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1904 Athletics Summary in Olympics

Info about the Games    
Host City: St. Louis, United States Participants: 116 (116 men and 0 women) from 11 countries  poster1904.jpg
Date Started: July 4, 1904 Youngest Participant: USA Walter Dray (18 years, 166 days)
Date Finished: July 4, 1904 Oldest Participant: USA Jim Mitchel (40 years, 217 days)
Events: 24 Most Medals (Athlete): USA Jim Lightbody (4 medals)
  Most Medals (Country): USA United States (64 medals)
Venue  Washington University  1904 536.45m (1/3 mile)
Year Dates City Venue Countries Athletes Men Women Events (Men/Women)
1904 Aug 29-Sep 3 St Louis,USA Washington University 10 117 117 0 24 24/0
Athletics at the
1904 Olympic Games St. Louis, United States
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 110 m Hurdles
Men's 200 m Hurdles
Men's 400 m Hurdles
Men's 2590 m Steeplechase
Men's 4 mile Team
Men's Marathon
Men's High Jump
Men's Standing High Jump
Men's Pole Vault
Men's Long Jump
Men's Standing Long Jump
Men's Triple Jump
Men's Standing Triple Jump
Men's Shot Put
Men's Discus Throw
Men's Hammer Throw
Men's 56-pound Weight Throw
Men's All-Around Championship

The track & field athletics events held from 29 August through 3 September 1904 at [Francis Field] in St. Louis were considered to be the main event of the Olympic Games by all the media which covered them in that year. To some media, they were the only event worthy of being considered a )true) Olympic event.

There were many other track & field meets held during the summer of 1904 in St. Louis and James Sullivan, Director of the Department of Physical Culture at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, insisted on calling all of them "Olympic" events. There were also handicap events conducted during the same days as the Olympic meet. We've included the results of everything below, although the "true" Olympic events are listed first and with the most detail.

Although there were a few foreign competitors, the meet was essentially a U.S. championship, although the Olympic meet was not the 1904 AAU Championship. That had been held in St. Louis, however, but earlier in the summer, on 4 June (results given below).

The track was specially built for the Olympic Games and was very modern - for 1904. It was 1/3 of a mile in length (586 yards, 2 feet = 536.44 metres), with one very long straightwaway, four turns, and three shorter straights. It was built on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis and was composed of cinders. (Through the mid-1980s, the track existed in its original form, but Washington University has now replaced it with a synthetic surface track. Amazingly, however, the stadium still exists in its original form.) The weather was excellent. It was sunny every day of the Games, with temperatures in the high-70's to mid-80's (F.) (25-30° C.).

Archie Hahn USA - University of Michigan athlete, holding a trophy, standing on athletic
This story about the St. Louis Olympics 1904 is based on the official Olympic reports and games-encyclo's Olympic database
  The third olympic games took place from the 1st of July to the 23rd of November in St. Louis 1904 in the state of Missouri, USA. As in Paris four years earlier the olympics were once again chosen to be part of the world exhibition and the organisers repeated all the mistakes that were made in Paris. Again the olympic programme in St. Louis was spread out during the entire period of the exhibition. And again a number of events were introduced that had little relation to the olympic ideals and foundation. Thirdly, the olympic events in St. Louis were overshadowed by the world exhibition.

Originally the IOC had decided to award the olympics to Chicago but St. Louis was the venue for the world exhibition and the city worked very hard to make  the olympics part of this programme. Among others the American president Theodore Roosevelt supported this solution and the IOC decided to go along with St. Louis as olympic host city in 1904.

Just like in Paris 1900 the olympic historians disagree on the number of olympic events in the St. Louis olympics. Among the countless competitions which took place in St. Louis 1904 the games-encyclo website list 86 events in 16 sports. In comparison to the Paris olympics there were seven new sports in the programme: Basketball, boxing, wrestling, lacrosse, roque, diving and weightlifting. On the other hand eight sports were removed from the programme: Cricket, cycling, golf, polo, equestrian, rugby, sailing and shooting.

Yamasani, a Zulu tribesman, running along a track at an athletic field in St. Louis, Missouri during the 1904 St. Louis, Missouri Summer Olympics.

