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Olympics

1920 - Summer Olympics VII (Antwerp, Belgium)



Medal Standings

  Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States 41 27 27 95
Sweden 19 20 25 64
Great Britain 16 15 13 44
Finland 15 10 9 34
Belgium 14 11 11 36
Norway 13 9 9 31
Italy 13 5 5 23
France 9 19 13 41
Netherlands 4 2 5 11
Denmark 3 9 1 13
South Africa 3 4 3 10
Canada 3 3 3 9

The games are staged in the shadow of the First World War and were opened in Belgium just 18 months after the Armistice. Antwerp was selected as compensation for all the grief that had been inflicted on them during the war. Since many of the Games participants were allied soldiers, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey were not invited to participate in order to prevent hostilities.

For the first time, pigeons are released during the opening ceremonies and the interlocking rings symbol and Olympic oath are introduced. The five rings represent Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas while the colors - red, blue, black, yellow and green - can be found in the flag of each nation in the world.

Canadian Medal Winners

  Medal Event
Albert Schneider Gold Boxing-Welterweight
Winnipeg Falcons Gold Ice Hockey
Earl Thompson Gold 110m Hurdles
John Graham Silver Boxing-Bantamweight
George Prud'homme Silver Boxing-Middleweight
George Vernot Silver Swimming-1,500 m
Clarence Newton Bronze Boxing-Lightweight
Montgomery Herscovitch Bronze Boxing-Middleweight
George Vernot Bronze Swimming-400 m

Saskatchewan's Earl Thompson won the gold medal in the 110 metre hurdles in a world-record time for Canada. The Americans felt Thompson should have competed for their side, seeing as he grew up in California and twice winning the hurdles title while at USC and Dartmouth. Ironically, Canada's other gold medal was supplied by boxer Albert Schneider - an American citizen who moved to Montreal at the age of nine. While the rules for track and field forbade Thompson for competing for the U.S., boxing rules did allow Schneider to compete for Canada.

As well, Ice Hockey made its debut at the summer games. The Winnipeg Falcons represented Canada and opened with a 15-0 win over Czechoslovakia, followed it up with a 2-0 win over the United States and captured the gold medal with a 12-1 win over Sweden. The Americans would win silver while the Czechs would be awarded the bronze. Ice Hockey would later become part of the Winter Olympics in 1924.

Upon their return from the games, the Falcons were hailed as conquering heroes - a far cry from the attitude that had previously been expressed by Winnipeg hockey officials.

The Falcons had been excluded from the city league because of their racial origin. Almost all of the Falcons' players were of Icelandic descent. They had formed a new league, won the championship and gone on to win the Allan Cup, which is what gave them the opportunity to participate in the Olympics.



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