Army Rangers Take Pointe-du-Hoc on D-Day: June 6, 1944

1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics
In the summer of 1904, St. Louis, Missouri, hosted the Olympics—the third Olympics of the modern era and the first to be held in an American city. The games were held July 1 to November 23, with the main focus on events between August 29 and September 3.

The St. Louis Olympics were held in conjunction with (and took a backseat to) the St. Louis World’s Fair, which occurred simultaneously. This meant that many of the Fair’s sporting events were called “Olympic,” even when they didn’t meet Olympic standards, but it’s estimated that 91 events actually fit the Olympic criteria, with participants from 12 countries.

One of the most memorable sporting events of the St. Louis Olympics was the marathon. Run on August 30, a hot, dusty day, the marathon was full of unusual circumstances. For one, American Fred Lorz, the man who crossed the finish line first, was not actually the winner, as he had hitched a ride through the middle part of the course and then got out to run the last leg as a joke. The actual winner, American Tom Hicks, crossed the finish line practically carried by two support crew, having received small doses of strychnine (commonly used as a rat poison) to stimulate him enough to be able to run the course.

Fred Lorz rides for part of 1904 Olympic marathon

Another notable Olympic contestant was German-American George Eyser, who won three gold medals (and six medals total) in gymnastic events despite having an artificial leg. Also noteworthy was another German-American, Frank Kungler, who medaled in three different sports (tug-of-war, weightlifting, wrestling), making him the only one to do so in the same Olympics.

A controversial aspect of the games—condemned even at the time—was an “anthropological” meet, held in mid-August. Though only associated with the Olympics and not technically part of it, the meet claimed to compare the sports skills and physical prowess of various native peoples (who were part of the World’s Fair) against those of white competitors. The native competitors, including Pygmies, Patagonians, Filipinos, Native American Indian tribes, Japanese Ainus, and others, had the rules explained to them without translators and were not allowed to practice, so they were unable beat the white competitors’ records in the vast majority of events.

1904 Olympic Games Continue to Show American Supremacy
America won the most events by far at the Olympics, as the country provided more than three-fourths of the 630 athletes. America medaled 233 times, while the next highest scoring country, Germany, won only 12 medals.

Has any of your family competed in the Olympics? Tell us about it! Or learn more about the St. Louis Olympics by searching or browsing on

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26 thoughts on “1904 St. Louis Olympics

  1. My great grandfather took a bronze metal in the 1904 Olympics . The four man sculling event. John Lewis Joachim .

    1. My husband’s grandfather got the silver medal in the pole vault – bamboo pole!

      1. Do you have the silver plaque? Although my family was not in the 1904 Olympics, I have ownership of the bronze plaque for pole vault. I would be very interested in speaking with you. I have tried to return the plaque to the heirs without success.

  2. Paid extra for Ancestry with and now wants more money for certain papers.
    Annoyed would be an uderstatement

      1. I am also annoyed. It said you would be able to research more but I can’t go any further without paying them more. It’s a ripoff.

      2. I am also annoyed. It said you would be able to research more but I can’t go any further without paying them more. It’s a ripoff.

    1. I agree, I can’t even get the local papers unless forking over even more money. I certainly will not renew this phony “great site for research”!

      1. I feel absolutely the same. I don’t want to pay more if I can’t see what I’m paying for. Sometimes the name you’re looking for isn’t even the same they find so it’s no help at all.

    2. I’m right there with you. My ancestor account lead me to believe I would have full access here and it isn’t true. Just one more way to rip me off.

    3. I’m right there with you. My ancestor account lead me to believe I would have full access here and it isn’t true. Just one more way to rip me off. I won’t be renewing this membership again.

  3. Paid extra for Ancestry with and now wants more money for certain papers.
    Annoyed would be an understatement

  4. In 1957 I was a member of SPEBSQSA, the barbershop singing society in Newark NJ that met across Broad St from Symphony Hall at the American Legion. Someone brought up the sport of track, so I mentioned having been on the track team at Rutgers, class of 1953. One of the guys said, “Platt was in the Olympics”. With that we returned to rehearsing. I didn’t know who Platt was. Eventually I did, but unbelievably, not enough to talk to him about it through quite a few meetings. He had a wonderful athletic look.

    Moving on to different pastures, it was all lost in the deep recesses of my mind……until about eight years ago or so, after I retired. I began to look things up in the Web. Platt Adams. Hmmm. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There he was. Initially in a video, then stills. Two events. Broad Jump, High Jump. Both from a standing position!!! SBJ: Third place, I believe. SHJ: First place, positively. That was the video. And…..1912 Olympics.

    As Casey Stengle would say. “You can look it up”.

  5. As we can all see even our love for ancestry investigation has circumed to Greed. I have been disappointed more often then not with most offerings. I personally have never found any information in the papers that provided help. It is interesting to read but so are papers from the left library files !

  6. Seeing the name Eyser is exciting to examine because my spouse’s surname is spelled differently nut matches the sound . I look forward to checking. Thanks

  7. total rip off signing up for newspapers and finding all i got was the right to pay more to see the articles

  8. Rip off-ers
    I think this particular comment area was meant for any OLYMPICS STORIES. But venting frustration is hard to resist. May I suggest ,,,, go to the National Archives (U.S. Gov portal) for history and their genealogy pages. PLUS go to Olympic Games and U.S. Olympic Committee sites for both history and current olympics.

  9. Not interested in this site anymore. Not valuable when searching for ancestors.

  10. Thanks for the “rip-off” comments. Saves me the stress of trying to get information I thought I had already paid for, but getting ripped of instead.

  11. I have found a lot of articles in newspapers about my family in Pennsylvania through Quite a bit more than when I originally signed up a couple of years ago. Other areas I have not been so lucky because the local papers arent in there yet. This is a work in progress. I also had some ancestors die I. The Iroquois theater Fire in 1903. There are many articles about that in papers all around the country. My relatives were mentioned in their local paper with full obituaries as a fro t page article. I’m very happy I paid for the subscription this time

  12. Fred Lopez,the American cheat was beaten by a runner assist across the finish line and was also on rat poison, with the double standards required of indigenous people described Americans set the standards of racism and hypocracy. I am appalled becauseit has compounded out to the hideous farce that is now bringing the world to chaos.

  13. As I read this it occurred to me that it was the probably the third person crossing the finish line that won (of course this would depend on if he had run a clean race) but, oddly, he was not even mentioned.

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