Yamasani Zulu tribesman at Francis Field
Photo ©:Chicago Historical Society

In the St. Louis olympics began the tradition that number one, two and three in the events were awarded a medal of gold, silver and bronze respectively.

It is a long way from Europa to the USA - in 1904 before the time of air travel it was almost a four week sea voyage between the two continents. In addition to this came more transport across USA as St. Louis is located far from the coast. These circumstances refrained most of the European nations from participating in the olympics. The first African participants in the olympics, however, found their way to St. Louis to take part in the marathon, among these Yamasani, but the African athletes were just as much a part of an exhibition about the Boer War in Africa.

All in all app. 700 athletes from only 12 nations participated in the St. Louis olympics. Among these more than 500 were Americans. In about half of the events only Americans  competed for the medals.

The third olympics therefore more resembled the open American championships in a number of sports than a sports meeting that should join together athletes from all over the world.

This however did not prevent big achivements in the competitions. This was especially true in the athletics events where Archie Hahn's olympic record of 21,6 sec. in the 200 m race was not bettered before the olympic games in 1932. And throwers Ralph Rose, John Flanagan and Martin Sheridan who all won gold medals in St. Louis 1904 were athletes that would later dominate the throwing events up until World War I.

The competitions were of course in general dominated by the American athletes. Americans won nearly all medals and only gave away a little more than 30 medals.

  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At the 1904 Summer Olympics, twenty-five athletics events were contested, all for men only. A total of 74 medals (25 gold, 26 silver, 23 bronze) were awarded.

Multi-event competitions, the all-around and triathlon, were introduced. The short steeplechase was lengthened slightly, from 2500 to 2590 metres, while the long steeplechase was eliminated. The 5000 metre team race was replaced with the 4 mile team race (6,437 m). A 56-pound weight throw was added. In all, the 25 events featured in 1904 were 2 more than were held in 1900.

Medal summary

60 metres
Archie Hahn 7.0 s
 United States
William Hogenson 7.2 s
 United States
Fay Moulton 7.2 s
 United States
100 metres
Archie Hahn 11.0 s
 United States
Nate Cartmell 11.2 s
 United States
William Hogenson 11.2 s
 United States
200 metres
Archie Hahn 21.6 s
 United States
Nate Cartmell 21.9 s
 United States
William Hogenson
 United States
400 metres
Harry Hillman 49.2 s
 United States
Frank Waller 49.9 s
 United States
Herman Groman 50.0 s
 United States
800 metres
James Lightbody 1:56.0
 United States
Howard Valentine 1:56.3
 United States
Emil Breitkreutz 1:56.4
 United States
1500 metres
James Lightbody 4:05.4
 United States
Frank Verner 4:06.8
 United States
Lacey Hearn
 United States
Thomas Hicks 3:28:53
 United States
Albert Corey 3:34:52
 United States*
Arthur Newton 3:47:33
 United States
110 metres hurdles
Fred Schule 16.0 s
 United States
Thaddeus Shideler 16.3 s
 United States
Lesley Ashburner 16.4 s
 United States
200 metres hurdles
Harry Hillman 24.6 s
 United States
Frank Castleman 24.9 s
 United States
George Poage
 United States
400 metres hurdles
Harry Hillman 53.0 s
 United States
Frank Waller 53.2 s
 United States
George Poage 56.8 s
 United States
2590 metres steeplechase
James Lightbody 7:39.6
 United States
John Daly 7:40.6
 Great Britain & Ireland
Arthur Newton 7:45.6
 United States
4 miles team race
 United States (USA)
New York AC
Arthur Newton
George Underwood
Paul Pilgrim
Howard Valentine
David Munson
 Mixed team (ZZX)
Chicago AA
James Lightbody
Frank Verner
Lacey Hearn
Albert Corey[1]
Sidney Hatch
none awarded
Long jump
Myer Prinstein 7.34 m
 United States
Daniel Frank 6.89 m
 United States
Robert Stangland 6.88 m
 United States
Triple jump
Myer Prinstein 14.35 m
 United States
Fred Englehardt 13.90 m
 United States
Robert Stangland 13.36 m
 United States
High jump
Samuel Jones
 United States
Garrett Serviss
 United States
Paul Weinstein
Pole vault
Charles Dvorak
 United States
LeRoy Samse
 United States
Louis Wilkins
 United States
Standing long jump
Ray Ewry
 United States
Charles King
 United States
John Biller
 United States
Standing triple jump
Ray Ewry
 United States
Charles King
 United States
Joseph Stadler
 United States
Standing high jump
Ray Ewry
 United States
Joseph Stadler
 United States
Lawson Robertson
 United States
Shot put
Ralph Rose
 United States
Wesley Coe
 United States
Lawrence Feuerbach
 United States
Discus throw
Martin Sheridan
 United States
Ralph Rose
 United States
Nicolaos Georgandas
Hammer throw
John Flanagan
 United States
John DeWitt
 United States
Ralph Rose
 United States
56 pound weight throw
Étienne Desmarteau
John Flanagan
 United States
James Mitchell
 United States
Max Emmerich
 United States
John Grieb
 United States
William Merz
 United States
Tom Kiely
 Great Britain & Ireland
Adam Gunn
 United States
Truxtun Hare
 United States

