1st US Olympic Games

November 23rd, 1904: III Summer (Modern) Olympic Games close in St Louis

There have been several Summer Olympic Games in the US, the first in St Louis in 1904, the second in Los Angeles in 1932, third in Los Angeles again in 1984 and in Atlanta in 1996. They will be held in Los Angeles a third time in 2028.

But the 1904 Olympics were notable for the strangeness of one of its events – the marathon. It was held on a particularly hot day, and access to water was intentionally restricted by the organizers. The winner of the event, Thomas Hicks, had been given a dose of common rat poison mixed with brandy to stimulate his nervous system, and would probably have died if he hadn’t been immediately treated by doctors.

The games were not particularly ‘global’ given that the Russo-Japanese War prevented many nations from attending, as well as the fact that St. Louis was considered a very difficult destination to reach.

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