1928 Summer Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city (Venues)
Opening ceremony 28 July
Closing ceremony 12 August
Competition dates 17 May – 12 August
OCOG Nederlands Olympisch Comité (Comité 1928)
Participants 3297 from 46 countries
Medal events 123 in 20 disciplines
Other events 3 in 3 disciplines

Overview

The 1928 Olympics were an unusual event in that no single athlete dominated. Paavo Nurmi was back and he won three more medals, but only one of them was gold. Johnny Weissmuller was back and again won two gold medals. The 1928 Olympic Games began with a minor controversy, when the Netherlands’ Queen Wilhelmina refused to attend the Opening Ceremony, reportedly because she was upset about not having been consulted on the date of the opening. The Games were instead opened by His Royal Highness Prince Hendrik, but the Queen did attend the closing ceremony. During the Games, there was no Olympic Village, and none was necessary, because many of the teams boarded their athletes on ships moored in Amsterdam Harbour.

The biggest story of the 1928 Olympics was probably the emergence of women. The ancient Olympic Games did not allow women as competitors, or even as spectators. If they were found to be watching they were supposedly put to death. Baron Pierre de Coubertin originally did not support women competing in the Olympics and thus, in the modern Olympics, women were admitted slowly and only grudgingly.

In 1900, women competed in croquet, golf, tennis, sailing, and probably archery. In 1904, women competed only in archery. In both of those years, the events were hard to define and women’s participation was never officially accepted or approved by the IOC. That was to come in 1912 when women’s swimming was admitted to the Olympics.

Track & field athletics has always been the showcase sport of the Olympics. Women were not allowed to compete until 1928, not that they didn’t try. Track & field is controlled by the IAAF (then the International Amateur Athletic Federation) and they did not support the admission of women’s track & field to the Olympics. So the women formed a separate organization, the FSFI (Fédération Sportive Féminine Internationale). The FSFI held its own events, the Women’s “Olympics” in 1922 in Paris, and the 1926 “2nd International Ladies’ Games” in Göteborg, Sweden.

It was only after these games proved the success of women’s athletics that the IAAF acquiesced and allowed the sport into the Olympics. On 5 April 1926, the IOC capitulated as well and accepted the recommendation of the IAAF to allow women to compete in track & field athletics at the Olympics. However, in 1928, only five events were held for women, which the FSFI felt was far too few (the men had 21), so the FSFI also held Women’s World Games in 1930 and 1934, before the organization was absorbed into the IAAF. The 1928 Olympic track & field events were so few and in such varied disciplines that no single woman could dominate. They were marred when several women finalists were on the verge of collapse after the 800 metres, a not uncommon sight among men either. The IAAF reacted by barring women from running over 200 metres at the Olympics, which was only changed in 1960.

The 1928 Olympics had few of the difficulties that would manifest themselves at the next few Games. The depression had not yet occurred, which would mar the 1932 Olympics. Hitler was still in prison and the post-World War II boycotts had not yet occurred. They were missing the single standout athlete and one other thing. Because of illness, Coubertin missed his first Olympics since 1906. He did not get to see women compete in track & field.

Bid process

Amsterdam (Netherlands) was chosen as the host city at the 20th IOC Session in Lausanne on 2 June 1921, in the dual vote with Paris for 1924 (see The Games of the VIIIth Olympiad). The only other city considered was Los Angeles, California (United States). Amsterdam had been virtually promised the 1928 Olympics when it stepped aside in favor of Paris for the 1924 Olympic Games as a favor to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the IOC, who was retiring as IOC President after the 1924 Olympics and wished to have them held in his native France.

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Hendrik van Mecklenburg-Schwerin (His Royal Highness Prince)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Harry Dénis
Flagbearers Full list

Medal Disciplines

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

Other Disciplines

Kaatsen Korfball Lacrosse

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 22 18 16 56
Germany GER 11 9 19 39
Netherlands NED 8 10 5 23
Finland FIN 8 8 9 25
France FRA 7 12 6 25
Sweden SWE 7 6 12 25
Italy ITA 7 6 7 20
Switzerland SUI 7 6 4 17
Hungary HUN 5 5 0 10
Great Britain GBR 4 11 7 22
Canada CAN 4 4 7 15
Argentina ARG 3 3 1 7
Denmark DEN 3 2 4 9
Austria AUT 3 0 1 4
Czechoslovakia TCH 2 5 2 9
Japan JPN 2 2 1 5
Poland POL 2 1 4 7
Estonia EST 2 1 2 5
Egypt EGY 2 1 1 4
Australia AUS 1 2 1 4
Norway NOR 1 2 1 4
Yugoslavia YUG 1 1 3 5
South Africa RSA 1 0 2 3
India IND 1 0 0 1
Ireland IRL 1 0 0 1
Luxembourg LUX 1 0 0 1
New Zealand NZL 1 0 0 1
Spain ESP 1 0 0 1
Uruguay URU 1 0 0 1
Belgium BEL 0 1 2 3
Chile CHI 0 1 0 1
Haiti HAI 0 1 0 1
Philippines PHI 0 0 1 1
Portugal POR 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Georges Miez SUI 3 1 0 4
Hermann Hänggi SUI 2 1 1 4
Lucien Gaudin FRA 2 1 0 3
Eugen Mack SUI 2 0 1 3
Charles Pahud de Mortanges NED 2 0 0 2
Carl-Friedrich Freiherr von Langen GER 2 0 0 2
Henry Hansen DEN 2 0 0 2
Ödön Tersztyánszky HUN 2 0 0 2
Martha Norelius USA 2 0 0 2
Albina Osipowich USA 2 0 0 2
Pete Desjardins USA 2 0 0 2
George Kojac USA 2 0 0 2
Johnny Weissmuller USA 2 0 0 2
Percy Williams CAN 2 0 0 2
Ray Barbuti USA 2 0 0 2

All medalists at these Games