1924  Paris Summer Olympics

1924 Summer Olympics - About the Games

1924 Summer Olympics



Host City: Paris, France (May 4, 1924 to July 27, 1924)
Opening Ceremony: July 5, 1924 (opened by President Gaston Doumergue)
Taker of the Olympic Oath: Géo André (athlete)
Closing Ceremony: July 27, 1924
Events: 131 in 20 sports

Participants: 3,256 (3,100 men and 156 women) from 45 countries
Youngest Participant: USA Matilda Scheurich (14 years, 6 days)
Oldest Participant: BEL Henri Quersin (61 years, 10 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): FIN Ville Ritola (6 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (99 medals)


The 1924 Summer Olympics (French: Les Jeux olympiques d'été de 1924), officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France.

It was the second time Paris hosted the games, after 1900. The selection process for the 1924 Summer Olympics consisted of six bids, and Paris was selected ahead of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Prague, and Rome. The selection was made at the 20th IOC Session in Lausanne in 1921.

The cost of the Games of the VIII Olympiad was estimated to be 10,000,000₣. With total receipts at 5,496,610₣, the Olympics resulted in a hefty loss despite crowds that reached 60,000 people at a time.

poster olympic games 1924 paris

Overview by


After the difficulties of the [1900 Olympics] in Paris, [Coubertin] fervently desired to see his home city host another Olympics. Paris was elected to host the 1924 Olympics and nicely redeemed itself. The Olympics are today most famous as the Olympics of [Harold Abrahams] and [Eric Liddell], the Olympics of [Chariots of Fire]. The Games also saw the début of Tarzan and Dr. Spock, though nobody knew it at the time.

In swimming, [Johnny Weissmuller] (USA) made his first Olympic appearance and showed why he would someday become known as the world's greatest swimmer. He won the 100 and 400 metre freestyle races, helped the U.S. win another gold in the 4×200 metre freestyle relay, and for good measure, played on the bronze medal winning water polo team. He would compete in the [1928 Olympics] as well, and then turned to Hollywood where he became famous as Tarzan, portraying that character in 12 movies.

In rowing, the eight-oared title was won by the United States, which was represented by the Yale crew. In the second seat was [Benjamin McLane "Ben" Spock], who would later attend Columbia medical school, become a famous pediatrician, the author of Baby and Child Care, and become known simply as "Dr. Spock".

The Games themselves were the personal playground of [Paavo Nurmi], who took up where he left off in [1920]. Nurmi won five gold medals and could have won more had the schedulers allowed him time to compete in more events.

In 1981, the movie Chariots of Fire was made celebrating the lives of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell and their route to the 1924 Olympics. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year and was acclaimed as an excellent movie. It was, but some of the story was apocryphal.

In the movie Liddell, as he boards the boat for France, appears to hear for the first time that the 100 metre heats will be held on Sunday. He eventually switches to the 400 and wins that gold medal. In truth, Liddell, who was devoutly religious and would not compete on Sunday, knew of the schedule for a year and had trained for the 400 with that in mind. The movie also shows Abrahams losing the 200 to [Jackson Scholz] (USA) early in the Games and then coming back to win the 100. Actually, Abrahams won the 100 on 7 July, and then returned two days later in the 200, 9 July, only to finish sixth in that race. Scholz did win that race and finishing third was Eric Liddell. That was the only time Abrahams and Liddell ever raced against each other – it had not occurred the year before the Games, as portrayed in the movie.

Finally, the movie shows Abrahams running around the courtyard at Caius College, Cambridge, in less than the time it took the clock to strike the noon bells. He was supposed to be the first to do this, but in truth, it was first done by [David Cecil, Lord Burghley, the 6th Marquis of Exeter]. Burghley competed at Paris but did not win a medal. He returned four years later to win the 400 metre hurdles at Amsterdam. In the movie, Burghley is portrayed as the aristocratic Lord Lindsay, who won a medal in the 400 metre hurdles. Burghley was alive at the time of the movie's making, and supposedly did not wish to be directly portrayed in it.

