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Olympics: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1896, the first modern Olympic Games was held in Greece, spurring competition among international athletes. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Olympics" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"Percy Williams (third from right), Canada's 19-year-old sprint marvel, beating the world's fastest runners in the 100-meter Olympic final at Amsterdam." August 12, 1928. Evening Star (Washington, DC), Image 81. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Inspired by the Ancient Greeks, the Olympic games were revived in 1896 as a large international sporting competition of amateur athletes. “Friendly competition,” however, sometimes turned slightly bitter as countries sought to assert dominance on the world stage through the competitive games. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

1896 Athens, Greece hosts the first modern Olympic games.
1900 Paris, France hosts the Olympic games in conjunction with the World's Fair, the 1900 Paris Exposition. Women were allowed to participate for the first time; however, they were excluded from sports like track and field.
1904 St. Louis, Missouri, hosts the Olympics in conjunction with the World's Fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, causing the games to last several months.
1906 Smaller games are hosted in Athens, Greece. Although called the “Olympics” at the time, there is debate over whether to recognize the games as such.
1908 London, Great Britain hosts the Olympics.
1912 Stockholm, Sweden hosts the Olympics.
1916 Olympic games were to be held in Berlin, Germany, but are cancelled due to World War I.
1920 Antwerp, Belgium hosts the Olympic games despite recovering from destruction from World War I.
Jan 25 - Feb 5, 1924 "International Winter Sports Week" was organized by the French Olympic Committee and held in Chamonix, France. Due to its success leading to a continuation of this event, this winter event would be retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.
May 4 - Jul 27, 1924 Paris, France hosts the Olympics for the second time. This marks the first time the Winter and Summer Olympic games were held at the same year.
1928 Amsterdam, Netherlands hosts the Olympics. For the first time, women are allowed to participate in athletics (track and field) and gymnastics.