The Olympic movement was in complete disarray after the farcical Games of 1900 and 1904.
De Coubertin pushed for its return to Greece in the hope that this would restore the
Olympics to its former glory and recapture the spirit of the 1896 Games.
The IOC was generally not in favour of this and did not formally sanction the 1906 Games.
However it was this Interim Games that enabled the olympic movement to survive. The Interim Games was a resounding success. It was well organised and run.
Nine hundred athletes from 20 countries competed and they helped restore confidence in the Olympic movement.
For the very first time, the USOC picked its official team.
Paul Pilgrim of the USA won in the 400m and 800m. He was a relatively unknown and was not even officially in the US team. He and had to pay his own way to Greece and represented the US only at the last minute. His inclusion, was successful but this success was not repeated in any future olympics.In the 1908 Olympics, he failed even to qualify for the 400m final.
Archie Hahn, who had won medals in the 60m,100m and 200m in 1904, again won the 100m (the other 2 events weren’t on the program in Athens).
Verner Järvinen, (the first Finn to compete in an Olympics), won the Greek-style discus event and won second place in free-style discus. He received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Finland and this
proved an inspiration to many young Finnish athletes to strive to compete in future Olympics.
For the home crowd, the marathon was very important. Memories of Spiridon Loues’
victory were still fresh in everones mind and if the winner was a local, prizes of
a statue of Hermes, a loaf of bread everyday for a year, and a free lunch for every
Sunday for a year were offered.
The number of swimming events was reduced to four. Gold medals went to four countries – Great Britain, US, Austria and Hungary.
Swimmer Charles Daniels (U.S.) sets a world record in the men’s 100-metre freestyle event with a time
The “Intercalated” Games of 1906 were not given official status by the IOC and were discontinued. Even today ,the medals won at these Games are not considered official by the IOC.
Australian Medal Winners1906 Athens “Intercalated” Olympic Games
Australia was represented by 5 competitors – four athletes and a swimmer.
Two were brothers, Harold and Cecil Healy, who both won medals.
- Athletics (110m hurdles) : Harold Healy.
(Harold Healy ran the same time as the winner (Robert Leavitt of the U.S.)
but was awarded the silver medal.)
- Athletics (100m dash) : Nigel Barker.
- Athletics (400m run) : Nigel Barker.
(Nigel Barker was a fine Rugby Union player.
In the previous year he became the first Australian to hold a
world record when he ran the 440 yards in 48.5 seconds.)
- Swimming (100m freestyle) : Cecil Healy
(This event was won by Charles Daniels (US) who
had been runner-up in the 100 yards and had won gold in the
220 yards and 440 yards freestyle at the 1904 St Louis Olympics. He would
in the future win the gold at the London Olympics of 1908).