Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How Team USA performed in the Early Summer Olympics editions

The Early edition of the Summer Olympics

In the early editions of the summer Olympics, Team USA was in the developing stage and it was early to tell that they would become the Olympics powerhouse they have became. Besides the Summer Olympics had just been introduced, the modalities were different and the organization of the sports and regulation was still in their early stages. By then the world was looking at each suspiciously with the knowledge sooner or later there would be a war. The Summer Olympics edition 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1912 were the formative years of the Olympics games. In all the five editions, team USA, topped the medal tables of the first edition, the 1904 Summer Olympics and the 1912 one. The 1904 was held in the home country of Team USA. In the 1900 summer edition of the games, overall medal leadership one went to the host; team France and the overall winner of the 1908 edition was team GB who were the host in London. In these two earlier editions, Team USA gracefully accepted the second position but led in 1896, 1904 and the 1912. How will Team USA perform in the Summer Olympics editions in between the two World Wars? Only time will tell.

Team USA in the 1896 Summer Olympics

Team USA first participated in the 1st edition of the modern Summer Olympics and by the end of the Athens 1896 Summer Olympics Games that took place between 6th of April and ended on the 15th of April. Team USA became the first nation on earth to top the Summer Olympics games with 11 Gold medals, 7 Silver medals and 2 Bronze medals; it defeated the host Greece who were the second most successful team.

Team USA in the 1900 Summer Olympics

Come the 1900 second edition of the Summer Olympics games, Team USA participated in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics as one of the 24 nations that took part in these second Olympics games. However they did not top the medal table like what they have done in 1896 edition. The host Team France was the leader of the first Summer Olympics games held on its soil. Whereas France had 26 Gold medals, Team USA managed to get 19 Gold medals, 14 Silver medals and 34 bronze medals. In total host France accumulated 101 medals and Team USA accumulated 47 medals. This however was the only time Team France beat Team USA in any of the following Summer Olympics until today.

Some of the key athletes who won gold medal for Team USA were Alvin Kraenzlein among others. Alvin won a gold medal in the Athletics 60 meters. He is among the reigning champion because the 60 meters was removed from the Summer Olympics schedule after the 1904 Olympics in St Louis. He was one of the students from University of Pennsylvania who competed in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics making the Team a formidable team team in the Games despite becoming second in the medal chart.

A picture of the Alvin Kraenzlein in action, he is one of the champions of the 60 metres in Athletics

The picture is from Wikipedia under Creative Commons License

Team USA in the 1904 Summer Olympics

The 1904 Summer Olympics had fewer participating nations, only 12 nations participated in the USA’s first Summer Olympics Games. Missouri’s, St. Louis was the host, the first time USA hosted the Olympics games. Back then the games were known as World Fair. The games opened on July 1st and closed on November 23rd. Team USA broke the record as it accumulated 239 medals in total. They had 78 Gold medals, Germany was second with only 4 Gold medals, where Team USA had 82 Silver and 79 Bronze medals and second best team Germany had 4 Silver medals and 5 Bronze medals. In total Team Germany had only 13 medals. It was great success for Team USA.

Team USA in the 1908 Summer Olympics

In the 1908 London Summer Olympics, was the edition of the games that saw judges being drawn from different countries apart from the host nation as well as the establishment of sport rules. In these games a Briton Athlete [Wyndham] run alone to win a walkover Gold medal because the supposedly American competitors refused to participate after they had been accused of interfering with the Briton runner; Wyndham Halswelle in the 400 meters. Despite the above controversy Team USA took the second position overall winner and host; England’s 56 Gold medals. Great Britain tally also included 51 Silver and 39 Bronze medals. USA total medal tally was 47 medals which included 12 Silver and 12 Bronze medals.

Team USA in the 1920 Summer Olympics

In the 1912 Summer Olympics held in Sweden’s capital city; Stockholm, Team USA managed to snatch the top position from the host. In fact if they had failed to win one more gold medal, Sweden would have made history of having been on top of a summer Olympics medal table. To today Sweden has never topped the medal table of any Summer Olympics. Team USA managed a total of 63 medals, while the host managed a total of 65 medals. Team Sweden had 24 silver medals while USA had 19. But, Team USA carried the day because they had 25 gold medals, while the host had 24. Besides, Team USA had 19 bronze medals where team Sweden had 17.

This was team USA third win in five editions of the Summer Olympics. The 1916 edition would prove otherwise, everybody thought so, but the First World War began in 1914 and the world missed the 1916 edition of the Summer Olympics. The next edition of the games was in 1920.