Washington: The world of 1919 was not a place for fun and games.
A war like no other has triggered Europe, where millions have died and left the continent. The Spanish flu epidemic has been shrinking but is still traumatic, with up to 50 million people dying worldwide, including 675,000 in the United States.
But hundreds of thousands of troops from different countries were still in Europe. The war was over but they were bored, and they held back until the time that they were brought home.
And so was born another world champion. Medium Games brings together war-weary countries in some wars and not traditional games.
A century before the Tokyo Olympics were delayed as coronavirus spread around the world, sports helped heal.
The Italians were playing basketball for the first time, while the Americans won the medals by throwing grenades as bases hit their homes. There was golf and war, and a black American man was a big star, 17 years ago Jesse Owens dropped Adolf Hitler in Berlin.
Fourteen countries competed outside Paris, including a group from the Hejaz Empire (now part of Saudi Arabia) that brought four camels used in the opening.
The women were not invited to compete, but the French Tennis star Suzanne Lenglen, who will win her first Wimbledon title next month, protested and beat every man she met on the other side of the net.
All of this was done in a 90-day-long stadium built by US forces, General John Pershing, commander of US troops in Europe.
The stadium not only seats 25,000 but has separate dressing rooms, baths and billboards for Pershing hosted by friends and guests at a private entrance to the stadium.
Doran Cart, senior director of the World War I museum and commemoration of Kansas City, Missouri, says:
"They wanted to maintain the emotional affinity of the allies and keep the troops. Sports were seen as something that everyone could contribute to."
The silent films of the time show the running of the performers on the road on opening day, after jumping into obstacles and running relays. A boxing girl was laid in the middle of the field and the swim was outside.
All the competitors were amateurs, as was the order of the day, and collected small medals as their prizes. Various countries have also donated prizes, with the winner of the gun-racing contest getting a statue from Pershing, an American man who served during the war.
While it is likely an international competition, the games had a distinctive American flavor. They were the brainchild of Elwood S. Brown, president of athletics for both the U.S. Army in Europe and the YMCA. Brown saw them as a way to protect the aftermath of the war by showing that America is as good on the playground as it is on the battlefield.
In a letter of 1918 suggests sports, Brown said to be a "team-mates to show allied America's best sports, good faith and to the best of their good physical forces."
Indeed, the United States built the stadium, won most medals, and even fed the other competitors with food left over from the war that ended eight months ago.
Just to make sure the US team was loaded, about 40 athletes who had never been in combat were sent to a ship in France to compete for their knowledge.
They were joined by another 1,000 athletes and 7,000 troops from different countries at the mini-Olympics that attracted large crowds. After years of war, they competed for the day and interacted with the night.
Outside, the best spot was the YMCA Collectors Association, which quickly sketched the name "melting pot."
Cinemas are held every night at the shelter, and there were four official dances. Home working is 21 secretariat YMCA and 95 other American women who work in activities such as "swimming pool," with their jobs, including couples dance clubs and players play.
An average of 39,000 liters of cream and 200,000 gallons of lemonade has been provided by the YMCA for veterans for years without experiencing such discomfort. The men ate and drank so the coaches were worried about getting sick.
Americans threw a grenade at a baseball practice that is familiar to other countries as well as many of the runners on and off the field.
France finished second in the medal standings, and although he wrote a sports columnist he noted that the country would do much better "unless a large number of its troops were killed or injured in the war."
American Norman Ross was the big winner, with five gold medals in swimming. Ross will go on to win three gold next year at the Olympics. Solomon Butler, a student at Dubuque University, won the long jump, and accounts of the time described the bridges and "great joy for the American Negro people."
Butler, put together by the King of Montenegro, opted for the 1920 Olympic Games in Belgium the following year, but was injured before the medals.
Games would be one-off, although there was an attempt at the end of World War II to hold a similar competition. It is largely forgotten today, and the site & # 39; Pershing Stadium & # 39; used to play baseball now.
"People were tired and just wanted to go home," Cart said.
"Everyone had enough fighting, and the game quickly became a subtext.