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A North American Perspective on the Olympics

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Canadian Bobby Kerr wins gold in the 200 metre race and bronze in the 100. And Canada continues its dominance in lacrosse winning gold. The only other team entered won silver.

Medal count: Britain 141; USA prefers not to say but more than the Soviets… who still don’t exist. Canada brings home 16 medals.

1912 : American Indian Jim Thorpe wins the pentathlon and decathlon in Stockholm, the only man to ever win both events. One of the competitors Thorpe beat was Avery Brundage who came sixth in the pentathlon and didn’t finish the decathlon. Women compete in swimming for the first time. The US declines to take part since the AAU bars female swimmers from competition in anything other than long skirts.

Canadian George Hogson wins gold in 400 and 1,500 metre freestyle swimming, presumably not in a skirt.

Medal count: Sweden 64; USA 63. Canada 12. Sweden?

1913 : Jim Thorpe is stripped of his gold medals by the AAU when they learn he’s been paid $25/week to play minor league baseball in 1909 and 1910. The IOC acquiesces to the decision saying, "We’re shocked! Shocked to find Olympic athletes aren’t all unpaid amateurs."

1920 : Antwerp hosts the Games which are completely unmemorable except for the bizarre inclusion of ice hockey. Of course, there being no winter Olympics at this point, why not include ice hockey? Canada’s Winnipeg Falcons skate to gold and thus begins a dynasty… sort of.

Medal count: USA 94; Sweden 64; Canada 2. Take that Sweden.

1924 : The Games are held again in Paris so the retiring de Coubertin could see them in his homeland one more time. Johnny Weissmuller wins three gold and a bronze in the pool for the US. He later parlays his Olympic glory into Hollywood stardom playing straight man to a chimp in the Tarzan movies. The Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (Faster, Higher, Stronger), is used for the first time.

Medal count: USA 99; Finland 37. No medals for the Soviets who now exist but don’t countenance such capitalistic trifles as Olympics.

1924 : The International Winter Sports Week is held in Chamonix. Two years later, it is retroactively dubbed the first Winter Olympic Games when the Scandinavian countries finally clue in to the fact they can beat the pants off the Americans at virtually any winter sport ever devised. American Anders Haugen comes in fourth in ski jumping due to a scorekeeping error. The error, discovered in 1974, results in a special ceremony to award Haugen bronze fifty years after his jump. The Canadian ice hockey team, having migrated from what are now the summer Games, finishes their qualifying round with four wins, racking up a total score of 104-2 against Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden and Great Britain.

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