The History of Sport 1920: 29 Nations Attend The Antwerp Olympics, Paul Radmilovic’s fourth gold as Britain win a hat-trick of water polo titles, Oscar Swahn takes gold at 72, Nedo Nadi wins five fencing golds. In American Football the NFL is Founded

Some of the notable events in sport in 1920:

The National Football League (NFL) is founded as the American Professional Football Association in Canton, Ohio.  The first NFL championship is won by the Akron Pros.

In baseball the Negro National League is formed.  Boston Red Sox transfers Babe Ruth to New York Yankees for $125,000 and a $350,000 loan. Ruth hits 54 home runs for the Yankees in 1920, surpassing the 29 he hit in the 1919 season.

The inaugural Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in horse-racing is won by Comrade.


The Olympic Games take place in Antwerp.

These Olympics were the first in which the Olympic Oath was voiced, the first in which doves were released to symbolize peace, and the first in which the Olympic Flag was flown.
The USA won 41 gold, 27 silver, and 27 bronze medals, the most won by any of the 29 nations attending.
There were 156 events in 29 disciplines, comprising 22 sports, were part of the Olympic program in 1920.

The Games also featured a week of winter sports, with figure skating appearing for the first time since the 1908 Olympics, and ice hockey making its Olympic debut.

Nedo Nadi won 5 gold medals in the fencing events (two individual golds).
At the age of 72, Sweden’s 100 metre running deer double-shot event champion Oscar Swahn, who had participated in the 1908 and 1912 Games, came in second in the team event to become the oldest Olympic medal winner ever.
Finland’s Paavo Nurmi won the 10,000 m and 8000 m cross country races, took another gold in team cross country, and a silver in the 5000 m run.

John Kelly (USA) wins golds at single and double sculls rowing.

Britain’s Henry Taylor wins his eighth medal at swimming over three Games.

Max Decugis (France) wins his fourth tennis gold since 1900.

Britain’s Albert Hill wins golds at 800m and 1500m. Britain also win golds at Steeplechase (Percy Hodge), 4x400m relay, in boxing for Ronald Rawson and Harry Mallin, hockey, polo (third successive gold), and Finn yachting.

Paul Radmilovic wins his fourth Olympic gold medal as part of the British water polo team which wins a third successive gold. This remains a record for a Briton for the rest of the century.

Hannes Kolehmainen (Finland) wins his fourth gold in distance running over two Games.
Hubert van Innis (Belgium) wins his sixth gold in archery.

Pat McDonald (USA) wins the weight throw gold aged 42 years and 23 days.

Tug-of-war is held at the Games for the last time.



The International Weightlifting Federation is founded.

Britain’s Ted Ray wins the US Open golf championship.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the Quebec Bulldogs by a NHL record score of 16-3.
Joe Malone scores seven goals in one game for Quebec v Toronto in the NHL.

Huddersfield win their fourth successive Yorkshire Cup in Rugby League.

The first gliding meeting is held on Wasserhuppe, organised by Osar Ursinus of Flugsport.

A greyhound racing stadium is opened by O.P.Smith at Emeryville, California.

In cricket an English team goes to Australia in November to commence the first Test series since the war  Percy Fender scores a century in thirty-five minutes for Surrey v Northants.

The first mention of cycle speedway, which takes place at Coventry

In football Billy Meredith plays for Wales v England aged 45 years and 229 days. He first played for his country in 1895, making this a record span in international football.


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