Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 6 — The 1912 Summer Olympics

1912 Summer Olympics - Stockholm, Sweden

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are in full swing now, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this column to hop into the time machine and look at images from Olympiads past. Let’s set the chronometer for 100 years, which puts us back to 1912 and the Games of the V Olympiad in Stockholm, Sweden.

The images you see here were collected from the Library of Congress. Click on any for a larger version.


Col. Robt. Thompson accepting Flag for Olympic team
Col. Robt. Thompson accepting Flag for Olympic team

On the right is Robert Means Thompson (1849-1930), who served as a United States Navy officer, businessman, and a president of the American Olympic Association. On the left is Ralph Waldo Rose (1885-1913), an American track and field athlete. He won a gold medal at Stockholm for the two-handed shot put. He died the next year, at 28, of typhoid fever.

1912 U.S. Olympic Team (Stockholm, Sweden Games)
1912 U.S. Olympic Team (Stockholm, Sweden Games)

There’s not a lot of info available for this photo, which appears to be of some American athletes. The man in the “M” shirt may be Ted Meredith, who won two gold medals at the Stockholm Games. He set a world record in the 800-meter run, and won another gold as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team.

1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden - 100-meter swim
The 100-Meter Swim

I’m not sure which 100-meter swim this is for.

1912 Summer Olympics - Army rifle shooting
“Army Rifle Shooting”

Again, this is a little vague. The title of this probably refers to one of the military rifle shooting events. I can’t tell if this is a team or individual event. The Americans took gold in the team event, while Sándor Prokopp of Hungary took the gold in 300 m free rifle, three positions.

Olympic Swimmers - 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden
Olympic Swimmers

Here’s a trio of unidentified swimmers. Those dudes have some seriously large thighs.

110 metre race - Olympic Games - 1912
110-Metre Race

This is labeled by the LoC as a 110-meter race, but strictly speaking there was no such event at the 1912 Games. The only track event of 110 meters was the hurdles, but this doesn’t appear to be it.

English football team, 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden
English football team

Great Britain’s football (soccer team) captured gold in Stockholm, defeating Denmark 4-2. It was the second Olympics in a row where the Brits beat the Danes in the final.

1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics - Duncan Gillis
Gillis, hammer

This is Canadian Duncan Gillis, who won the silver medal in the hammer throw. He also participated in the discus throw event and finished 14th.

Jos. Waitzer - 1912 Stockholm, Sweden Summer Olympics
Jos. Waitzer

This is Josef Waitzer of Germany, who finished 19th in the javelin throw and 16th in the discus throw. He also participated in the pentathlon competition, but was eliminated in the third event because he did not finish his 200-meter run.

Prince William - Crown Prince, King Sweden at Olympic games
Prince William – Crown Prince, King Sweden at Olympic games

Our last shot contains a bit of Swedish royalty. From left to right in the front row of seats are Prince Wilhelm (1884-1965), Duke of Södermanland, Crown Prince Gustav VI Adolf (1882-1973), and their father King Gustaf V. Gustaf V reigned from 1907 until his death in 1950, when Gustav VI Adolf took over. He reigned until his death in 1973. Prince Wilhelm was Gustav V’s second son.

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One Comment

  • Very, very cool. Love it. Have you listened to the “The Strangest Games: The 1900 Paris Olympics” podcast from Stuff You Missed In History Class? It’s really good, I think you might dig it.

    And those swimmers gots legs!

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