1908 Olympics - London

The fourth Olympic Games were certainly the wettest and probably the most contentious in history.

Held at a new 68,000-seat stadium in the Shepherds Bush section of London, the 1908 Games were played out under continually rainy skies and suffered from endless arguments between British officials and many of the other countries involved–especially the United States.

“The Battle of Shepherds Bush” began almost immediately, when the U.S. delegation noticed that there was no American flag among the national flags decorating the stadium for the opening ceremonies. U.S. flag bearer and discus champion Martin Sheridan responded by refusing to dip the Stars and Stripes when he passed King Edward VII's box in the parade of athletes. “This flag dips to no earthly king,” Sheridan said. And it hasn't since.

The Americans, at least, got to march with their flag. Finland, then ruled by Russia, could not. Informed they would have to use a Russian flag, the furious Finns elected to march with no flag at all.

Once again the marathon proved to be the Games' most memorable event. Laid out over a 26-mile, 365-yard course that stretched from Windsor Castle to the royal box at Shepherds Bush, the race ended in controversy when leader Dorando Pietri of Italy staggered into the packed stadium, took a wrong turn, collapsed, was helped up by doctors, wobbled and fell three more times before being half-carried across the finish line by race officials. Caught up in the drama of Pietri's agony, the cheering crowd hardly noticed that he was declared the winner just as second place runner, Johnny Hayes of the U.S., entered the stadium.

Pietri was later disqualified in favor of Hayes, but only after British and U.S. officials argued for an hour and fights had broken out in the stands.

Event   Time  
 100m Reggie Walker, S. Afr. 10.8 =OR
  James Rector, USA 10.9  
  Bobby Kerr, CAN 11.0  
 200m Bobby Kerr, CAN 22.6  
  Robert Cloughen, USA 22.6  
  Nathaniel Cartmell, USA 22.7  
 400m Wyndham Halswelle, GBR 50.0  
 800m Mel Sheppard, USA 1:52.8 WR
  Emilio Lunghi, ITA 1:54.2  
  Hanns Braun, GER 1:55.2  
1500m Mel Sheppard, USA 4:03.4 OR
  Harold Wilson, GBR 4:03.6  
  Norman Hallows, GBR 4:04.0  
5 Miles Emil Voigt, GBR 25:11.2  
  Edward Owen, GBR 25:24.0  
  John Svanberg, SWE 25:37.2  
Marathon Johnny Hayes, USA 2:55:18.4 OR
  Charles Hefferon, S. Afr. 2:56:06.0  
  Joseph Forshaw, USA 2:57:10.4  
110m H Forrest Smithson, USA 15.0 WR
  John Garrels, USA 15.7  
  Arthur Shaw, USA    
400m H Charley Bacon, USA 55.0 WR
  Harry Hillman, USA 55.3  
  Leonard Tremeer, GBR 57.0  
Arthur Russell, GBR 10:47.8  
  Archie Robertson, GBR 10:48.4  
  John Lincoln Eisele, USA    
3500m Walk George Larner, GBR 14:55.0  
  Ernest Webb, GBR 15:07.4  
  Harry Kerr, NZL 15:43.4  
10-mi Walk George Larner, GBR 1:15:57.4  
  Ernest Webb, GBR 1:17:31.0  
  Edward Spencer, GBR 1:21:20.2  
Medley Relay USA (William Hamilton, Nathaniel
Cartmell, John Taylor,
Mel Sheppard)
  Germany 3:32.4  
  Hungary 3:32.5  
3-mile Relay GBR (Joseph Deakin, Archie
Robertson, Wilfred Coales)
6 pts  
  USA 19 pts  
  France 32 pts  
Note: Medley Relay made up of two 200m runs, a 400m and an 800m.
Event   Mark  
High Jump Harry Porter, USA 6- 3 OR
  Con Leahy, GBR/IRE 6- 2  
  István Somody, HUN 6- 2  
  Georges André, FRA 6- 2  
Pole Vault Edward Cooke, USA 12- 2 OR
  & Alfred Gilbert, USA 12- 2 OR
  Ed Archibald, CAN 11- 9  
  Charles Jacobs, USA 11- 9  
  Bruno Söderström, SWE 11- 9  
Long Jump Frank Irons, USA 24- 61/2 OR
  Daniel Kelly, USA 23- 33/4  
  Calvin Bricker, CAN 23- 3  
Triple Jump Timothy Ahearne, GBR/IRE 48-111/2 OR
  J. Garfield McDonald, CAN 48- 51/4  
  Edvard Larsen, NOR 47- 23/4  
Shot Put Ralph Rose, USA 46- 71/2  
  Dennis Horgan, GBR 44- 81/4  
  John Garrels, USA 43- 3  
Discus Martin Sheridan, USA 134- 2 OR
  Merritt Giffin, USA 133- 63/4  
  Marquis Horr, USA 129- 5  
Greek Discus Martin Sheridan, USA 128- 4 OR
  Marquis Horr, USA 122- 63/4  
  Werner Järvinen, FIN 119- 91/4  
Hammer John Flanagan, USA 170- 4 OR
  Matthew McGrath, USA 167- 11  
  Cornelius Walsh, USA 159- 11/2  
Javelin Eric Lemming, SWE 179-10 WR
  Arne Halse, NOR 165- 11  
  Otto Nilsson, SWE 154- 6  
Eric Lemming, SWE 178- 71/2  
  Michel Dorizas, GRE 168- 7  
  Arne Halse, NOR 163- 3  
Note: Spinning not allowed in Greek-style Discus.
Standing   Mark
High Jump Ray Ewry, USA 5- 2
  Konstantin Tsiklitiras, GRE 5- 71/2
  John Biller, USA 5- 71/2
Long Jump Ray Ewry, USA 10-111/4
  Konstantin Tsiklitiras, GRE 10- 71/4
  Martin Sheridan, USA 10- 7