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Backgrounder: Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games: Most Successful Games until then

Updated: 07 11 , 2016 14:28
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MEXICO CITY, July 10 -- After previous Olympiads ran into a number of complications, the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games went off without a hitch, seen as the most successful until then.

The 5th Olympiad was held between May 5 and July 27, 1912, with 2,407 athletes, who gathered from 28 countries, although only 48 participants were women.

Stockholm built the Olympic Stadium specially for the event, making it look like a fortress and with a capacity for 32,000 spectators.

During the opening ceremony, athletes marches past Swedish King Gustaf V, who formally declared the Games open.

Stockholm 1912 was also the first place where many of today's Olympic traditions were born. For example, this marked the first time that athletes climbed the podium to receive their medals while their national flags were raised.

This was also the first time that electric timekeeping was used for athletics events.

Furthermore, professional sports journalists, a trade which was rapidly developing in Europe, covered its first Olympiad.The International Olympic Committee also began overruling the power of host countries to determine the events being held since, at the time, boxing was illegal in Sweden.

Numerous firsts also happened during the competition, such as in the wrestling semi-final where Russia's Martin Klein and Finland's Alfred Asikainen grappled in a duel which lasted 11 hours and forty minutes. Klein ended up pinning Asikainen for the win but was too exhausted to take part in the final.

In athletics, Finland's Hannes Kolehmainen proved himself as the greatest runner the Olympics had ever seen, winning three gold medals in the 5,000m, 8,000m, and 10,000m races. Eight years later, Kolehmainen would make his return and win the marathon as well.

Another hero was American Jim Thorpe, who was crowned champion in the modern pentathlon and decathlon, and was named "the best athlete in the world" by Swedish King Gustaf V.

Austria's Otto Herschmann, who was also president of the Austrian Olympic Committee at the time, won a silver medal in fencing for sabre, becoming the only standing leader of an Olympic committee to win an Olympic medal at the same time.



U.S 25 19 19 63

Sweden 24 24 17 65

UK 10 15 16 41

Finland 9 8 9 26

France7 4 3 14

Germany5 13 7 25

South Africa 4 2 0 6

Norway 4 1 4 9

Canada 3 2 3 8

Hungary 3 2 3 8

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