1896 The States was one of the first 13 countries to send an athletic delegation to the Summer Games - among the world's most high-profile sporting events-- on Greek soil. This year was a key moment for the global's sport.
1896 In Athens, the United States of America became the leading sports country of the world after finishing first in unofficial team standings in the First Modern Olympiad. There, the 1896 U.S. Olympic squad earned a total of 20 medals: 11 gold, 7 silver, and 2 bronze. Meanwhile, Boston-born James B. Connolly was the first person to claim a gold medal in Olympic history after winning the triple jump in Athens' Panathinaiko Stadium. Back home in Boston, Mr. Connolly was given a hero's welcome. Since 1896 -without interruption-- America has been renowned for producing international champs.
1896 Thomas Burke's rise to prominence came in Athens when he was the first winner of the men's 100m in Olympian history, making him the world's fastest sprinter. Mr. Burke was identified with the emerging generation of American athletes in the late 1890s when he realized his dream of winning the Olympic gold.
1896 What hurdler was the first American athlete to win an Olympic title? Answer: Thomas Curtis, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student. He made a time of 17,6 seconds to win the gold in the men's 110m hurdles in Greece.
1900 With 47 international medals (19 gold, 14 silver, and 14 bronze), the States once again became one of the world's elite sports powers in the multi-sport event in Paris (France).
1900 Alvin Kraenzlein was in the spotlight as he, a born-athlete, led American team to win four golds in Paris: 60m, 110m hurdles, 200m hurdles, and long jump. To prepare himself to become an outstanding sportsman, the United States hurdler made his first overseas visit to the United Kingdom. Hailing from Milwaukee (Wisconsin), Kraenzlein was the American star in the Games of the Second Olympiad, followed by Ray Ewry (3 golds), Margaret Ives Abbot (first female in US history to capture an Olympian championship), and Irving Baxter (2 golds), among other high-profile athletes. On the other hand, Kraenzlein's life has been an inspiration to several sports people in Wisconsin and the States.
1904 St. Louis (MO) was the site for the Games of the Third Olympiad. Unequivocally, the 1904 Olympics were in the focus of the attention of the world press.
1904 Pittsburgh-born runner James Lightbody was the winner of the men's 800m and 1,500m--He was the first male to win both these competitions at the same Olympics. Shortly afterward, he took a number of other major athletic titles, including the Intercalated Games in Greece.
1904 The host country's team -made up of four stars: Herman T. Glass, Edward Hennig, Anton Heida, George Eyser- claimed first in the gymnastics tournament at the III Olympiad in St. Louis (MO).
1908 At the IV Summer Olympics in London (England), the US Olympic team was ranked second in the medal count -23 golds, 12 silvers, 12 bronzes-behind only Britain.
1908 With three wins (800m, 1500m and medley relay), New Jersey's runner Mel Sheppard had an exceptional year in the Briton capital of London.
1912 Oklahoma-born Jim Thorpe won both the decathlon and pentathlon in the Summer Games at Stockholm, Sweden. Decades later, many sportswriters and sports experts selected Thorpe as both "the greatest football player and male athlete of the first half of the 20th Century".
1912 With three gold medals in the shooting tournament, New York City-born Alfred Lane became America's most successful athlete at the V Summer Olympics on Scandinavian soil.
1912 Two future personalities competed in the Games in Sweden: Firstly, Avery Brundage in pentathlon-elected President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC); the first U.S. sports leader to occupy the post. Secondly, George S. Patton, General during World War II.
1920 At the Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp (Belgium), the States became undisputed champion when it was first in the medal standings with 95 medals. The U.S. team had more than 40 Summer Olympic Games Champions.
1920 In Belgium, Duke Kahanamoku earned the men's 100m freestyle for the second time in a row. For the past four years, Hawaii's sporting icon became the first islander to conquer the coveted title (Stockholm Games) and was a national-class swimmer in the States. Prior to 1916, the untapped athlete moved between his home, Hawaii, and frequent swimming events in the continental United States, where his only goal was to train to become the world's fastest swimmer. There, he gained the national trials, capturing tickets for the Summer Olympics. As well as being one of the most outstanding swimmers on Earth since 1912, Duke Kahanamoku reintroduced the sport of surfing to the western world- he turned it into a great national passion in the continental U.S. Like Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop and the performer Don Ho, his immense personal popularity added to Hawaii's international fame.
1924 In the Olympics in Paris, France, America's strong squad was first in the medal count with 99 - 67 medals more than Finland (second in the Games).
1924 The US water polo team took third place in the international competition, becoming the first American squad to be medalist in the Olympiad.
1924 After gaining four golds, America's sportsmen became champion in the free-style wrestling tournament in the Games of the VIII Olympiad in Paris. The winners were Robin Read, Russel Vis, John Spellman, and Harry Steele.
1924 The United States swimmer Albert White quickly established himself as the "undisputed champ" in the Olympian Diving Tournament in France, winning golds in both springboard and platform diving.
1928 During the IX Olympiad in the Netherlands, the States was the leading nation in the medal count, earning 22 global titles -12 more than Germany.
1928 Pennsylvania's Olympic ambassador Johnny Weissmuller won the 100m freestyle for the second time in a row in Amsterdam (Holland/Netherlands). He was one of the top favorites to win the title. Over a sporting career that spanned more than 10 years, he obtained 52 national championships and five Olympian golds. Likewise, he set 67 world records in the States and Western Europe. After stepping down as swimmer, he became a top movie star in Hollywood and co-starred with such prominent actresses as Brenda Joyce and Maureen O'Sullivan.
1928 Elizabeth Robinson had the distinction of being the first female to win the 100m (track & field) in the IX Summer Olympics.
1932 The Games of the X Olympiad were held in Los Angeles (CA)-for the second time in the history of the United States (St. Louis, 1904).
1932 World-class athletes led the US delegation to win the Los Angeles Games: 103 medals! -well ahead of Italy (36). Among Summer Olympic stars: Jesse Owens (track and field), Jim Bausch (decathlon, athletics), Edward Flynn (boxing), Michael Galitzen (diving)...
1932 The home country took third place in the Water Polo Championship, earning a bronze. The local team gained that distinction by beating Japan and Brazil.
1932 America's Olympian decathlon champion Jim Bausch obtained the James R. Sullivan Memorial Trophy as the top Olympic athlete. Few were surprised when he received that award.