Meadville Tribune

Sports

February 3, 2014

Chamonix sets the tone for winter games

CHAMONIX, France — A ragtag parade down the center of town marked the opening ceremonies of the first Winter Olympics.

Looks quaint, doesn’t it? Look closer and you’ll see just how quaint: Many of the athletes — they really were amateurs back in the day — are lugging their own equipment: hockey sticks, skates, skis and such. Then again, by 1924 standards, it was considered quite a pageant.

Ninety years after its original publication, the AP is making its original report on the opening ceremonies of the first Winter Olympics available.

The whole shebang at Chamonix in 1924 cost less than $28 million in today’s dollars, and set the tone for the winter games that followed. Unlike their bigger, brassier and traditionally much more expensive summer counterparts, they’ve been generally modest affairs ever since. But there are oligarch-sized ambitions to flip the script this time around.

When the world gathers in Sochi this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his countrymen better have plans up their sleeves for something with a little more oomph. Otherwise, they’ll have $50 billion — more than has been lavished on any previous Olympics — worth of questions to answer for.

Sochi was known once for the tea grown in the region, and later, as the site of state-run, Neoclassical-styled sanatoriums and Joseph Stalin’s favorite dacha. The plan now is to turn the summer resort town alongside the Black Sea into a staging ground for the most spectacular winter games ever, and in the bargain, turn Sochi into a destination for the ski and private jet-set.

Putin has hinted he will accept nothing less — despite repeated construction delays, reports of widespread corruption, environmental damage and unrelenting criticism over a Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda.” And even those problems seem pale in comparison to security concerns heightened after recent bombings in Volgograd and Dagestan believed to be the work of Islamic insurgents in the nearby Caucasus region.

“The result expected by us,” a defiant Putin said recently, “is a brilliant Games.”

The expectations for those first games, on the other hand, were simply to improve on a winter sports festival that had taken root in Sweden in 1901.

Fans and organizers of the Nordic Games had managed to shoehorn a figure-skating competition into the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, but they kept lobbying for games of their own. The International Olympic Committee finally went along in 1924, granting the French officials who staged the 1924 Summer Games in Paris a chance to try their hand at six winter sports — alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating.

Sixteen events were contested over 11 days, drawing 258 athletes (including just 11 women) from 16 nations and exactly 10,004 paying customers. American speedskater Charles Jewtraw won the opening contest, the 500 meters, prompting the Boston Globe to slap the headline “Our Flag At Top Of Olympic Mast” atop The Associated Press story.

Read a few paragraphs into it and you’ll learn that the swinging-arm style that has become mandatory for sprinters since was considered revolutionary when Jewtraw and U.S. teammate Joe Moore (who finished 8th) unveiled it before a handful of “gaping” Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish coaches.

But it didn’t take long to figure out why those traditional Nordic powers were so eager to get their own Olympics.

Cross-country sensation Thorleif Haug won three golds, enabling Norway to top the medals table with 17 total. In what turned out to be a historical footnote, Haug was also awarded the bronze in the ski jump in 1924; but 50 years later a scoring error was confirmed and the medal was finally delivered — by Haug’s daughter no less — to its rightful owner, American Anders Haugen.

Finland finished second with 11, thanks to Clas Thunberg’s speed-skating haul of three golds, a silver and a bronze. The 28 medals by Norway and Finland were more than all the rest of the competing nations combined. The United States and Britain finished tied for third with four medals each. Canada won only one medal, but served notice it was a hockey power to be reckoned with by scoring 122 goals and allowing just three en route to the gold.

Here is the original dispatch from Chamonix, as reported by The Associated Press on Jan. 25, 1924.

Text Only
Sports
  • Blue Jacket_DiRi.jpg Blue Jackets edge Penguins 4-3 in double overtime

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • College Softball: DePauw earns NCAC sweep over Allegheny

    It’s gut-check time for the Allegheny College softball team.

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggs.jpg Big first inning leads Meadville to win over Saegertown

    So, how does one go about beating the Saegertown baseball team? It’s a question that District 10 programs have been asking themselves for years now.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylor, Osborne lead Panthers to 12-1 win over CASH

    Saegertown freshman Kendra Taylor had no reason to believe that Friday afternoon’s non-region softball game would go like any other.

    April 18, 2014

  • Dunn.jpg H.S. Softball: Cards strike late for 2-0 win over Blue Devils

    “You can wait around all day,” Cochranton head softball coach Mark McGuire said. “But when the moment is there and the opportunity is in front of you, that’s when you have to get it done.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gallo’s single lifts CASH to win in extras

    “He got the hit because they were scared of Cole Baker,” said Cole Baker.
    He was just kidding around ... probably.

    April 17, 2014

  • Jordan Lynn Lynn leads Bulldogs over visiting Beavers

    “It’s a good thing we have that little break for Easter,” said Meadville track and field coach Carl Roznowski. “That should give her a chance to rest up those muscles.”
    Roznowski is talking about Bulldogs junior Jordan Lynn, who was a busy lady on Wednesday as the MASH boys and girls squads took on Corry in a Region 3 meet at the Barco-Duratz Athletic Complex.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panthers stay unbeaten with win over Blue Devils

    Saegertown’s run to the District 10 boys volleyball championship a year ago was anything but easy.
    Needless to say, the Panthers have a little experience when it comes to dealing with tribulations. The Panthers put that experience to good use on Wednesday night in a Region 1 showdown.

    April 16, 2014

  • MLB replay Selig calls replay start ‘remarkable’

    Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks.
    While baseball began video review late in the 2008 season, it was limited to potential home runs and boundary calls. The new system that began March 30 vastly expands the types of plays that managers and umpires can ask to be reviewed at a replay center in New York.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cardinals roll to a sweep of Eagles

    The match only lasted three games, but Logan Herzberger still found the time to post a double-double, notching 14 kills and 18 digs while the Cochranton volleyball team swept Conneaut 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 during Region 1 action on Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Poll

In terms of the overall livability and workability of the City of Meadville, which component of the city’s infrastructure should receive top priority?

Streets
Stormwater control
Parks
Other
It’s too difficult to single one out
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks