The Fight for the First U.S. Olympics | Let the Games Begin | 2

The Fight for the First U.S. Olympics | Let the Games Begin | 2

In 1904, St. Louis was thrust into the national spotlight, as it played host to both the World’s Fair and America’s first Olympic Games. After a bitter fight over which American city would host, Olympic founder Pierre De Coubertin had disavowed the St. Louis games entirely, passing the torch to amateur sports magnate James Sullivan. But Sullivan brought controversial ideas to the Games — especially in the form of a contest between “uncivilized” peoples called Anthropology Days.

Bad weather and a lack of international athletes hampered the Olympics further, and kept attendance low. Still, as the games continued, a handful of star athletes emerged, including a one-legged gymnast and a group of Native American women from Montana, who brought a revolutionary spin to the new sport of basketball.

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