The 1928 Olympics were held in the Dutch city of Amsterdam.
These Games marked a major step in achieving gender equality.
For the very first time, women’s athletics events were included in the
program despite objection from Coubertin and Pope Pius IX.
Prior to this, women were allowed to participate in a limited number of sporting events
– figure skating, golf, archery, yachting, tennis, swimming and fencing.
The result was that the number of women competitors doubled from 136 to 290.
Outstanding performances, like that of Lina Radke-Batschauer of Germany,
served to justify the participation of women in the Olympics.
Germany and its allies were once again allowed to participate in
the Olympics after being banned for 16 years because of their aggression in World War I.
With 10 golds,
Germany finished second to the US in the medal count.
A new olympic tradition – the carrying of the Olympic torch from Athens to the Games
– was initiated here. A flame was lit on the Marathon Tower,
in front of the Olympic stadium.
Other traditions which were started here were the practice of Greece
leading the parade of nations’ teams and the release of flocks of pigeons
to symbolise peace.
An easy-to-read results board and a 400m running track were also introduced.
The US performed well. The men won eight gold medals in the athletics
events but won only one individual
running event (Ray Barbuti in the 400 metres).
Betty Robinson won the honour of being the first gold medalist in the women’s 100 metre.
In swimming, the U.S. won golds from Albina Osipowich, and
Martha Norelius. Johnny Weissmuller again won the 100-metre freestyle
& anchored the U. S. freestyle relay team to a world record time.
The US won all 4 golds for diving.
The first non-American to win both the 100m
and 200m was Canada’s Percy Williams. Algerian-born Boughera El Ouafi,
representing France won the Marathon and was the first
of the great African long distance runners.
Finland won 4 track gold medals, including Paavo‘s victory
in the 10,000 metres,
his 9th gold medal in three Olympic Games.
His teammate Ville Ritola was second in
the 10,000m but won in the 5,000 beating Nurmi.