Saturday, July 8, 2017

Your Russians Are Missing

The 1908 Olympics games were unique, impressive, and scandalous. 
There was an emergency change in venue, the Russians were missing, the games took 6 months, female athletes were "indecent, undignified, and improper", and the marathon created an Olympic controversy and change in rules. 
Poster for London Olympics 1908, In the Great Stadium, Shepherds Bush London. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
The White City Stadium, with a capacity of 68,000, was constructed in 10 months. 
Italy was scheduled to host the 1908 Olympics. However, an earthquake and volcano had other ideas. The games were hastily reassigned to London and the Brits came through. 
"For the first time, a stadium was prepared just for the Games, and swimming events did not take place in the open water."
Diving in the middle of the field. Swedish athletes in a march-past during the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, White City Stadium. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com

Opening ceremony, London Olympic Games, 1908 
During the Parade of Nations, the American flag bearer broke with tradition and did not dip the US flag while passing the host delegation. 
It caused a scandal and intent, cause and the impropriety of the Americans was debated for years after. 
The City Toastmaster in top hat and tails, making announcements to the crowd with megaphone at the 1908 London Olympics. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
The Toastmaster, William Knightsmith, was so marvelous, that Toastmasters since have failed to compare. Memorabilia, like his bullhorn and hat, are valued beyond some of the athletic paraphernalia. 
The US discussed boycotting the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It was ultimately decided that the US would attend, refuse to dip the Stars and Stripes, and watch Jesse Owens beat the pants off the Nazis. 
Great Britain's Henry Taylor is carried shoulder-high around the White City stadium after winning gold in Freestyle swimming the 1908 Olympics Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Great Britain's Henry Taylor, after winning gold in Freestyle Swimming and becoming the first Brit to win three gold medals at a single competition.
The Franco-British Exhibition was held at the same time. The event lasted over 6 months, ending in October with four-figure skating events. 
Olympic Bicycle Polo, one of several demonstration sports. Shepherd's Bush Stadium, 1908 London Olympics. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Olympic Bicycle Polo, one of several demonstration sports.
Shepherd's Bush Stadium, 1908 London Olympics. 
Less than 30% of the revenue from the games was generated from ticket sales. With donations, the games made a profit of £6,377.
The US Olympic Tug of War Team competing in the 1908 games. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
The US Olympic Tug of War Team competing in the 1908 games. 
UK police forces won gold, silver and bronze medals in Tug of War for Great Britain. The US team accused the Liverpool Police of cheating by wearing spiked boots. 
"At the close of the competition, the Liverpool Police team offered to pull their American opponents in bare feet, but that offer was declined." 
Olympic diving at White City Stadium in London, July 1908. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Olympic diving at White City Stadium in London, 1908 
"All sports for all people." - Pierre de Coubertin
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic games and the International Olympic Committee, had hoped to promote peace and international camaraderie with the games. 
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." - Pierre de Coubertin
Sybil Queenie Newall of the United Kingdom, gold medalist in women's archery. 1908. The oldest woman to will Olympic Gold. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Sybil "Queenie" Newall representing the United Kingdom. Competing just before her 54th birthday, she was the oldest woman to ever win gold.
However, "all people" evidently did not include female people.  
"Women have but one task, that of crowning the winner with garlands." - Pierre de Coubertin
Prior to 1951, the IOC members voted on the inclusion of women's events at each game. In 1908, women were allowed to compete in archery, figure skating and tennis. 
Danish gymnastics team. Exhibition at the London Olympics in 1908. The gymnasts hold their teammates' feet while they stretch. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
The Danish gymnastics team, partitioning in the women's gymnastics exhibition at the London Olympics, 1908.
Women also participated in exhibitions of fencing, swimming, diving, and gymnastics. 
"Women at the Olympic games? Never! It would be indecent, undignified, and improper. It would decrease their femininity." - Pierre de Coubertin
Poster listing 1908 Olympic winners and a photo collage of participants. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Poster listing 1908 Olympic winners and a photo collage of participants.
One of the oddest occurrences was the late (really, really late) arrival of the Russian Olympic team. 
12 days after the games started, the Russians made it to London. They were able to compete in wrestling, the marathon, and skating but other events were already completed.
Promotional Poster 1908 Olympic Games Shepherds Bush London, in French. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Promotional Poster for the Fourth International Olympic Games and Franco-British expo. Dates, particularly related to calendar type are not specified. 
