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Olympics 1900-1909 The Olympic Games allowed U.S. sporting leaders to display American superiority through athletic performances Most other popular U.S.

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Presentation on theme: "Olympics 1900-1909 The Olympic Games allowed U.S. sporting leaders to display American superiority through athletic performances Most other popular U.S."— Presentation transcript:

1 Olympics The Olympic Games allowed U.S. sporting leaders to display American superiority through athletic performances Most other popular U.S. sports provided little opportunity to create intense nationalistic feelings (Baseball, American football, and basketball were all played in the United States) Most international championships took place in European countries, and travel costs often kept U.S. athletes from participating Set within a 4 year cycle, the Olympic Games provided organizers time to raise necessary funds for the expensive journeys

2 Olympics The variety of sports and the focus on track and field also helped U.S. officials justify the incredible effort to compete The creation of the modern Olympic Games in 1896 coincided with progressive leaders' (James Sullivan, Casper Whitney, Albert Spalding, Luther Gulick, and Teddy Roosevelt) efforts in the US to create a sense of American uniqueness and national identity At the Paris Games, American athletes sought to prove that they could not only compete with traditional powers, but that due to scientific focus on training methods US athletes were superior

3 Olympics American support of the Olympics led the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to award the nation the Games for 1904 American athletes would have the opportunity to shine without traveling to Europe American leaders believed the 1904 Games would not only allow America to demonstrate its athletic superiority but also to stake its claim as one of the leading nations in the world

4 Olympics President Theodore Roosevelt standing with members of the 1904 U.S. Olympic team. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

5 Olympics Regardless of Sullivan's experience and expertise, the Games flopped. European nations stayed away. Missing was the international flavor of the Games. Athletes wore club or school uniforms exclusively rather than U.S. uniforms, making it hard to detect any international competitions

6 Olympics For all of their failings, the 1904 Olympics did offer highlights and innovations They were the first Games in which gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded 4 new recognized events were included for men in the program: boxing, dumbbells, the decathlon, and freestyle wrestling For women, archery was added to the Olympic program

7 Olympics In swimming Hungary's Zoltan Halmay beat American J. Scott Leary by just one foot in the 50-meter event The American judge ruled that Leary had won Halmay and Leary ended up in fisticuffs over the ruling, and the judges ordered a rematch In the pool, Halmay once again edged Leary in the second race. In track and field, the marathon provided incredible, if not comedic, drama Run on a very humid day with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the runners left the stadium and embarked on a dusty, unpaved course Mounted horsemen cleared the trail in front of the leaders Doctors, judges, and reporters in automobiles followed the horses The net result was a constant cloud of dust kicked up into the runners' faces

8 Olympics American physical educators and scientists, including Luther Gulick and Charles Lucas, used the Olympic marathon as a platform to demonstrate science's ability to improve human performance Lucas monitored British-born Thomas Hicks, who ran for the American team throughout the race. Using theirscientific theories Lucas and his team helped Hicks twice during the race achieve his supposedly maximum potential through sulphate of strychnine and egg whites When Hicks requested water, they sponged his mouth out instead After 20 miles of running despite the heat, they bathed him in warm water from the boiler of a steam automobile along with the strychnine and a shot of brandy. Whether from the special treatment or despite it Hicks ran the race in 3:28:53

9 Olympics The 1904 marathon held significance for being the 1 st Olympic race to include the 1 st 2 black Africans to compete in the Olympics, Zulu tribesmen Lentauw and Yamasani Americans demonstrated their prejudice in referring to the runners as the two Kaffirs This derogatory term, used by the media, Olympic officials, fair organizers, and fans, proved that mainstream white Americans remained unprepared to see blacks from Africa, Cuba, North America, or any place in the world as equals The 2 runners were actually on loan to the Olympic race from the fair's Department of Anthropology, where they participated in the Boer War exhibit

10 Olympics Athens Games The Greek games saved the Olympic movement from near failure. The Athens games were wildly successful, setting attendance records The United States sent a large contingent in order to dispel rumors that their dominance at St. Louis was due to the lack of European competition For the first time the American Olympic Committee (AOC) and the AAU consolidated control of the American team to ensure that the strongest team possible would go to Athens Olympic organizers held local fund drives and raised $15,000 to help defray travel costs for the trip

11 Olympics American athletes dominated in track and field events American media declared the team the winners of the Games, even though the United States did not win the total medal count One of the things that the Athenians did in hosting these Games was to limit the program and condense it into a manageable time frame so that the events would not go on for months

12 Olympics A significant development of these Panhellenic Games saw the Great Britain national team wholeheartedly embrace the Olympic movement Great Britain was the leading sport nation in the world and their full participation and endorsement of the Games boosted the young movement's prestige. In addition, they gave U.S. athletes a strong competitive challenge

