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1906  Athens Summer Olympics

1906 Summer Olympics - About the Games

1906 Intercalated Games (Athina Summer Games)

 

 

Host City: Athina, Greece (April 22, 1906 to May 2, 1906)
Opening Ceremony: April 22, 1906 (opened by King Giorgis I)
Closing Ceremony: May 2, 1906
Events: 74 in 13 sports

Participants: 841 (835 men and 6 women) from 21 countries
Youngest Participant: TUR Vahram Papazyan (13 years, 224 days)
Oldest Participant: FRA Léon Moreaux (54 years, 47 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): FRA Léon Moreaux and USA Martin Sheridan (5 medals)
Most Medals (Country): FRA France (40 medals)

 The 1906 Intercalated Games or 1906 Olympic Games was an international multi-sport event that was celebrated in Athens, Greece. They were at the time considered to be Olympic Games and were referred to as the "Second International Olympic Games in Athens" by the International Olympic Committee. Whilst medals were distributed to the participants during these games, the medals are not officially recognized by the IOC today and are not displayed with the collection of Olympic medals at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.  1906 Intercalated Games logo.jpeg
Contemporary artwork for the 1906 Intercalated Games
  Overview by Sprorts-Reference.com
 

Today, the IOC and a few sports historians do not consider the 1906 Intercalated Olympics to be "true" Olympic Games. By doing so, they neglect the Games that may have helped save the Olympic Movement. After the debacles of [1900] and [1904], the Olympics were in desperate straits. The Greeks had wanted to host more Olympics and they proposed holding "interim" Olympics, every four years in the even year between the Olympics. The first of these was scheduled in 1906.

The Games of 1906 were not of the caliber of many Olympics of later years. Again, many of the facilities were not of the highest quality. However, as in [1896], the Greeks approached their responsibility with enthusiasm and the most international field to date competed in these Olympics. A true opening ceremony was conducted for the first time, with the athletes marching with their teams following a flag bearer from their own country. In the United States, a team was selected for the first time and sent over as a true national team.

The newspapers considered these Games to be the Olympics and labeled them as such. [Coubertin], at first opposed to the idea, even embraced them as Olympics when he saw that the Greeks organized the best "Olympics" of the modern era. Coubertin did not even attend the 1906 Olympic Games. The IOC did officially recognize these Games initially in some of the correspondance, but in later years their status was initially unclear. IOC did make an official ruling concerning the status of the 1906 Olympic Games. At the [43rd Session of the IOC] in London in 1948, [Dr. Ferenc Mező], Hungarian member, made a proposal that the Intermediate Games in Athens (1906) should be accepted as the IIIb Olympic Games. It was decided that this proposal would be placed in the hands of the Brundage Commission. The Brundage Commission was a three-man commission headed by future IOC President [Avery Brundage] (USA). The other members were [Sidney Dawes] (CAN) and [Miguel Moenck] (CUB). They met in New Orleans, Louisiana in January 1949.

In their report, the Brundage Commission noted, "It is not considered that any special recognition that the IOC might to participants in these Games at this late date would add any prestige, and the danger of establishing an embarrassing precedent would more than offset any advantage." They presented their report at the 44th Session in Rome in 1949. Their report dealt with 32 items, the 4th of which was the 1906 Olympic Games. The item was listed as "Acceptance of the Intermediate Games 1906", and the Brundage Commission conclusion was "Rejected".

In contradistinction to this IOC position, it appears that the Athens Olympic Games were considered official Olympic Games in 1906. They should maintain the designation as Olympic Games, for they deserve it. They were very important Olympic Games. After the problems that occurred in Paris in 1900 and St. Louis in 1904, with the Olympic movement reeling, these successful Athens Games of 1906 helped resurrect the flagging Olympic Movement. The Games were the most international to date, they were the best held to date, and they had the most international media attention of any of the Games since the 1896 Olympics in Athens. In fact, all of the international newspapers termed this sporting festival of 1906 as "Olympic Games" using their native language for the appellation.

The Olympics of 1906 deserve that title much more so than do the farces that were 1900 and 1904. They resurrected the flagging Olympic movement. Though, as stated, a few historians do not consider them to be Olympic Games, most notable Olympic historians do. We support the thesis of those who consider the 1906 Intercalated Games as Olympic Games.

