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HISTORY OF THE GAMES -- 1920

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The Modern Olympics

1920 -- Antwerp, Belgium
2,692 athletes, 29 nations


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Belgium saw some of the worst fighting during World War I because of its location in Western Europe,. Although larger cities like Amsterdam, Rome and Budapest wanted to host the Games, the IOC chose the little known Antwerp for symbolic reasons. Antwerp and Belgium were not thrilled about hosting the Games. Rubble from the war still lined the streets of the city.

Organizers had only 20 months to get ready for the Games, but they did a good job. A 30,000-seat stadium was built and Antwerp donated a large white flag with five Olympic rings in the centre to the Games. The rings were blue, yellow, black, green and red. The colours were supposed to represent the five major continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and both North and South America. At least one colour on the flag is also found on every flag of every country in the world. That flag is still handed down from host city to host city.

Despite the goodwill, Germany and its World War I allies were not invited to the Games by the IOC. Some people believed this was in disagreement with the Olympic ideal.

Joseph Guillemot was a hero at The Games. As a soldier he had survived a mustard gas attack on his French army unit. He won the 5,000m run in Antwerp.

Canadian Highlights: Earl Thomson set a world record and won the 110m hurdles. Bert Schneider won a gold medal in boxing and Canada's boxing team finished the Games with one gold, two silvers and one bronze.

Medal Count: Gold 2, Silver 3, Bronze 3


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