metres  Frank Jarvis 11.0 s
United States (USA)
 Walter Tewksbury 11.1 s
United States (USA)
 Stan Rowley 11.2 s
Australia (AUS)
200 metres  Walter Tewksbury 22.2 s
United States (USA)
 Norman Pritchard 22.8 s
India (IND)
 Stan Rowley 22.9 s
Australia (AUS)
400 metres  Maxie Long 49.4 s
United States (USA)
 William Holland 49.6 s
United States (USA)
 Ernst Schultz 51.5 s
Denmark (DEN)
800 metres  Alfred Tysoe 2:01.2
Great Britain (GBR)
 John Cregan 2:03.0
United States (USA)
 David Hall 2:03.8
United States (USA)
1500 metres  Charles Bennett 4:06.2
Great Britain (GBR)
 Henri Deloge 4:06.6
France (FRA)
 John Bray 4:07.2
United States (USA)
Marathon  Michel Théato 2:59:45
France (FRA)
 Émile Champion 3:04:17
France (FRA)
 Ernst Fast 3:37:14
Sweden (SWE)
110 metres hurdles  Alvin Kraenzlein 15.4 s
United States (USA)
 John McLean 15.5 s
United States (USA)
 Frederick Moloney 15.6 s
United States (USA)
200 metres hurdles  Alvin Kraenzlein 25.4 s
United States (USA)
 Norman Pritchard 26.0 s
India (IND)
 Walter Tewksbury 26.1 s
United States (USA)
400 metres hurdles  Walter Tewksbury 57.6 s
United States (USA)
 Henri Tauzin 58.3 s
France (FRA)
 George Orton 58.8 s
Canada (CAN)
2500 metres steeplechase  George Orton 7:34.4
Canada (CAN)
 Sidney Robinson 7:38.0
Great Britain (GBR)
 Jacques Chastanié Unknown
France (FRA)
4000 metres steeplechase  John Rimmer 12:58.4
Great Britain (GBR)
 Charles Bennett 12:58.6
Great Britain (GBR)
 Sidney Robinson 12:58.8
Great Britain (GBR)
5000 metres team race  Mixed team (ZZX)
 Charles Bennett (GBR)
 John Rimmer (GBR)
 Sidney Robinson (GBR)
 Alfred Tysoe (GBR)
 Stan Rowley (AUS)
 France (FRA)
Henri Deloge
Jacques Chastanié
André Castanet
Michel Champoudry
Gaston Ragueneau
none awarded
Long jump  Alvin Kraenzlein 7.185 m
United States (USA)
 Myer Prinstein 7.175 m
United States (USA)
 Patrick Leahy 6.950 m
Great Britain (GBR)
Triple jump  Myer Prinstein 14.47 m
United States (USA)
 James Connolly 13.97 m
United States (USA)
 Lewis Sheldon 13.64 m
United States (USA)
High jump  Irving Baxter 1.90 m
United States (USA)
 Patrick Leahy 1.78 m
Great Britain (GBR)
 Lajos Gönczy 1.75 m
Hungary (HUN)
Pole vault  Irving Baxter 3.30 m
United States (USA)
 Meredith Colket 3.25 m
United States (USA)
 Carl Albert Andersen 3.20 m
Norway (NOR)
Standing long jump  Ray Ewry 3.20 m
United States (USA)
 Irving Baxter 3.135 m
United States (USA)
 Émile Torchebœuf 3.03 m
France (FRA)
Standing triple jump  Ray Ewry 10.58 m
United States (USA)
 Irving Baxter 9.95 m
United States (USA)
 Robert Garrett 9.50 m
United States (USA)
Standing high jump  Ray Ewry 1.655 m
United States (USA)
 Irving Baxter 1.525 m
United States (USA)
 Lewis Sheldon 1.500 m
United States (USA)
Shot put  Richard Sheldon 14.10 m
United States (USA)
 Josiah McCracken 12.85 m
United States (USA)
 Robert Garrett 12.37 m
United States (USA)
Discus throw  Rudolf Bauer 36.04 m
Hungary (HUN)
 František Janda-Suk 35.04 m
Bohemia (BOH)
 Richard Sheldon 34.50 m
United States (USA)
Hammer throw  John Flanagan 51.01 m
United States (USA)
 Truxtun Hare 46.26 m
United States (USA)
 Josiah McCracken 43.58 m
United States (USA)



Medal table

These medals are retroactively assigned by the International Olympic Committee;

at the time, winners were given a silver medal.