The Greek idea of holding these Games between the International Olympic Games was never again realized. After 1906 it was expected that further Intercalated Olympic Games would be celebrated in Athens every four years. They were planned for 1910 and it was assumed they would be held in 1914, 1918, and every four years thereafter. But they were never held again. The reason lies in the politics of Greece and the Balkan Peninsula. When studying the politics of the Balkan Peninsula and Greece, it is not surprising that the Games were never held again. In fact, it is far more unusual that there was enough peace in the region for Olympic Games to be held there in either 1896 or 1906. Wars in the region and the tenuous economic status of the nation prevented the Greeks from ever again holding Intercalated Olympic Games.

 

Origin

The first Intercalated Games had been scheduled by the International Olympic Committee in 1901 as part of a new schedule, where every four years, in between the internationally organized games, there would be intermediate games held in Athens. This was apparently a compromise: after the successful games of Athens 1896, the Greeks suggested they could organize the games every four years. Since they had the accommodation and had proven they could hold well-organized games, they received some support. However, Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, opposed this. Coubertin had intended the first games to be in Paris in 1900. After Paris lost the premiere Olympics, Coubertin did not want the games to be permanently hosted elsewhere.

When the 1900 Olympic Games failed to meet expectations and were overshadowed by the Exposition Universelle, the IOC supported the Greek idea by granting them a second series of quadrennial games in between the first series. All of the games would be International Olympic Games; the difference was that half of them would follow Coubertin's idea of "organisation internationale", while the other half would follow the Greeks' idea of a permanent home with the Greek NOC as experienced organizers. This was a departure from the ancient schedule, but it was expected that, if the ancient Greeks could keep a four-year schedule, the modern Olympic Movement could keep a two-year schedule. As 1902 was now too close, and Greece experienced internal difficulties, the 2nd Olympic Games in Athens were scheduled for 1906. The IOC as a whole gave the Greek NOC full support for the organization 

First Intercalated Games

The 1906 games were quite successful. Unlike the 1900, 1904 or 1908 games, they were neither stretched out over months nor overshadowed by an international exhibition. Their crisp format was most likely instrumental in the continued existence of the games.

These Games also were the first games to have all athlete registration go through the NOCs. They were the first to have the Opening of the Games as a separate event: an event at which for the first time the athletes marched into the stadium in national teams, each following its national flag. They were also the first with an Olympic Village, at the Zappeion. They introduced the closing ceremony, the raising of national flags for the victors, and several less visible changes now accepted as tradition.

The Organizing Committee of the 1906 Games

Games

The Games were held from 22 April to 2 May 1906, in Athens, Greece. They took place in the Panathenaic Stadium, which had already hosted the 1896 Games and the earlier Zappas Olympics of 1870 and 1875. The games excluded several disciplines that had occurred during the past two games; it was unclear whether they ought to have been part of the Olympic Games. Added to the program were the javelin throw and the pentathlon
Panathinaiko Stadium in 1906

Opening

The games included a real opening ceremony, watched by a large crowd. The athletes, for the first time, entered the stadium as national teams, marching behind their flags. The official opening of the games was done by King George I

Closing ceremony

Six thousand schoolchildren took part in possibly the first ever Olympic closing ceremony.
Panathinaiko Stadium

Highlights

  • There were only two standing jump events in Athens, but Ray Ewry successfully defended his titles in both of them, bringing his total up to 8 gold medals. In 1908 he would successfully defend them one last time for a total of 10 Olympic titles, a feat unparalleled until 2008 when Michael Phelps pushed his Olympic gold medal total to 14.
  • Paul Pilgrim won both the 400 and 800 metres, a feat that was first repeated during Montreal 1976 by Alberto Juantorena.
  • Canadian Billy Sherring lived in Greece for two months, to adjust to the local conditions. His efforts paid off as he unexpectedly won the Marathon. Prince George accompanied him on the final lap.
  • Finland made its Olympic debut, and immediately won a gold medal, as Verner Järvinen won the Discus (Greek style) event.
  • Peter O'Connor of Ireland won gold in the hop, step and jump (triple jump) and silver in the long jump. In protest at being put on the British team, O'Connor scaled the flagpole and hoisted the Irish flag, while the pole was guarded by Irish and American athletes and supporters.
  • Martin Sheridan of the Irish American Athletic Club, competing for the U.S. team, won gold in the 16-pound Shot put and the Freestyle Discus throw and silver in the Standing high jump, Standing long jump and Stone throw. He scored the greatest number of points of any athlete at the Games. For his accomplishments he was presented with a ceremonial javelin by King Georgios I. This javelin is still on display in a local pub near Sheridan's hometown in Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland.