Medal table

1 United States 23 23 22 68
2 Great Britain 1 1 0 2
3 Canada 1 0 0 1
4 Mixed team 0 1 0 1
5 Germany 0 0 1 1
Greece 0 0 1 1
* Total medals 25 25 24 74

Some sources credit France with Albert Corey's silver medal in the marathon.

Participating nations

233 athletes from 10 nations competed. This figure includes the athletic triathlon event, which some sources exclude.

  • Australia (2)
  • Canada (5)
  • Cuba (1)
  • Germany (9)
  • Great Britain (3)
  • Greece (10)
  • Hungary (2)
  • South Africa (3)
  • Switzerland (1)
  • United States (197)

    Errata and notes

    France is often credited with Albert Corey's competition, which would put that nation 4th with 1 silver medal and move Germany and Greece to a tie for 6th in the standings. Arriving without correct documents, Corey wound up listed with the US team.
St Louis 1904
Gold Silver Bronze 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Medals Points
USA 22 21.8 21 20 13 14  4  1 64.8 658.6
GBR 1 1 - 1 - - - - 2 20
GER - - 1 - 2 - 1 - 1 16
CAN 1 - - - - 1 - - 1 11
GRE - - 1 - 1 - - - 1 10
HUN - - - 1 1 - - - 0 9
FRA - 1.2 - - - - - - 1.2 8.4
CUB - - - 1 - - - - 0 5
Totals 24 24 23 23 17 15 5 2 71 738

  Calendar of the Games

July 1st Men's Triathlon (long jump / shot put / 100 yards) long jump
July 2 Men's Triathlon (long jump / shot put / 100 yards) 100 yards
Men's Triathlon (long jump / shot put / 100 yards) shot put
July 4 Men's Decathlon 100 yards (91.44 m)
Men's Decathlon 120 yards (109.73 m) high hurdles
Men's Decathlon 56-lb (25.4 kg) weight throw
Men's Decathlon 880 yards (804.67 m) walk
Men's Decathlon hammer throw
Men's Decathlon high jump
Men's Decathlon long jump
Men's Decathlon One mile (1 609.34 m)
Men's Decathlon pole vault
Men's Decathlon shot put
August 29 Men's 2,590 m steeplechase
Men's 400 m Final
Men's 60 m heat 1
Men's 60 m heat 2
Men's 60 m heat 3
Men's 60 m heat 4
Men's 60 m Semifinals
Men's 60 m Final
Men's Hammer throw
Men's High jump
Men's Standing long jump
August 30 Men's Marathon (40,000 m - 24.85 miles)
August 31 Men's 200 m heat 1
Men's 200 m heat 2
Men's 200 m Final
Men's 400 m hurdles
Men's Shot put
Men's Standing high jump
September 1st Men's 200 m hurdles
Men's 56-lb (25.4 kg) weight throw
Men's 800 m
Men's Long jump
Men's Triple jump
September 3 Men's 1,500 m
Men's 100 m heat 1
Men's 100 m heat 2
Men's 100 m heat 3
Men's 100 m Final
Men's 110 m hurdles heat 1
Men's 110 m hurdles heat 2
Men's 110 m hurdles Final
Men's 4-Miles race (6,437.4 m) team
Men's Discus throw
Men's Pole Vault
Men's Standing triple jump
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