Gymnast With Wooden Leg Wins Gold At America’s First Olympics

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Health Editor’s Note:  When you see the current Olympics and know much money and hype is spent on them, it is hard to imagine that it all started with running, jumping and throwing events with boxing, wrestling, and chariot racing all performed while naked. Of course the Olympics that we experience now were inspired by the ancient Greeks from 776BC to at least 393AD with social, cultural, and sporting highlights. Any free, Greek male could participate although most were military. No women need apply to compete as they were not even allowed to attend the games. The Olympics were so important to the Greeks that they would delay forming armies for war so the Olympics could be held……Carol 

The 1904 Olympic Marathon May Have Been the Strangest Ever

by Karen Abbott Smithsonian.com

America’s first Olympics may have been its worst, or at least its most bizarre. Held in 1904 in St. Louis, the games were tied to that year’s World’s Fair, which celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase while advancing, as did all such turn-of-the-century expositions, the notion of American imperialism. Although there were moments of surprising and genuine triumph (gymnast George Eyser earned six medals, including three gold, despite his wooden leg), the games were largely overshadowed by the fair, which offered its own roster of sporting events, including the controversial Anthropology Days, in which a group of “savages” recruited from the fair’s international villages competed in a variety of athletic feats—among them a greased-pole climb, “ethnic” dancing, and mud slinging—for the amusement of Caucasian spectators. Pierre de Coubertin, a French historian and founder of the International Olympic Committee, took disapproving note of the spectacle and made a prescient observation: “As for that outrageous charade, it will of course lose its appeal when black men, red men and yellow men learn to run, jump and throw, and leave the white men behind them.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. ” No women need apply to compete as they were not even allowed to attend the games”
    ah, those were the days

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