France and the Olympic Games

Alexandria Smith

When have France Held the Summer Olympics and who were the athletes who became well-known for their achievements at these Games?

II Olympiad - 1900 Paris

Opening Date: 14th May 1900

Closing Date: 28 October 1900

Other Candidate Cities: None

Nations Competing: 24

Events: 95


The olympic games in Paris were held for a period of 5 1/2 months. The idea around the theme of the games included drawing inspiration from the original games of Ancient Olympia. They wanted to use the original decorations and facades from these games. This included pillars and statues, although this idea became lost due to miscommunications between the organisers. We know this from many of the documents and artifacts located from the promotion of the games. On the tickets, it was more common to see 'Exposition Universelle' than 'Olympics' as this was a new concept to society at the time.

These olympic games have had many historians' seperated, as these games were on at the same time as a local fair known as the 'Competions of physical excersise and Sport'. There was no opening ceremony for these Olympics, although there was an official opening for the Fair. There was no mention of the Games, at the ceremony though. A month later the events for the olympics commenced. History was made this year, as it was the first year the olympics allowed female participants.

Ray Ewry (United States)

Ray was from Indiana and as a child suffered from Polio. He was forced to use a wheelchair and doctors had doubts that he would ever walk again. he proved all the doctors wrong by stregthening his legs by jumping. He entered the long, high and the triple standing jump event (which are no longer event in the olympics). He won all 3 Gold medals in the 1900 and 1904 games. He also won the standing long jump and the standing high jump in 1908. He was nicknamed 'The Human Frog' for his outstanding achievements.

Charlotte Cooper (Great Britain)

'Chattie' dominated tennis at the beggining of the 20th centuary. She had previously won 3 women's single titles at Wimbledon. She played for Great Britain winning the women's singles and the doubles. She continued on to win Wimbledon a futher 2 times and was a 5 tim runner-up.

Alvin Kraenzlein (United States)

Four gold medals from 4 individual olympic events is what he gained from the 1900 olympics. He was the only person to do so, winning the 60 metre sprint, the 110 metre hurdles, the 200 metre hurdles and the long jump.

Margaret Abbott (United States)

Magaret was in Paris and by fluke decided to compete in the Sports fair in golf. She did not know it, but she was actually competing in the Olympics. She had won the Olympic gold medal and earned her way into the record book as the only women's Olympic Golf Champian and the first American Women to win a gold medal.

VIII Olympiad - 1924 Paris

Opening Date: 4th May 1924

Closing Date: 27th July 1924

Other Candidate Cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Prague and Rome

Nations: 44

Events: 126


This was the first time ever that the Radio had been used to broadcast the Olympic Games.This was the first time in the history of the Modern Olympics that they returned to a city that had already hosted the event before. This acted as a special commemoration for the founder of the Olympic Games, as it had been 30 years since the decision to revive the games was formed. The main responsible was Pierre de Coubertin and was the last one organised under his guidance. This time the games were held for a month and 3 weeks. Aquatics became highlighted this time due to the new technology of lane dividers in the Swimming competitions. These games were seen as very pricey with a total cost of over US$10,000,000. Unfortunately, the approximate amount of revenue this bought was only US$5,496,610 although crowds of over 60,000 flocked to Paris. The marathon ,whose length had been disputed was became fixed at 42km, the exact distance run at the 1908 London games.

Gymnastics (Event)

24 men scored a perfect 10 out of 10 this Olympics. Rope Climbing was the event that allowed 23/24 of these scores (Rope climbing is now ceased). A French gymnast by the name of Albert Seguin scored a 10 there and another perfect 10 on the side vault.

Harold Abrahams (Great Britain)

Harold grew up in a family of athletes, his older brother a competitor in the 1912 Olympic Games. Harold was selected in 1924 for the Long Jump, and had earlier set the record in England. Although was asked to be excused from this to participate in the sprint running and he won the 400 metre and gained a silver in the 4 x 100 men’s relay.

Eric Liddell

Eric was selected to compete in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metre running events. Eric was devout Christian though and was unable to compete in the 100 metres due to having to attend Church. Eric was focused on the 200metre and 400 metre and this effort paid off when Eric won the 400 metres with a record of 47.6 seconds as well as taking home the bronze in the 200 metres.

Johnny Wiessmuller (United States)

Johnny was born in Hungary and moved to the United States as a child. He and his family lived in Chicago where he learnt a style known as ‘front-crawl’ (freestyle) mixed with the new idea of using a pull- push arm stroke and a flutter kick (now known as butterfly). He went on to win 5 gold medals at these Olympics and break over 67 world bests, ranging from 50 yards to 800 metre swims. In the 1924 Olympic Games, Johnny became the first swimmer to achieve less than 1 minute for the men’s 100metre freestyle. He was also the first male to swim under 5 minutes for the men’s 400 metres freestyle and set a record for the 100 yards freestyle that stood for the next 17 years. Johnny also competed in the water polo team and went on to star in films as the swimming stuntman.

The Contrast between Australia and France hosting the Olympics

France has bid for the Olympic Games a total of 8 times. Five were for Paris (1900, 1924, 1992 and 2008). Three bids for the city of Lyon (1920,1968 and 2012) whilst only once had the city of Lille been put forward (2004).

Australia has put forward 4 bids in the Olympic Games History. Melbourne has had 2 bids (1956 and 1996) and Brisbane has had one (1992). They also put in a bid for Sydney in 2000.

France had the honour of actually hosting the games twice in 1900 and 1924, both in Paris. Australia has held it twice in 1956 (Melbourne) and 2000 (Sydney).

France's success rate of hosting the Olympics is 25% whilst Australia's is 50%.

Australia became a nation in 1901. As a new nation they had to place themselves on the world stage and it took them about 50 years before the got the confidence and economic stability to host the event.

Paris had been a thriving economy as the olympics started, and a fashionable player in the world at this time. Paris was a popular destination and had enough money to be able to afford this event.

As the Olympics in Australia were held in the second half of the 20th Century, whilst Paris held them in the the first quarter of the 20th century, it has left room for different generations to know famous athletes. From the 1900's-1960's the games were not broadcasted on the Television (not invented yet) and although there was radio, there were not many other technological advances available to view the games other than in person. Many althletes such Cathy Freeman (Australian runner in the 2000 Olympics) have become national symbols and embody national pride for their Country


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