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Stockholm 1912 - Quick hits


After nine hours, the final of the light-heavyweight greco-roman wrestling competition was scored a draw. Swede Anders Ahlgren and Finn Ivar Boehling both were awarded silver instead of gold. In one of the semifinals, the contest between Estonian Martin Klein and Finn Alfred Asikainen continued for 11 hours -- an Olympic record. Each wrestler stopped every 30 minutes for a rest, and Klein, the eventual winner, was so tired he declined to take part in the final.

Dressing room racism

Black American sprinter Howard Drew, the favored athlete in his event, decided to pull out of the 100-meter dash just before the event. While the official reason given was a ruptured Achilles tendon, it was suspected by many people that Drew was following instructions from his own coach, who wanted victory to be attained by a white American sprinter.


Portugal's Francisco Lazaro fell prey to the rigours of the marathon at the 30-kilometer mark. Taken to the hospital, he died the next day. Lazaro was the first of two athletes to die during the history of the Olympics (in 1960, Dane Knud Enemark Jensen collapsed during the cycling event and died a few days later).

Secret competitor

The literature category in the art event was won by Georg Ohrod et Eschbach. The text, written in French and German, won over the jury, who to their amazement found that its author was none other than Pierre de Coubertin. The father of the Olympic Games, over the moon with the result, thus found himself among Olympic champions.


An American athlete named Avery Brundage finished sixth in the pentathlon. Brundage surely would have been forgotten -- if, four decades later, he had not become the president of the International Olympic Committee.

Lost from sight

During the marathon, Japanese runner Kanikuri mysteriously disappeared. The officials waited in vain for him to appear. And kept waiting. After 50 years of waiting for his explanation, they finally received it. After running about 20 kilometers in the race, Japan's sole representative at the Games was invited by some spectators to refresh himself. Embarrassed by his unplanned stop, Kanikuri decided to take a detour, jumped on a tram and, without telling anyone, headed for home.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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