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History of the Olympics

1900 - Paris, France


The 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, France

The 1900 Olympics, hosted by his own country, greatly disappointed Pierre de Coubertin. Coubertin and the IOC lost control when the French government took over the organizing and planning of the Games.

At the same time of the Olympic Games, Paris was also hosting the World Exhibition, an international fair of immense size. Because of the fair, the Olympics were poorly organized and poorly publicized.

Though more athletes attended the 1900 Games than in 1896, the conditions that greeted the contestants were abysmal. Scheduling conflicts were so great that many contestants never made it to their events. And even when they did make it, athletes found the area for the running events to be on grass (rather than on cinder track) and uneven; the discus and hammer throwers often found that there wasn't enough room to throw so their shots landed in the trees; the hurdles were made out of broken telephone poles; and the swimming events were conducted in the Seine River which had an extremely strong current.

Runners in the marathon suspected the French participants of cheating since the American runners reached the finish line without having the French athletes pass them, only to find the French runners already at the finish line seemingly refreshed. The confusion was so great that many participants had not realized that they had participated in the Olympics.

It was in the 1900 Olympic Games that women first participated as contestants.

At least 1,066 athletes participated, representing 19 countries.

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