1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s 29 nations participated in the 1920 Olympiad, held in Antwerp, Belgium, with less than a year to really prepare. There had been a hiatus from the 4 year cycle because of World War I; the Games had last been held in 1912. There was great excitement in the athletic world with the announcement in 1919 that the Games would be held, but preparation was rather impromptu. Finland was competing for the 1st time as a completely independent nation, having gained its independence from Sweden in 1917. The Finns won 34 medals, 4th highest behind the United States, Great Britain, and Sweden.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s PaavoNurmi of Finland won the 10K race and the 10K cross-country race (no longer held). A. G.Hill of Great Britain also won 2 gold medals in middle-distance races (800 and 1500 meters). CharliePaddock of the United States won the 100-meter race, giving him the title of world's fastest man, with American winners in 7 other track and field events. DukeKahanamoku of Hawaii and NormanRoss of Chicago won gold in swimming (Ross with 3, Kahanamoku 2). American women swept the swim sprints, led by EthedaBleibtrey, The Americans were strong in shooting events, winning 8 gold’s there and numerous other medals.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s Olympic athletes were true amateurs and any of them who made any money on being an Olympic athlete lost his or her amateur standing and was considered a professional. This made them ineligible to compete in further amateur events, which, of course, included the Olympics. This was true of athletes in all sports and nations, so most of these athletes were happy to find jobs that allowed them some flexibility to train for their events. Unlike today, athletes train every day, all year round, most of these athletes just trained “in season” each year.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s In 1924 there were 2 Olympic Games, the Summer Games of Paris and, for the 1st time, Winter Games, held in Chamonix, France. The Winter Games were almost exclusively European nations and the United States and Canada, among the 16 competing countries. At the Winter Games, the United States won a total of 4 medals and finished 5th in medal competition, which was dominated by Norway and Finland. There were only 16 events. There was little interest in the Games in the United States.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s The Summer Games in Paris, by contrast, had 126 events, 44 countries competing, and over 3,000 athletes. The U.S. team dominated in the games with Finland, France, and Great Britain next highest in medals, but far behind the U.S. total of 45 gold medals and 99 total medals. The increased number of nations, the longer time for planning, and the increased attention by the American media made some Olympic winners American and/or world heroes.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s As a team, the U.S. men took 1st and 2nd in the broad (now long) jump, the high jump, the shot put, the hammer throw, the 200 meter, and the decathlon. JohnnyWeissmuller of Chicago took gold medals in both the 100- and 400-meter freestyle swimming events. In the 100, the United States had a sweep with DukeKahanamoku2nd and SamKahanamoku3rd. The United States took 13 gold medals in men's and women's swimming and diving. HelenWills and VinceRichards of the United States took gold medals in singles tennis as well as combining with others to win the men's and women's doubles titles.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s The final Olympic Games of the decade were held in 1928. The Winter Olympics were in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and again American impact at the Games and interest at home were minimal. 25 nations and 464 athletes competed, a marked increase from Chamonix 4 years earlier, but there were only 14 events. The United States took gold medals in 1 and 4-man bobsleds and totaled 6 medals (4 in bobsleds) to finish 2nd in medal totals to Norway's 15.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s The 1928 Games in Amsterdam were much better covered and there was increased interest in the United States and worldwide. There had been strong consideration of awarding the Games to Los Angeles, but finally, that city was awarded the 1932 Games. Countries from South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay), Africa (Egypt, South Africa), Asia (Japan, Philippines, India), and Australia/New Zealand competed and won medals. The U.S. victories now were seen as truer world victories, rather than just European and North American triumphs. The United States triumphed in the Amsterdam Games with 22 gold medals and 56 total medals. Germany, now dramatically recovered from the devastation of the world war, had 31 medals, including 10 gold.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s Repeat winners included, most notably PaavoNurmi, who took another gold and a silver medal to end his fabulous Olympic career. Nurmi toured Europe and the US, and was deemed a professional for taking too much money for his expenses in Germany. He and the Finns appealed, but he was denied and was unable to compete in the 1932 Games. He finished his Olympic career with 9 gold and 3 silver medals in 12 events. Another repeat winner was JohnnyWeissmuller, who once again won the 100-meter freestyle.
1920-1929 – The Olympic Games of the 1920s The continued American success at the Olympic Games and the anticipation of hosting the 1932 Games created greater interest in the Olympic Games in the US. GertrudeEderle, winner of 2 bronze medals for the 100- and 400-meter freestyles and a gold medal as part of a victorious U.S. relay team at the 1924 Paris Games, swam from France to England in 14 hours, 30 minutes, a record for men or women. Ederle, a native of New York City, was welcomed home with a tickertape parade on Broadway in New York.