1  United States (USA) 16 13 10 39
2  Great Britain (GBR) 3 [2] 3 2 8
3  France (FRA) 1 [1] 4 2 7
4  Canada (CAN) 1 0 1 2
 Hungary (HUN) 1 0 1 2
6  Mixed team (ZZX) 1 0 0 1
7  India (IND) 0 2 0 2
8  Bohemia (BOH) 0 1 0 1
9  Australia (AUS) 0 [2] 0 3 3
10  Denmark (DEN) 0 0 1 1
 Norway (NOR) 0 0 1 1
 Sweden (SWE) 0 0 1 1
* Total medals 23 23 22 68

Participating nations

  • Australia (1)
  • Austria (1)
  • Bohemia (4)
  • Canada (2)
  • Denmark (4)
  • France (23)
  • Germany (6)
  • Great Britain (9)
  • Greece (2)
  • Hungary (9)
  • India (1)
  • Italy (2)
  • Norway (2)
  • Sweden (8)
  • United States (43)
1. Michel Théato was originally assumed to be French, before it was discovered that his nationality was Luxembourgish. The International Olympic Committee still credits this medal for France, however
2. An additional gold medal was won by a mixed team composed of four athletes from Great Britain and one from Australia.

Daily summary


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 won the 100 metres, with Alvin Kraenzlein 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 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.
Finish of the 800m

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 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's gold in the 1500 metres gave Britain its first gold in the sport. Canada's George Orton 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 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's silver medal in the 200 metre hurdles.

19 July

  • The marathon was the only event held on the 19th. Michel Théato 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 Committees 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.
Athens 1896
  Gold Silver Bronze 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Medals Points
USA 16 13 10 7 1 3 2 1 39 332
FRA 1 4 2 5+1= 2 1 1 - 7 90
GBR1 3.8 5 2 1 - - - - 10.8 82.4
SWE - - 1 1+2= 1 2 1 2+1= 1 33.5
HUN 1 - 1 1+1= 2 - 1 - 2 33
CAN 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 2 20
AUS 0.2 - 3 - - - - - 3.2 19.6
GER - - - 1= - 2 - 1 - 11
DEN - - 1 - 1 - - 1= 1 10.5
NOR - - 1 1= - - - - 1 10
GRE - - - 1 1 - - - - 9
BOH - 1 - - - - - - 1 7
AUT - - - - 1 1 - - - 7
Totals 23 23 22 16+6= 10 9 6 4+2= 68 665
1. Breakdown of combined Great Britain & Ireland team placings
IRL - 1 1 1 - - - - 2 18
GBR 3.8 4 1 - - - - - 8.8 66.4
Totals 3.8 5 2 1         10.8 82.4

  Calendar of the Games

July 14 09h30 Men's 110 m hurdles round 1, heat 1
Men's 110 m hurdles round 1, heat 2
Men's 110 m hurdles round 1, heat 3
Men's 110 m hurdles repechage heat 1
Men's 110 m hurdles repechage heat 2
09h45 Men's Discus throw qualifying
10h05 Men's 110 m hurdles Final
10h15 Men's 800 m Semifinal 1
Men's 800 m Semifinal 2
Men's 800 m Semifinal 3
10h30 Men's 100 m heat 1
Men's 100 m heat 2
Men's 100 m heat 3
Men's 100 m heat 4
Men's 100 m heat 5
Men's 100 m heat 6
Men's 100 m repechage heat
Men's 100 m Semifinal 1
Men's 100 m Semifinal 2
Men's 100 m Semifinal 3
10h55 Men's Shot put qualifying
11h15 Men's 100 m Final
11h25 Men's 400 m Semifinal 1
Men's 400 m Semifinal 2
Men's 400 m Semifinal 3
11h40 Men's Long jump qualifying
11h55 Men's 400 m hurdles round 1, heat 1
Men's 400 m hurdles round 1, heat 2
July 15 14h00 Men's 60 m heat 1
Men's 60 m heat 2
14h25 Men's Shot put Final
14h45 Men's 60 m Final
15h00 Men's 400 m Final
15h15 Men's Discus throw Final
15h30 Men's 1,500 m
15h45 Men's High jump
16h15 Men's 400 m hurdles Final
16h30 Men's Pole Vault
17h00 Men's 2,500 m steeplechase
17h15 Men's Long jump Final
July 16 Men's 200 m hurdles heat 1
Men's 200 m hurdles heat 2
Men's 200 m hurdles Final
Men's 4,000 m steeplechase
Men's 800 m Final
Men's Hammer throw
Men's Standing high jump
Men's Standing long jump
Men's Standing triple jump
Men's Triple jump
July 19 14h30 Men's Marathon (40,260 m)
July 22 Men's 200 m heat 1
Men's 200 m heat 2
Men's 200 m Final
Men's 5,000 m team




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