History of the Olympic Games


Site: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dates: May 17 - August 12
Nations: 46
Total Athletes: 3,014
Sports: 14

For the first time in history, Pierre de Coubertin, the founder and longtime president of the IOC, did not attend the IX Olympiad because of retirement. Belgian Count Henri de Bailet-Latour, the new IOC President, stood before Prince Hendrik to open the Games.

By now, the Olympiad idea had taken growth. No longer were there fears that this might be the final Games. In fact a record 46 nations and 3,014 athletes participated and competed in 109 medal events.

Amsterdam opened the doors to women in the Olympics, allowing them in track and field competitions. They participated in the high jump, the 100-and-200 meter sprints, the 4x100 meter relay and the 800-meter run. Prior to 1928, women had only been permitted to compete in tennis, golf, archery, figure skating, yachting, swimming, diving and fencing. Tennis was dropped because of the fact that all the best players, both male and female, were professional.

Boughera El Ouafi, an Algerian colonial but competing for France, became the first track and field woman gold medallist. She won the marathon. However, things turned bad when during the 800 meters, Germany's Lina Radke, the winner of the event, led a group of women in various states of collapse across the finish line. Immediately, critics jumped on this event as their reasoning for not allowing women in such physically demanding sports. From this point on, the IOC, led by Lator, would ban women from participating in any races beyond half a lap. That would stand for 32 years until the 1960 Rome Games.

Finnish legend Paavo Nurmi capped a sensational Olympic career by adding another gold medal and 12th of his illustrious career.

Canadian Percy Williams stunned spectators with his brilliance in the 100-and 200-meter sprint, while swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, improved his dominance of four years earlier with gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay.

Germany, fresh off its probation for its aggressiveness in World War I, finished second only to the United States in gold and overall medals with 10 and 31 versus 22 and 31 for the U.S.

Ibrahim Moustafa (wrestling) and Zarid Simaika (diving) took three medals for Egypt, the first African nation to field an autonomous delegation. Japan took its first three medals in track and field, and the Uruguayans repeated their soccer domination (on their way to victory in the first World Cup in 1930). India also entered its first Olympic field hockey team and beat the host Dutch, 3-0 in the final to begin a streak of gold medals through 1960.

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