1900 Summer Olympics

The 1900 Summer Olympics (French: Jeux olympiques d'été de 1900), today officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad (French: Jeux de la IIe olympiade) and commonly known as Paris 1900, was an international multi-sport event that took place in Paris, France, in 1900. No opening or closing ceremonies were held. Competitions began on 14 May and ended on 28 October.

Games of the II Olympiad
Poster for the 1900 Summer Olympics
Host cityParis, France
Athletes997 (975 men, 22 women)
Events95 in 19 sports
Opening14 May
Closing28 October
StadiumVélodrome de Vincennes

The Games were held as part of the 1900 World's Fair. In total, 997 competitors took part in 19 different sports.[1] This number relies on certain assumptions about which events were and were not "Olympic". Many athletes, among them some who won events, were unaware that they had competed in the Olympic Games. Women took part in the games for the first time, with sailor Hélène de Pourtalès, born Helen Barbey in New York City,[2] becoming the first female Olympic champion. The decision to hold competitions on a Sunday brought protests from many American athletes, who traveled as representatives of their colleges and were expected to withdraw rather than compete on their religious day of rest.

At the Sorbonne conference of 1894, Pierre de Coubertin proposed that the Olympic Games should take place in 1900 in Paris. The delegates to the conference were unwilling to wait six years and lobbied to hold the first games in 1896. A decision was made to hold the first Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens and that Paris would host the second celebration.

Most of the winners in 1900 did not receive medals, but were given cups or trophies. Professionals competed in fencing, as was tradition, and Albert Robert Ayat (France), who won the épée for amateurs and masters, was awarded a prize of 3000 francs.

Some events were contested for the only time in the history of the Games, including automobile and motorcycle racing,[3] ballooning,[4] cricket,[5] croquet,[6] Basque pelota,[7] and 200m swimming obstacle race and underwater swimming.[8] This was also the only Olympic Games in history to use live animals (pigeons) as targets during the shooting event.[9]

The host nation of France fielded 72% of all athletes (720 of the 997) and won the most gold, silver and bronze medal placings. U.S. athletes won the second-most in each, while fielding fewer than 8% of the participants (75 of 997).[10]