1906 Intercalated Games: Wikis


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1906 Intercalated Games
Host city Athens, Greece
Nations participating 20
Athletes participating 903
(883 men, 20 women)
Events 78 in 13 sports
Opening ceremony April 22
Closing ceremony May 2
Officially opened by George I of Greece
Stadium Panathinaiko Stadium

The 1906 Intercalated Games (also Athens 1906 Olympic Games) were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in Athens, Greece. They were at the time considered to be Olympic Games. While medals were distributed to the participants during these games, the medals are not officially recognized by the IOC. [1]



The first Intercalated Games had been scheduled by the IOC in 1901 as part of a new schedule, where every four years, in between the internationally organized games, there would be intermediate games held in Athens. This was apparently a bit of a compromise: After the successful games of Athens 1896 the Greeks suggested they could organize the games every four years. Since they had the accommodations, and had proven to be able to hold well-organized games, they received quite a bit of support. However, Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee opposed this. De Coubertin had intended the first games to be in Paris in 1900. After Paris lost the premiere Olympics, de Coubertin did not want the games to be permanently hosted elsewhere. Thus the second games became the Paris 1900 games.

When these games turned out less than perfect and were overshadowed by the Exposition Universelle the IOC supported the Greek idea, by granting them a second series of quadrennial games, in between the first series. All of the games would be International Olympic Games; the difference was just that half of them would follow De Coubertin's idea of organizing them in different countries to make the Olympic Movement more international, while the other half would follow the Greeks' idea of a permanent home with the Greek NOC as experienced organizers. This was a departure from the ancient schedule, but it was expected that if the ancient Greeks could keep a four year schedule, the modern Olympic Movement could keep a two year schedule. As 1902 was now too close, and Greece experienced internal difficulties, the 2nd Olympic Games in Athens were scheduled for 1906. The IOC as a whole gave the Greek NOC full support for the organization.

First Intercalated Games

The 1906 games were quite successful. Unlike the 1900, 1904 or 1908 games, they were neither stretched out over months nor overshadowed by an international exhibition. Their crisp format was most likely instrumental in the continued existence of the games.

These Games also were the first games to have all athlete registration go through the NOCs. They were the first to have the Opening of the Games as a separate event; an event at which for the first time the athletes marched into the stadium in national teams, each following its national flag. They introduced the closing ceremony, and the raising of national flags for the victors, and several less-visible changes now accepted as tradition.


Panathinaiko Stadium in 1906

The Games were held from 22 April to 2 May 1906, in Athens, Greece. They took place in the Panathinaiko Stadium, which had already hosted the 1896 Games and the earlier Zappas Olympics of 1870 and 1875. The games excluded several disciplines that had occurred during the past two games; it was unclear whether they ought to have been part of the Olympic Games or of the World Exhibitions. Added to the program were the javelin throw and the pentathlon.

The games were a success, with large crowds following the events each day. They also saw, probably for the first time, opening ceremonies as a separate event, flags hoisted for the victors, and a closing ceremony. In these, as well as several other aspects, the 2nd Olympics in Athens set an example followed to this day.



The games included a real opening ceremony, watched by a large crowd. The athletes, for the first time, entered the stadium as national teams, marching behind their flags. The official opening of the games was done by King Georgios I.


  • There were only two standing jump events in Athens, but Ray Ewry successfully defended his titles in both of them, bringing his total up to 8 gold medals. In 1908 he would successfully defend them one last time for a total of 10 Olympic titles, a feat unparalleled until 2008.
  • Paul Pilgrim won both the 400 and 800 meters, a feat that was first repeated during Montreal 1976 by Alberto Juantorena.
  • Long jumper A. Priftis and triple jumper Stavros Lelokos set the worst Olympic results ever in their disciplines (5.235 m and 11.455 m, respectively).
  • Canadian Billy Sherring lived in Greece for two months, to adjust to the local conditions. His efforts paid off as he unexpectedly won the Marathon. Prince George accompanied him on the final lap.
  • Finland made its Olympic debut, and immediately won a gold medal, as Verner Järvinen won the Discus, Greek style event.
  • Peter O'Connor of Ireland won Gold in the hop, step and jump (triple jump) and Silver in the long jump. In protest at being put on the British team, O'Connor scaled the flagpole and hoisted the Irish flag, while the pole was guarded by Irish and American athletes and supporters.
  • Martin Sheridan of the Irish American Athletic Club, competing for the U.S. Team won Gold in the 16-LB Shot put and the Freestyle Discus throw and Silver in the Standing high jump, Standing long jump and Stone throw. He scored the greatest number of points of any athlete in the 1906 Intercalated Games. For his accomplishments he was presented with a ceremonial javelin by King Georgios I. This javelin is still on display in a local pub near Sheridan's hometown in Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland.

Closing ceremony

Six thousand schoolchildren took part in possibly the first ever Olympic closing ceremony.

Medals awarded

Medal count

Note that these medals were distributed but are no longer recognized by the IOC.

(Host country is highlighted.)

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  France 15 9 16 40
2  United States 12 6 6 24
3  Greece 8 14 13 35
4  Great Britain 8 11 5 24
5  Italy 7 6 3 16
6  Switzerland 5 6 4 15
7  Germany 4 6 5 15
8  Norway 4 2 1 7
9  Austria 3 3 3 9
10  Denmark 3 2 1 6
11  Sweden 2 5 7 14
12  Hungary 2 5 3 10
13  Belgium 2 1 3 6
14 Russia Finland 2 1 1 4
15  Canada 1 1 0 2
16  Netherlands 0 1 2 3
17 Mixed team 0 1 0 1
18  Australia 0 0 3 3
19  Bohemia 0 0 2 2
Total 78 80 78 236

The mixed team medal is for Belgian/Greek athletes in the Coxed Pairs 1 mile rowing event. The silver medal for the team from Smyrna and the bronze medal for the team from Thessalonica in the football event were won by ethnic Greeks competing for Greece, despite both cities being Ottoman possessions at the time.

Winter sports

Since there were no winter sports at the First Intercalated games, the idea has arisen that this was because the IOC had made such an explicit requirement. In reality, though the IOC had intended some winter sports to be Olympic, before London 1908 none of the games included any winter sports, and Athens 1906 was no exception.

It is worth noting, however, that one of the ideas of the Intercalated Games - namely that the games took place two years either side of the Summer Olympics - has been revived for the Winter Olympics since 1994.

See also


  1. ^ What Events are Olympic? Olympics at SportsReference.com. Accessed 7 Sep 2008.


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