13 Olympics A new rivalry between the US and Great Britain took on renewed significance now that the Olympic Games would be contested on British soil More than any other nation, the US sought to distance themselves from the British, due in part to the fact that the US had always lived in the shadow of Great Britain as one of its former colonies For American leaders the Olympics provided opportunities to display to the world that they were as good, if not better than, their mother country

14 Olympics The 1908 London organizing committee set new standards for organizational efficiency They followed the lead of the Greeks in limiting the scope and breadth of the program to the central Olympic contests London held the contests in Shepherd's Bush Stadium, an 85,000-seat venue that held a 100-meter swimming pool surrounded by a five-lap-to-the-mile cinder running track and a 660-yard concrete cycling track Organizers developed a parade of nations where over 2000 athletes and officials representing 18 countries marched around the cinder running track carrying the flags of their countries

15 Olympics In the stadium no American flag flew The British explained that no suitable American flag could be found and that no ill will was meant American athletes and officials, incensed at what they believed to be an intentional slight, decided to break Olympic protocol The protocol called for each nation's flag bearer to dip their flag in deference to the hospitality of the organizing nation when passing in front of the host leaders As Irish American shot putter and designated flag bearer Ralph Rose approached King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in the royal box, Rose and the American contingent refused to dip the colors before the royal family Rose would later explain, This flag dips for no earthly king. The actions set the stage for a bitterly fought Olympic Games between the 2 nations The media, fans, and officials representing each nation attempted to explain incidents that would occur as indicative of the weakness of the other's cultural and moral values, thus increasing their own sense of superiority

16 Olympics The 400-meter track final was between Great Britain and the US -the stage was set for drama 3 American runnersRobbins of Harvard, Carpenter of Cornell, and Taylor from the Irish-American Athletic Clubmet in the final against Lieutenant Wyndam Halswelle of Great Britain Coming toward the finish Carpenter passed Halswelle and teammate Robbins for what appeared to be the Olympic title British judges ruled that Carpenter fouled Halswelle on the final turn The judges stepped on the track and cut the finishing tape, thereby ruling the race invalid When Carpenter reached the finish line there was no tape to cross and the controversy erupted The British judges ruled a re-run and disqualified Carpenter In the rescheduled race, the 2 remaining American runners refused to compete Halswelle jogged around the track to his unchallenged victory and the only walkover in Olympic history, while the media on each side cried foul against the opposing nation

17 Olympics American distance runners held low expectations American officials believed that distance running benefited sluggish sportsmen and did not represent the vigorous American athlete who excelled in power and speed The British had been the leading force in distance running and most people believed they would dominate this event The British runners faded trying to rein in Italian runner Dorando Pietri, who set a blistering pace When Pietri entered the stadium, the pace had obviously affected him He ran the wrong direction before collapsing on the sloping cycling track around the stadium British officials ran to his aid and gave him a shot of strychnine to invigorate him Pietri started again but soon collapsed (British officials lifted him as he struggled around the track with their help) With Pietri 100 meters from the finish line the crowd roared as American John J. Hayes entered the stadium, running relaxed toward the finish British officials quickly gathered up Pietri and literally dragged him across the finish before the hard-charging Hayes

18 Olympics Refusing to disqualify Pietri, the British judges placed AOC officials in an awkward position of protesting Pietri's victory, which many had heralded as a heroic effort The British officials finally granted the American protest and disqualified Pietri British officials demeaned the Americans as being too concerned with winning and argued that, had it been an English runner who had finished behind Pietri, there would have been no issue as the British would have honored his supreme effort The British press went as far as to claim that Hayes had forfeited a rare opportunity to become a beloved figure in Great Britain and wipe away the negative images of American athletes that the British people had developed The British argued that true sportsmanship would let the race finish as it did with no protests

19 Olympics After the 1908 Games American officials claimed that they had won their fifth straight Olympic Championship and heralded their sporting technology and scientific training methods along with American determination for creating the greatest athletic nation in the world The British took offense to these claims, attacking American attitudes of winning at all costs at the expense of fair play and sportsmanship They noted that American claims never reflected medal counts of all events. Americans responded by arguing that they only competed in truly athletic contests and that had they chosen to compete in what they considered nonathletic sports then they would dominate those as well

20 Olympics Americans used new ideas to define themselves during this decade, as well as to separate themselves from Great Britain Using the image of a melting pot that strengthened the old bloodlines of Europeans, the United States boasted about the racial and ethnic background of their Olympic team that included Teutons, Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Slavs, Black Ethiopians, and red Indians While this egalitarian ideal existed on the Olympic team, it did not reflect the reality of American society at the time Blacks remained barred from baseball, and the Irish, Italians, and other recent immigrants still struggled in ghettoized areas of American cities The ideal of the melting pot looked impressive on the Olympic roster but it was by no means the reality of life in America


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