At that time, being an Eastern Orthodox country, the Russians had refused to change from the Julian calendar to the Catholic formulated Gregorian calendar. Consequently, they were 12 days behind the historically Catholic calendar users.
Hungarian Weisz Richárd became the Olympic super heavyweight, Greco-Roman Wrestling champion after beating Russian Alexander Petrov. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Hungarian Weisz Richárd became the Olympic super heavyweight, Greco-Roman Wrestling champion after beating Russian Alexander Petrov. 
Russia made the change in calendars after the Bolsheviks took over and were therefore on time for WWII.
Photo of Russian Nikolai Panin, AKA Nikolai Kolomenkin on the ice, looking very dapper. The Olympics Special Figures Skating Gold Medal champion 1908. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Russian skate Nikolai Panin, AKA Nikolai Kolomenkin, was the Olympic Special Figures Gold Medal champion in 1908. 
The Special Figures event, held in October, involved the skaters presenting drawings of original designs they would etched into the ice. 
Russian skating champion, Nikolai Panin submitted figures that were so challenging, his strongest competitor Salchow opted not to skate. He did, however, loudly heckle and verbally harass Panin while he performed.
Nikolai Panin, AKA Kolomenkin Russian figure skater, striking a pose the ice. The Olympics Special Figures Skating Gold Medal champion 1908. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Nikolai Panin, AKA Kolomenkin, Russian figure skater, competed under a pseudonym to avoid state regulations. When discovered, he supervisor's primary complaint was his employee had appeared in public wearing tights. 
Panin then refused to participate in the other skating event, accusing the judges of being biased. 
Even more scandalous, Panin had competed under a pseudonym and illegally. Nikolai was really Nikolai Aleksandrovich Kolomenkin, an assistant of tax inspector and as a state employee barred from competition.
Nikolai became a skating coach but received more acclaim for his skill with firearms, training both competitors and soldiers through the cold war.
Olympic swimmer Henry Taylor first Briton to win three gold medals at a single Games (400m 1,500m and 4x200m freestyle relay.Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Swimmer Henry Taylor, shaking hands with an Olympic official after winning one of his gold medals.
Like the prior Olympics, the London officials were chosen exclusively from the host country but after several controversial calls, all future Olympic judging panels were appointed from several countries.
1908 Marathon. Runners start at Windsor Castle. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
The 1908 marathon started at Windsor Castle.
An uproar after the 1908 marathon also prompted the establishment of standard rules.
At prior games, the marathon was around 25 miles long, roughly the distance of the route from Marathon to Athens. 
The 1908 race was extended to 26.2 miles. Starting at Windsor Castle, the distance was increased to end in front of the King’s seat, and 26.2 miles became the standard for future marathons.
 Dorando Pietri, the Italian long-distance runner, competing in the 1908 Olympic marathon. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Dorando Pietri, competing in the 1908 Olympic marathon.
Dorando Pietri, the Italian long-distance runner, became a global celebrity. During the last leg of the race, he entered the overcapacity stadium three minutes ahead of the other marathon runners. 
He was dehydrated and confused, and ran in the wrong direction. Re-directed by the officials, he fell several times and regained his footing only with the help. 
Marathon 1908 London Olympics. Dorando Pietri, dehydrated and disoriented, accompanied by two officials, stumbles across the finish line. Your Russians are missing. marchmatron.com
Dorando Pietri, dehydrated and disoriented, accompanied by two officials, stumbles across the finish line. 
American Johnny Hayes, second to cross the finish line, lodged a complaint, stating that the help Pietri had received disqualified him. The complaint was accepted and Pietri was disqualified. 
Being the clear crowd favorite, and usurped by a non-flag-dipping American, Queen Alexandra awarded Pietri a gilded silver cup in recognition of his character, determination, and not being an obnoxious American. 
 JJ Hayes, American marathon runner, carried on a table by his teammates, after being awarded the win in the  Olympics 1908. Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
JJ Hayes, American marathon runner, carried in victory on a table by his teammates, the marathon trophy by his feet, London, 1908.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had been commissioned by the Daily Mail to report on the race. He was so taken with Pietri's attempt, he started an international donation for the runner.
Italian marathon runner Pietri holding the gilded silver cup from Queen Alexandra he was awarded in 1908 after being disqualified from his Olympic run.Your Russians are missing and other stories about past Olympics. marchmatron.com
Italian marathon runner Pietri, holding the gilded silver cup from Queen Alexandra, awarded in 1908 after being disqualified from his Olympic run.
"The Italian's great performance can never be effaced from our record of sport, be the decision of the judges what it may." - Arthur Conan Doyle

#Olympics #Russia #Marathon 
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Other stories of Olympics:


www.marchmatron.com/2017/09/coxswain.html
Coxswain

www.marchmatron.com/2017/09/i-was-in-olympics.html
I was in the Olympics?

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