The last time Paris hosted the Olympics was 100 years ago, and it served as a stepping stone for many modern-day Olympic standards we see today.
The upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics is one of the most highly anticipated sports events this year — an iconic competition taking place in an iconic city. But, you might be hard-pressed to find someone who witnessed the last time Paris hosted.
The upcoming Olympics marks Paris’ third time as host, as the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games also took place here. But before the athletes return to France’s capital city this year, let’s rewind 100 years and look back at some of the firsts that took place when Paris last hosted the Olympics.
First standard Olympic pool
The 1924 Paris Olympics was the first edition of the Summer Games to introduce the standard Olympic-sized swimming pool. That year, the city introduced a 50-meter pool with lanes made out of cork to separate each swimmer, as well as black lines on the floor of the pool to help direct the swimmers in a straight line.
Swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports (thank you, Michael Phelps), so it’s hard to imagine a time when swimmers would compete without proper lanes.
Introducing the new Olympic motto
The Olympic Games are very symbolic in nature. Thus, it only makes sense that it has its own motto. In case you didn’t know, the traditional motto for the Olympics reads, Citius, Altius, Fortius. In Latin, this translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.
This original motto was first introduced in the 1924 Paris Olympics. But in 2021, the International Olympic Committee approved the addition of one more word to capture a fuller essence of the Games.
The new motto now reads, Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter. This translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.”
First Olympic Village
One of the things that is sure to excite every rookie Olympian is being in the Olympic Village. This is where the delegates from every country reside throughout the Summer Games. Can you imagine living among the best athletes in the world for a couple of weeks?
But, the Olympic Village was first introduced in the 1924 Paris Olympics. As the first city that was required to provide athletes with accommodations, food, and other necessities, the organizers built a “village” made of multiple cabins, though the setup was very basic. It wasn’t until the 1932 Los Angeles Games that the first fully developed Olympic Village took shape, built in with everything the athletes would need.
The first Filipino Olympian
Of all the historic editions of the Olympics, the Paris edition in 1924 is probably one of the most meaningful to the Philippines, as this edition marked the country’s first time to compete in the Summer Games.
In 1924, the Philippines was represented by just one athlete: David Nepomuceno. He was a track and field athlete and was the only Filipino to fly to Paris to compete in the Olympics, where he ran the 100-meter and 200-meter events.
Though he did not advance in his events, this officially put the Philippines on the Olympic map, and his presence served as a stepping stone for all future Olympians.
A big success
Overall, the 1924 Paris Olympics was considered a big success thanks to the number of additions the Games saw that year. There were more participating nations, more competing athletes, and more media coverage. On top of this, the competition also drew 625,000 spectators to the events in Paris.
With this, it definitely was among the editions that helped turn the Olympics into what it is today.
Banner image from the Olympics.