1904 - Summer Olympics III (St. Louis, USA)

Medal Standings

  Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States 77 81 78 236
Germany 4 4 5 13
Cuba 4 2 3 9
Canada 4 1 1 6
Hungary 2 1 1 4
Great Britain 1 1 0 2
Switzerland 1 0 1 2
Greece 1 0 1 2
Austria 0 0 1 1
Combined 1 1 0 2

Canada sends its first official team to the Olympic Games, which are held for the first time outside of Europe.

The Games were originally scheduled for Chicago, however, a dispute broke out with the city of St. Louis, which wanted to host the events as part of the Louisiana Purchase (World) Exhibition. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt eventually sided with St. Louis following a vote of 14-2 against Chicago. Once again, the Games were overshadowed by the Fair and events were stretched out from July 1st to November 23.

Of the 94 events generally considered to have been part of the Olympic program, only 42 included athletes who were not from the United States. Most European nations decided to skip the Games and not even the Baron de Coubertin, who had high hopes for a Chicago-organized Games, attended.

Canadian Medal Winners

  Medal Event
Etienne Desmarteau Gold 56 pound throw
Galt Football Club Gold Soccer
George Lyon Gold Golf
Shamrock Lacrosse Team Gold Lacrosse
Argonaut Rowing Club Silver Rowing eights w/cox
Mohawk Indians Bronze Lacrosse

The 1904 Games were the first in which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded. Marathon runners Len Tau and Jan Mashiani, Tswana tribesmen who were in St. Louis as part of the Boer War exhibit at the Fair, became the first Africans to compete in the Olympics. One of the most remarkable performances was that of American gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood.

One of Canada's gold medalists was Etienne Desmarteau, a police officer from Montreal. Initially, Desmarteau was denied a leave of absence by the police department to compete at the Olympics. He went anyway and was fired for his insubordinance. However, all was forgiven after he came back an Olympic hero. Unfortunately, he died the following year at the age of 28 from typhoid. A park in Montreal is named in his honor and during the 1976 games in Montreal, the men's and women's basketball preliminaries were held at the Etienne Desmarteau Center.

Canada also captured gold in lacrosse - one of only three gold medals Canada has ever won in a team sport at the Olympics. The bronze medalist lacrosse team from the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario were known as Mohawk Indians and sported several interesting names such as Half Moon, Man Afraid Soap, Rain in Face, Snake Eater and Spotted Tail.

* - Until 1908, athletes entered the Olympics as individuals rather than members of a national team. Athletes from different nations sometimes joined forces in team sports and their totals are listed as "Combined".

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television