Besides its heralded stars, the 1924 Olympics unveiled several other firsts. The Olympic motto – "Citius, Altius, Fortius" – was used officially for the first time. A small Olympic Village was used with small frame structures built at Rocquencourt, a Parisian suburb. At the closing ceremony the practice of raising three flags – one for the IOC, one for the host nation and one for the succeeding host nation – was instituted for the first time.


  • The opening ceremony and several sporting events took place in the Olympic Stadium of Colombes, which had a capacity of 45,000 in 1924.
  • This VIII Olympiad was the last one organised under the presidency of Pierre de Coubertin.
  • The "Flying Finns" dominated the long distance running, while the British and Americans dominated the shorter events. Paavo Nurmi won the 1500 m and 5,000 m (which were held with only an hour between them) and the cross country run. Ville Ritola won the 10,000 m and the 3,000 m steeplechase, while finishing second to Nurmi on the 5,000 m and cross country. Albin Stenroos won the marathon, while the Finnish team (with Nurmi and Ritola) was victorious in the 3,000 m and cross country team events.
  Colombes Olympic Stadium
  • British runners Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell won the 100 m and 400 m events, respectively. Their stories are depicted in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire. In addition, Douglas Lowe won the 800 m competition.
  • The marathon distance was fixed at 42.195 km (26.219 mi), from the distance run at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
  • The 1924 Olympics were the first to use the standard 50 m pool with marked lanes.
  • Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller won three gold medals in swimming and one bronze in water polo.
  • Harold Osborn won gold medals and set Olympic records in both the high jump and the decathlon at the 1924 Olympics. His 6' 6" high jump remained the Olympic record for 12 years, while his decathlon score of 7,710.775 points also set a world record and resulted in worldwide press coverage calling him the "world’s greatest athlete".
  • Fencer Roger Ducret of France won five medals, of which three were gold.
  • In gymnastics, 24 men scored a perfect 10. Twenty-three of them scored it in the now-discontinued event of rope climbing. Albert Seguin scored a 10 here and also a perfect 10 on side vault.
  • Unexpectedly, the national team of Uruguay won the gold medal in football.
  • The Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) was used for the first time at the Olympics. It had been used before by the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, a French sporting federation whose founding members included Pierre de Coubertin. De Coubertin took the motto from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who had coined during a speech before a Paris youth gathering of 1891.
  • Ireland was given formal recognition as an independent nation in the Olympic Movement in Paris in 1924, and it was at these games that Ireland made its first appearance in an Olympic Games as an independent nation.
  • Originally called Semaine des Sports d'Hiver ("Week of Winter Sports") and held in association with the 1924 Summer Olympics, the sports competitions held in Chamonix between 25 January and 5 February 1924 were later designated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the I Olympic Winter Games. (1924 Winter Olympics)
  • These were the first Games to feature an Olympic Village.
  • The Art competitions at the 1924 Summer Olympics were the first time that the Olympic Art competitions were contested seriously, with 193 entries in five categories. A total of 14 medals were awarded, though none were given in the music category.


126 events in 23 disciplines, comprising 17 sports, were part of the Olympic program in 1924. The number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses.

  • Aquatics
    • Diving (5)
    • Swimming (11)
    • Water polo (1)
  • Athletics (27)
  • Boxing (8)
  • Cycling
    • Road (2)
    • Track (4)
  • Equestrian
    • Dressage (1)
    • Eventing (2)
    • Show jumping (2)
  • Fencing (7)
  • Football (1)
  • Gymnastics
    • Artistic (9)
  • Modern pentathlon (1)
  • Polo (1)
  • Rowing (7)
  • Rugby
    • Rugby union (1)
  • Sailing (3)
  • Shooting (10)
  • Tennis (5)
  • Weightlifting (5)
  • Wrestling
    • Freestyle (7)
    • Greco-Roman (6)

Demonstration sports

  • Basque pelota
  • Canoeing
  • Jeu de paume
  • Savate
  • Volleyball
  • Baseball



