Thursday, June 21, 2012

1920 Olympics - A World United after the Great War

The Great War was over and the world breathed a sigh of relief. What better way to once again reunite the world than the Olympic games.

Games of the VII Olympiad

The 1920 Olympics were held 18 months after World War I concluded in Antwerp, Belgium. These were the first Olympics held since the 1912 Sweden Games due to the war. Originally planned to be held in Budapest, Hungary, the games were awarded to Belgium to honor the city for their suffering during the war and because Hungary, along with Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Turkey were banned from the games due to post war sanctions.
International Film Service Photo showing the American
team entering the Olympic Stadium in 1920

29 countries competed in the games: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and Yugoslavia. America dominated the games with 41 Gold, 27 Silver and 27 Bronze medals, 95 medals in total. The next closest was Sweden with 64 medals.

Several of our Olympic traditions began at the 1920 games. This was the first Olympics in which the Olympic Oath was recited, the first time white doves were released to symbolize peace and the first time the Olympic Flag was flown, the 5 interlocking rings symbolizing the five inhabited continents of the world united by Olympism. The 6 colors of the flag represented the colors appearing on the national flags of the world at the time.


Original 1920 photo by Underwood & Underwood of the
first reciting of the Olympic Oath during the opening
of the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belguim.


At the end of the 1920 Olympics, the flag disappeared. In 1997, it was discovered that at the end of the Games, American diver Hal Haig Prieste had climbed the flagpole and stole the flag. It was stored in a suitcase for 77 years until, at the age of 103, Prieste returned the flag to the IOC at the 2000 Games in Sydney. It's now on display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

During the 1920 games, Swedish athlete Oscar Swahn won in the 100 Meter Running Deer Double-Shot event at the age of 72 to become the oldest Olympic champion ever.

You can see lots of great Olympic pictures throughout the years on our eBay site and on our website.

Are you attending the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, England?

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