Prologue: STL held the Olympics in 1904, along with that Fair thingie. Cool, right? I think so.
Here’s some things for your brains to use the next time you’re stuck on Big Bend during rush hour…gazing at Wash U, wondering how they got all those new buildings to look so old, questioning your own college choices…or listening to NPR…whatever.
As you creep past Francis Field (Wash U campus), picture a stadium holding a crap ton of people…a super hot St. Louis day…all waiting for the first Olympic marathoner to cross the finish line.
Here he is! It’s the US’s own Fred Lorz! Look! He’s having his picture taken with Alice Roosevelt! Wait…no…they just found out he actually grabbed one of those new-fangled car rides and was just returning for his clothes. AWKWARD. (Actual winner: some dude named Tom Hicks)
Other marathoners who rocked it:
Felix Carbajal of Cuba (pictured above)…lost all of his money in New Orleans in a crap game en route…and then, you know, WALKED to STL*. Showed up in work boots and heavy clothing…another Olympian took out scissors and gave him a makeover before the race.
Two South African tribesmen ran the marathon (honorably invited and escorted to the games, no doubt)….and are considered the first two South African Olympic competitors.
STL for the great-Olympic-story win!
*He also hitchhiked a little...but I can't imagine hitchhiking in 1904 was much better/faster than walking. WALKING from NOLA to STL.
Bill Mallon, The 1904 Olympic Games: Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. 1999 ( It really needs to be noted that this super dry, analytical book…is dedicated to someone named Scruffy)
Matthews and Marshall, St. Louis Olympics 1904. 2003