1906 Summer Olympics
The 1906 Summer Olympics, also called the 1906 Intercalated Games, were celebrated in Athens, Greece. These games are not awarded the title of Olympiad because they were held between the III and IV Olympiads. While medals were distributed to the participants during these games, the medals are not officially recognized by the IOC.
The first Intercalated Games had been scheduled by the IOC 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 bit of a compromise: After the successful games of Athens 1896 the Greeks suggested they could organize the games every four years. Since they had the accommodations, and had proven to be able to hold well-organized games, they received quite a bit of support. However, Pierre de Coubertin did not like this at all, if for no other reason than because he had intended the first games to be in Paris in 1900, and he had no intention of not only losing the premiere for Paris, but losing the games as well. Thus the second games became the Paris 1900 games.
When these games turned out less than perfect 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 just that half of them would follow De Coubertin's idea of organizing them in different countries to make the Olympic Movement more international, while the other half would follow the Greeks' idea of a permanent home with the Greek NOC as experienced organizers. This was a departure of the ancient schedule, but it was expected that if the ancient Greek 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 introduced the closing ceremony, and the raising of national flags for the victors, and several less-visible changes we now accept as tradition.
The Games were held from 22 April to 2 May 1906, in Athens, Greece. For the first time, the registration of athletes had been handled entirely through the NOCs. 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 or of the World Exhibitions. Added to the program were the javelin throw and the pentathlon.
The games were a success, with large crowds following the events each day. They also saw, probably for the first time, opening ceremonies as a separate event, flags hoisted for the victors, and a closing ceremony. In these, as well as several other aspects, the 2nd Olympics in Athens set an example followed to this day.
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.
- 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 an unparalleled 10 Olympic titles.
- Paul Pilgrim won both the 400 and 800 meters, a feat that was first repeated during Montreal 1976 by Alberto Juantorena.
- Long jumper A. Priftis and triple jumper Stavros Lelokos set the worst Olympic results ever in their disciplines (5.235 m and 11.455 m, respectively).
- 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.
Six thousand schoolchildren took part in possibly the first ever Olympic closing ceremony.
Note that these medals were distributed but are no longer recognized by the IOC.
(Host country is highlighted, greatest number of medals in each category is in bold.)
The mixed team medal is for Belgian/Greek athletes in the Coxed Pairs 1 mile rowing event. The silver medal for the team from Smyrna and the bronze medal for the team from Thessalonika in the football event were counted for Turkey (Ottoman Empire); both cities were at the time Ottoman possessions.
Since there were no winter sports at the First Intercalated games, the idea has risen that this was because the IOC had made such an explicit requirement. In reality, though the IOC had intended some winter sports to be Olympic, before London 1908 none of the games included any winter sports, and Athens 1906 was no exception.