The 1908 Olympic marathon in London came to a thrilling finish

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Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/15/the-1908-olympic-marathon-in-l.html

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I just listened to this yesterday. Another fascinating story from one of my favorite podcasts. I wonder if they know the story of the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis? It’s much more risible and much less inspiring. Here’s a few choice quotes from the Wikis:

One of the most remarkable athletes was the American gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood, and Frank Kugler won four medals in freestyle wrestling, weightlifting and tug of war, making him the only competitor to win a medal in three different sports at the same Olympic Games.

and:

During the water polo events, several of the cattle from a World’s Fair livestock exhibit were allowed to enter the lake, on the opposite side from the swimming and water polo events. Within one year, four of those athletes died of typhus.

The most bizarre of the various events was surely the marathon (which I was reminded of by this podcast). It’s a long story so I’ll just link to it.

There was also lots of racism and colonialism, since the organizers tried to tie the Olympics to the World’s Fair that was happening at the same time in STL.

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