Episode 6: The 1904 Olympics

Episode 6: The 1904 Olympics

1904 was an eventful year for the city of St. Louis, Missouri: the St. Louis Zoo opened its doors, the World’s Fair was held to celebrate the centenary of the Lousiana Purchase, and somehow the small city found itself being thrust onto the world stage, as the host of one of the most bizarre events in sporting history.

“I had a sort of presentiment that the Olympiad would match the mediocrity of the town” - Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement

Hosting the Olympic games is usually considered a pretty huge deal. In recent years, they have been meticulously organised by committes on a national scale, showcasing the finest professional athletes from hundreds of countries across the world. London 2012 even had its own horrifying mascots, but we try not to talk about that. The 1904 St. Louis Olympics had none of that.

Cuban postman (and part-time marathoner) Félix Carbajal

The fact that the Olympic committee originally awarded the 1904 games to Chicago by unanimous vote, yet were somehow convinced to let a small city in southern Missouri host instead, was just the first of many baffling events which would come to be associated with the third Olympic Summer games.

Join us in this episode of The Gallimaufry as we travel back to a time when brick layers ran marathons and strychnine was known for its performance-enhancing properties, and discuss one of the strangest years for the modern Olympic games.


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