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Paris 1900 - Quick hits

In the shade

These Games were organised against a backdrop of general indifference as the Parisians were preoccupied by the International Exhibition. The competition was more like an international meeting rather than a true Olympic Games.

Unknown sport

Following the example of the unknown soldier, the Olympics had its own unknown medal. In rowing, in the coxed pairs, the Dutch team won gold using an 8 or 9-year-old boy as coxswain. He was brought in to replace the named cox who was deemed too heavy. After the race the unexpected Olympic champion disappeared without leaving his name. In any case, he undoubtedly remains the youngest competitor in Olympic history and the youngest champion.

Better late than never

A gardener at the Racing Club of France, Michel Theato, won the marathon but he only received his reward 12 years later when it was acknowledged that he was the official winner.

Late awards

Podium finishers only received their medals in 1912. In 1900 they were given small presents as a means of compensation: plates, umbrellas or wallets.

Tricky circuit

Australia's Frederick Lane won the obstacle swimming race, the obstacles were boats that were cleared by swimming under them.

God's wishes

The pole vault competition was held on a Sunday. In the first instance the event was moved because the Americans wanted to respect Sunday as a rest day. But the organisers changed their minds and several Americans left the stadium. So as to appease the "visitors from the other side of the ocean" a second competition was held a few days later, although results which were an improvement on those from the initial competition were not taken into account.

Tree trouble

A magnificent tree stood in the middle of the area used by shot putters and discus throwers. Nothing suggested beforehand the importance this would have in the competition.

Attention swimmers

The first series of swimming events, which took place in the Seine, was a model of organisation as river traffic continued without interruption.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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