Medal count

These medals were distributed but are no longer recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

  *   Host nation (Greece)

 
Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  France 15 9 16 40
2  United States 12 6 6 24
3  Greece* 8 13 13 34
4  Great Britain 8 11 5 24
5  Italy 7 6 3 16
6   Switzerland 5 6 4 15
7  Germany 4 6 5 15
8  Norway 4 2 1 7
9  Austria 3 3 3 9
10  Denmark 3 2 1 6
11  Sweden 2 5 7 14
12  Hungary 2 5 3 10
13  Belgium 2 1 3 6
14 Russia Finland 2 1 1 4
15  Canada 1 1 0 2
16  Netherlands 0 1 2 3
17  Mixed team 0 1 0 1
Ottoman Empire Turkey[b] 0 1 0 1
19  Australia 0 0 3 3
20  Bohemia 0 0 2 2
Totals (20 nations) 78 80 78 236
 

The mixed team medal is for Belgian/Greek athletes in the Coxed Pairs 1 mile rowing event. In the football event, the silver medal for the team from Smyrna was won by footballers from various nationalities (English, French and Armenian), while the bronze medal for the team from Thessalonica was won by ethnic Greeks competing for Greece, despite both cities being Ottoman possessions at the time.

The only country that did not win medals—Egypt.

Participating nations

854 athletes, 848 men and 6 women, from 20 countries, competed at the 1906 Intercalated Games.

Participants of the 1906 Games
  •  Australia (4)
  •  Austria (31)
  •  Belgium (16)
  •  Bohemia (13)
  •  Canada (3)
  •  Denmark (53)
  •  Egypt (2)
  •  Finland (4)[a]
  •  France (56)
  •  Germany (49)
  •  Great Britain (47)
  •  Greece (host country) (321)
  •  Hungary (35)
  •  Italy (76)
  •  Netherlands (16)
  •  Norway (32)
  • Ottoman Empire Ottoman Turkey (2)[b]
  •  Sweden (39)
  •   Switzerland (9)
  •  United States (38)

 

[b]At the 1908 Olympics, the name "Turkey" was used to refer to the Ottoman Empire

Athlete Medal Leaders

Rk Athlete Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Martin Sheridan (USA) 2 3 0 5
2 Léon Moreaux (FRA) 2 1 2 5
3 Louis Richardet (SUI) 3 1 0 4
4 Gustav Casmir (GER) 2 2 0 4
5 Eric Lemming (SWE) 1 0 3 4
6 Max Décugis (FRA) 3 0 0 3
7 Francesco Verri (ITA) 3 0 0 3
8 Enrico Bruna (ITA) 3 0 0 3
9 Giorgio Cesana (ITA) 3 0 0 3
10 Emilio Fontanella (ITA) 3 0 0 3
11 Georges, Baron Dillon-Kavanagh (FRA) 2 1 0 3
12 Nikolaos Georgantas (GRE) 1 2 0 3
13 Gaston Delaplane (FRA) 1 1 1 3
14 Henry Taylor (GBR) 1 1 1 3
15 Jean Fouconnier (FRA) 1 1 1 3
16 Jean Reich (SUI) 1 1 1 3
17 Maurice Lecoq (FRA) 1 0 2 3
18 Fernand Vast (FRA) 1 0 2 3
19 Heinrich Schneidereit (GER) 1 0 2 3
20 Raoul, Count de Boigne (FRA) 0 1 2 3
21 John Jarvis (GBR) 0 1 2 3

Disciplines

78 events in 14 disciplines, comprising 12 sports, were part of the 1906 Games.

  • Aquatics
    • Diving (1)
    • Swimming (4)
  • Athletics (21)
  • Cycling
    • Road (1)
    • Track (5)
  • Fencing (8)
  • Football (1)
  • Gymnastics (4)
  • Rowing (6)
  • Shooting (16)
  • Tennis (4)
  • Tug of war (1)
  • Weightlifting (2)
  • Wrestling (4)
   

 

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