Seventeen sports venues were used in the 1924 Summer Olympics. Stade de Colombes served as the final venue for the 1938 FIFA World Cup between Italy and Hungary.
Venue Sports Capacity
Bagatelle Polo 598
Bassin d'Argenteuil Rowing 2,216
Camp de Châlons Shooting (600 m free rifle individual and team) 395
Fontainebleau Modern pentathlon (riding) Not listed.
Hippodrome d'Auteuil Equestrian 8,922
Issy-les-Moulineaux Shooting (trap shooting, including team event) 41
Le Havre Sailing 541
Le Stade Olympique de Reims Shooting (trap shooting, running target) 420
Le Stand de Tir de Versailles Modern pentathlon (shooting), Shooting (25 m rapid fire pistol, running deer) 82
Meulan-en-Yvelines Sailing 389
Piscine des Tourelles Diving, Modern pentathlon (swimming), Swimming, Water polo 8,023
Saint-Cloud Polo 7,836
Stade Bergeyre Football 10,455
Stade de Colombes Athletics, Cycling (road), Equestrian, Fencing, Football (final), Gymnastics, Modern pentathlon (fencing, running), Rugby union, Tennis 60,000
Stade de Paris Football 5,145
Stade Pershing Football 8,110
Vélodrome d'hiver Boxing, Fencing, Weightlifting, Wrestling 10,884
Vélodrome de Vincennes Cycling (track) 12,750

Participating nations

A total of 44 nations were represented at the 1924 Games. Germany was still absent, having not been invited by the Organizing Committee.[25] China (although did not compete), Ecuador, Haiti, Ireland, Lithuania, and Uruguay attended the Olympic Games for the first time while the Philippines competed for first time in an Olympic Games as a nation though it first participated in 1900 Summer Olympic Games also in this city. Latvia and Poland attended the Summer Olympic Games for the first time (having both appeared earlier at the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix).


Participating Countries of the 1924 Olympiad

 File:1924 Summer Olympics numbers of athletes.png

Number of athletes

Participating National Olympic Committees
  •  Argentina (77)
  •  Australia (36)
  •  Austria (49)
  •  Belgium (172)
  •  Brazil (12)
  •  Bulgaria (24)
  •  Canada (65)
  •  Chile (11)
  •  Cuba (9)
  •  Czechoslovakia (70)
  •  Denmark (89)
  •  Ecuador (3)
  •  Egypt (33)
  •  Estonia (44)
  •  Finland (90)
  •  France (401)
  •  Great Britain (239)
  •  Greece (26)
  •  Haiti (8)
  •  Hungary (89)
  •  India (7)
  •  Ireland (39)
  •  Italy (200)
  •  Japan (9)
  •  Latvia (41)
  •  Lithuania (13)
  •  Luxembourg (22)
  •  Mexico (13)
  •  Monaco (7)
  •  Netherlands (153)
  •  New Zealand (4)
  •  Norway (62)
  •  Philippines (1)
  •  Poland (65)
  •  Portugal (30)
  •  Romania (51)
  •  South Africa (30)
  •  Spain (129)
  •  Sweden (108)
  •  Switzerland (75)
  •  Turkey (31)
  •  United States (299)
  •  Uruguay (31)
  •  Yugoslavia (37)
Republic of China (1912–1949) China, also took part in the Opening Ceremony, but its four athletes (all tennis players) withdrew from competition

Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals the 1924 Games.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States 45 27 27 99
2  Finland 14 13 10 37
3  France* 13 15 10 38
4  Great Britain 9 13 12 34
5  Italy 8 3 5 16
6  Switzerland 7 8 10 25
7  Norway 5 2 3 10
8  Sweden 4 13 12 29
9  Netherlands 4 1 5 10
10  Belgium 3 7 3 13
Totals (10 nations) 112 102 97 311
Pierre de Coubertin—founder of the IOC & father of the modern Olympics movement—personally awarded 21 Gold medals to members of the 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition including 12 Britons, 7 Indians, 1 Australian and 1 Nepalese


The 1924 Summer Olympics are the last edition of the Summer Olympics to be held in Paris. One hundred years later, the city will host the 2024 Summer Olympics, marking the third time the city hosts the games. One venue from the 1924 Games is slated to be used in 2024. The extensively renovated and downsized main stadium, known since 1928 as Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, will host field hockey.

Last surviving competitor

The last surviving competitor of the 1924 Summer Olympics was Croatian swimmer Ivo Pavelić, who died on 22 February 2011 at the age of 103.


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