The History of Sport – 1900

From 1900 onwards my recap of the major sporting events of the year will also include my choice for the top sportsman, sportswoman and team of the year for Britain and for the world. I will give reasons for my choice recording their notable achievements in the year.

The main event of the year 1900 in sporting terms was the Paris Olympic Games, the second Games of the modern Olympics. Some of the notable events of those Games were:

Women take part in the modern Olympics for the first time. The first sportswomen to compete in the games are Mme. Brohy and Mlle. Ohnier of France in croquet. The first female champion is Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain in tennis, who also won a gold in the doubles.

An unnamed French boy was the cox of the Netherlands boat in the coxed pair s rowing final. The boat goes on to win the race and the boy, who was aged between seven and ten, remains to this day the youngest ever Olympic gold medal winner.
Tug of War, show jumping, rowing and gymnastics are introduced into the Games as is sailing which would have been in the 1896 Games but was cancelled due to bad weather,

Alvin Kraenzlein (USA) wins four gold medals (at 60m, 110m hurdles, 200m hurdles and long Jump).
Ray Ewry (USA) wins golds at standing high jump, standing long jump and standing triple jump events.
Walter Tewksbury and Irving Baxter of the USA both win five medals in athletics.

France wins the most medals (100), and the most gold medals (25).

The British team has a successful Games.
Charles Bennett (GB) wins gold at 1500m and in the 5000m team race setting two world records.
Alfred Tysoe (GB) wins the 800m and is in the winning 5000m team which also includes John Rimmer who won the 4000m steeplechase.
John Jarvis wins two gold medals at long-distance freestyle swimming events.

Britain win golds at water polo and polo (making debuts at the Games), cricket and football (a team from Upton Park FC).
At sailing the yacht Scotia, crewed by Lorne Currie and John Gretton, wins gold at half-ton and Open classes. Britain also wins gold in the 2-3 ton class.

Outside the Olympics:

The term “Orienteering” is used for the first time for an event in Oslo.

Cambridge wins the 57th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race by a record margin of twenty lengths.

Ambush II owned by the Prince of Wales wins the Grand National.

Diamond Jubilee wins the colts Triple Crown in English horse racing.

The All England badminton championships are held for the first time.

Tennis – Davis Cup competition is established, the inaugural competition being called the International Lawn Tennis Challenge and involving only Great Britain and the USA.  USA win 3-0 against the British Isles at Longwood Cricket Club (grass) Boston, United States.

Wimbledon Men’s Singles Championship – Reginald Doherty (GB) defeats Sydney Smith (GB) to win his 4th successive title.  He also wins the doubles with his brother for the 4th successive year.
Wimbledon Women’s Singles Championship – Blanche Bingley Hillyard (GB) defeats Charlotte Cooper-Sterry (GB), her 5th title in succession.

In baseball the Western League takes the name “American League”.  The Chicago White Stockings win the league.

In football German Football Association (i.e., the Deutscher Fußball-Bund or DFB) founded in Leipzig by representatives of 86 clubs (28 January).
FC Bayern Munich founded on 27 February as Schwabinger Bayern at a meeting in Munich’s Gisela Restaurant by dissident players from a club called MTV 1879.

Cricket – Yorkshire completes the County Championship season unbeaten, the first time this has happened since the start of the official championship in 1890.

Motor racing – James Gordon Bennett, Jr., owner of the New York Herald newspaper and the International Herald Tribune, establishes the Gordon Bennett Cup, an international event.  Each country is allowed to enter up to three cars, which must be fully built in the country that they represent and entered by that country’s automotive governing body. International racing colours are first established in this event.  The inaugural Gordon Bennett Cup (Paris to Lyon) is won by Fernand Charron (France) driving a Panhard & Levassor.

Miss Wemblyn in a Daimler wins the first ladies motor race in Britain at Ranelagh.

The first table tennis club, the Cavendish Table Tennis Club, is founded in London.

The first British judo club is founded by Professor Uyenishi at 31 Golden Square.

Powerboat races are held for the first time.

At rodeos steer wrestling events are held for the first time.

Surfing is known to have been revived by this date at Waikiki, Hawaii.

Boxing – James J.Jeffries defeats Jack Finnegan in 55 seconds in a world heavyweight title fight.

My selection as the outstanding performers of the year.


Sportsman: Looking at the Olympics gives the best idea of the outstanding sportsman of the year.  Athletics was a good standard at the Games and as the sport was noting world records it is easier to see the results in a historical context.

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Alvin Kraenzlein (USA) won four gold medals (at 60m, 110m hurdles, 200m hurdles and long Jump).  This is still a record for individual events in athletics at one Games.  However, none were with world records and the hurdles were in similar events one of which is now obsolete.  Ray Ewry won three golds in “standing” jump events which aren’t as competitive as standard events.  John Flanagan set an excellent world record in the hammer.  The finest performance of the year came from Maxie Long, the easy winner of the Olympics, after the Games.  His time remained the world record until 1916.

Outside athletics Konrad Stäheli won three golds in shooting.

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My choice  for sportsman of the year is Maxie Long



Sportsman:  Reginald Doherty won his fourth Wimbledon singles title, the doubles and two Olympic golds in the doubles.  In the Olympic singles he allowed his brother to have a walkover in the semi final so only took bronze.  However, he was the best player of the year.

At the Olympics Charles Bennett  wins gold at 1500m and in the 5000m team race setting two world records. Alfred Tysoe wins the 800m and is in the winning 5000m team which also includes John Rimmer who won the 4000m steeplechase. Each won one individual event and one team gold and none set a world best time.

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John Jarvis wins two gold medals at long-distance freestyle swimming events, both in individual events although the standard of the events is hard to judge.  However, his two individual golds are a great achievement and I have chosen him as my British sportsman of 1900.

Sportswoman: Blanche Bingley Hillyard (Tennis) Embed from Getty Images

Although Charlotte Cooper won the Olympics she wasn’t the best tennis player at the time. Blanche Bingley beat Cooper at Wimbledon but didn’t compete at the Olympics and has to be regarded as the best British player.  Other women’s sports were very limited so Blanche is my choice as British sportswoman of the year.

Team:Embed from Getty Images

Yorkshire County Cricket Club 1900 county championship team

Although the Doherty brothers were supreme, taking Wimbledon and Olympic titles, and there were several British team golds at the Olympics, my choice is the Yorkshire cricket team which became the first to go through an English county championship season undefeated.  The level of opposition at the Olympics was often limited and the Dohertys had been dominant for years so the Yorkshire team;s achievement is the most notable.

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