1924 Summer Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city Paris, France (Venues)
Opening ceremony 5 July
Closing ceremony 27 July
Competition dates 4 May – 27 July
OCOG Comité exécutif des Jeux de la VIIIe Olympiade
Participants 3257 from 45 countries
Medal events 131 in 23 disciplines
Other events 12 in 4 disciplines

Overview

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, and the Olympics of the movie, 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 US 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 gold medal 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, and become a famous pediatrician, the author of the renowned book on child raising, Baby and Child Care. He became 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 then 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.

Bid process

At the 20th IOC Session in Lausanne on 2 June 1921, Baron Pierre de Coubertin requested that the IOC formally vote for Paris (France), to host the 1924 Olympic Games and Amsterdam (Netherlands), to host the 1928 Olympic Games. This request was based on his intended retirement as IOC President shortly after the 1924 Olympic Games. The IOC voted on this matter with 14 votes for the proposal, 4 against the proposal, and 4 abstentions. Four other cities had been bidding for the 1924 Games: Barcelona (Spain), Los Angeles, California (United States), Prague (Czechoslovakia) and Rome (Italy).

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Gaston Doumergue (President)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Géo André
Flagbearers Full list

Medal Disciplines

Art Competitions Equestrian Eventing Sailing
Artistic Gymnastics Equestrian Jumping Shooting
Athletics Fencing Swimming
Boxing Football Tennis
Cycling Road Modern Pentathlon Water Polo
Cycling Track Polo Weightlifting
Diving Rowing Wrestling
Equestrian Dressage Rugby

Other Disciplines

Basque pelota Canoe Sprint
Canne De Combat Savate

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 45 27 27 99
France FRA 14 15 12 41
Finland FIN 14 13 10 37
Great Britain GBR 9 14 12 35
Italy ITA 8 3 5 16
Switzerland SUI 7 8 10 25
Norway NOR 5 2 3 10
Sweden SWE 4 13 12 29
Netherlands NED 4 1 6 11
Belgium BEL 3 7 3 13
Australia AUS 3 1 2 6
Denmark DEN 2 6 3 11
Hungary HUN 2 4 4 10
Yugoslavia YUG 2 0 0 2
Czechoslovakia TCH 1 4 5 10
Argentina ARG 1 3 2 6
Estonia EST 1 1 4 6
South Africa RSA 1 1 1 3
Luxembourg LUX 1 1 0 2
Greece GRE 1 0 0 1
Uruguay URU 1 0 0 1
Austria AUT 0 3 1 4
Canada CAN 0 3 1 4
Ireland IRL 0 1 1 2
Poland POL 0 1 1 2
Haiti HAI 0 0 1 1
Japan JPN 0 0 1 1
Monaco MON 0 0 1 1
New Zealand NZL 0 0 1 1
Portugal POR 0 0 1 1
Romania ROU 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Paavo Nurmi FIN 5 0 0 5
Ville Ritola FIN 4 2 0 6
Roger Ducret FRA 3 2 0 5
Johnny Weissmuller USA 3 0 1 4
Vinnie Richards USA 2 1 0 3
Ole Lilloe-Olsen NOR 2 1 0 3
Hazel Wightman USA 2 0 0 2
Helen Wills USA 2 0 0 2
Adolf van der Voort van Zijp NED 2 0 0 2
Armand Blanchonnet FRA 2 0 0 2
Lucien Gaudin FRA 2 0 0 2
André Labatut FRA 2 0 0 2
Francesco Martino ITA 2 0 0 2
Leon Štukelj YUG 2 0 0 2
Émile Lachapelle SUI 2 0 0 2
Bud Fisher USA 2 0 0 2
Ethel Lackie USA 2 0 0 2
Al White USA 2 0 0 2
Bud Houser USA 2 0 0 2
Harold Osborn USA 2 0 0 2

All medalists at these Games