The Olympic Marathon That Nearly Killed All It's Participants

By 1 year ago

1094 was the first year that the Olympics made it stateside. They were hosted in St. Louis and was incidentally part of the centennial celebration of the acquisition of Indiana. 

On top of the Olympic celebration, there was a world's fair exhibition that was happening at the same time, which showcased terribly racist events for an international athletics checkpoint. 

Regardless, there was a distinct lack of funding for the Olympics at the time, so the town made do with what they had. The American athletes were just simple egalitarian folk. There were two mailmen, three bricklayers, a French newspaper delivery boy, and two South African runners that showed up to the starting line barefoot. 

 

The race started nightmarishly. The Frenchman arrived late, still wearing street clothes. Evidently, he had gambled all of his money away when he touched down in New Orleans and had to hitchhike his way to St. Louis.

The other participants were in various states of drug-induced withdrawals. One of them had consumed a mixture of strychnine and egg whites as a form of a "performance-enhancing drug." This participant fell ill on the starting line and had to be run to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. 

Water was not available to the runners because the race was being supervised by scientists who were studying the effects of dehydration. It was 94 degrees with 100% humidity, and the race traversed over 400 ft of undulating land. 

The Frenchman eventually won, but after 7 hours of running. He took frequent breaks to eat peaches and apples from orchards. Some of these fruits were rotten, causing him to take periodical breaks to nap on the track. 

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