1928 Summer Olympics

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1928 Olympics poster.jpg
Poster for the 1928 Summer Olympics
Host city Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nations 46
Athletes 2,883 (2,606 men, 277 women)
Events 109 in 14 sports (20 disciplines)
Opening 28 July
Closing 12 August
Opened by Prince Hendrik
Stadium Olympisch Stadion
Paris 1924 Los Angeles 1932
St Moritz 1928 Lake Placid 1932

The 1928 Summer Olympics (Dutch: Olympische Zomerspelen 1928), officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was celebrated from 28 July to 12 August 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The city of Amsterdam had previously bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but were obliged to give way to war-torn Antwerp in Belgium for the 1920 Games and Pierre de Coubertin's Paris for the 1924 Games.

The only other candidate city for the 1928 Olympics was Los Angeles, which would eventually be selected to host the Olympics four years later. In preparation for the 1932 Summer Olympics, the United States Olympic Committee reviewed the costs and revenue of the 1928 Games. The committee reported a total cost of US$1.183 million with receipts of US$1.165 million, giving a negligible loss of US$18,000, which was a considerable improvement over the 1924 Games.[1]


  • These were the first Olympics to be organised under the IOC presidency of Henri de Baillet-Latour.
  • For the first time, the Olympic Flame was lit during the Olympics.[2] The torch relay, however, would not occur until the 1936 Summer Olympics.
  • For the first time, the parade of nations started with Greece, which holds the origins of the Olympics, and ended with the host country, a tradition which continues today.
  • The Games were officially opened by Prince Hendrik, consort of Queen Wilhelmina, who had authorized him to deputise for her. This was the second time a head of state had not personally officiated at an Olympic opening ceremony. (The first occasion was at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri, which were officially opened by David R. Francis the Mayor of St. Louis.) In opposition, the Prince had refused offers by heads of state to do this, whereas the Queen refused as she was on holiday in Norway and did not want to disrupt her trip.[citation needed] The Queen was furious at the organizing committee for not consulting with her about the opening date.[citation needed]
  • Athletics events were held on a 400-meter track, later becoming the standard for athletics tracks.
  • These Games were the first to feature a standard schedule of 16 days, which is still followed. Previously, competition had been stretched out over several months.
  • Johnny Weissmuller, who later appeared in several Tarzan movies, won two gold medals in swimming.
  • Paavo Nurmi of Finland won his ninth and final gold medal in the 10,000 m race.
  • Canada's Percy Williams surprised everyone by winning both the 100 m and 200 m sprint events.
  • South American football made a definite breakthrough, as Uruguay retained its title by defeating Argentina.
  • India took its first ever gold in the sport of field hockey, beginning a streak of six consecutive gold medals in the sport.
  • Mikio Oda of Japan won the triple jump event with a result of 15.21 meters (49 ft 11 in), becoming the first gold medalist from an Asian country.
  • Boughera El Ouafi, Algerian-born marathoner won a gold medal for France.
  • The then Crown Prince Olav, later King of Norway, was amongst the participants. He won a gold medal in sailing.
  • Pat O'Callaghan won newly independent Ireland's first ever medal, taking gold in the hammer throw.
  • The first appearance of the sponsor Coca-Cola at the Olympic Games.
  • These games were the first to bear the name "Summer Olympic Games", to distinguish them from the Winter Olympics.
  • Germany returned to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1912, after being banned from the 1920 and 1924 Games. The German team finished second in the 1928 medal count.
  • Many cars were expected for the Games, but Amsterdam didn't have single parking places larger than for 2,000 cars. So for (foreign) visitors a symbol was launched where they could park their car. As it was described in the Sumatra Post on 4 May 1928: a round blue sign with a white P. It would become the international traffic sign for parking.[3]

Host city selection[edit]

The parking sign with a white P on a blue background was first invented for the 1928 Games

Frederik van Tuyll van Serooskerken first proposed Amsterdam as host city for the Summer Olympic Games in 1912, even before the Netherlands Olympic Committee was established.

In 1916 the Olympic Games were cancelled due to World War I. In 1919 the Netherlands Olympic Committee abandoned the proposal of Amsterdam in favour of their support of the nomination of Antwerp as host city for the 1920 Summer Olympics. In 1921 Paris was selected for the 1924 Summer Olympics on the condition that the 1928 Summer Olympics would be organized in Amsterdam.

This decision, supported by the Netherlands Olympic Committee, was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 2 June 1921. The decision was disputed by the Americans, but their request to allocate the 1928 Summer Olympics to Los Angeles was without success in 1922 and again in 1923.[4]

Los Angeles was eventually selected as host city for the 1932 Summer Olympics.[5]


During the 1928 Summer Olympics, there were 14 sports, 20 disciplines and 109 events in the tournament. In parentheses is the number of events per discipline.[5]

Eight Dutch stamps from 1928, showing different sports of the Amsterdam Olympics

Women's athletics and team gymnastics debuted at these Olympics,[6] in spite of criticism. Halina Konopacka of Poland became the first female Olympic track and field champion. Reports that the 800 meter run ended with several of the competitors being completely exhausted were widely (and erroneously) circulated. As a result, the IOC decided that women were too frail for long distance running, and women's Olympic running events were limited to 200 meters until the 1960s.[7]

Tennis disappeared from the program, only to reappear in 1968 as a demonstration sport.

Demonstration sports[edit]

These Games also included art competitions, which the IOC no longer considers as official medal events.[citation needed]


The Olympisch Stadion in 1928
Prince Hendrik watching the football match Netherlands–Uruguay (0–2)

Fourteen sports venues were used for the 1928 Summer Olympics. The Swim Stadium was demolished in 1929 with it being a temporary venue.[8] The Het Kasteel football stadium was renovated in 1998–99. The Monnikenhuize stadium was demolished in 1950. The Schermzaal sports hall has also been demolished. The Olympic Stadium was renovated between 1996 and 2000, and is still in use. The Old Stadion was demolished in 1929 and replaced with housing in the Amsterdam area.

Venue Sports Capacity Ref.
Amersfoort Modern pentathlon (riding) Not listed [9]
Amsterdam Cycling (road) Not listed [10]
Buiten Y Sailing 2,263 [11]
Hilversum Equestrian (non-jumping), Modern pentathlon (running) 4,763 [12]
Krachtsportgebouw Boxing, Weightlifting, Wrestling 4,634 [13]
Monnikenhuize (Arnhem) Football 7,500 [14]
Old Stadion Field hockey, Football 29,787 [15]
Olympic Sports Park Swim Stadium Diving, Modern pentathlon (swimming), Swimming, Water polo 6,000 [8]
Olympic Stadium Athletics, Cycling (track), Equestrian (jumping), Football, Gymnastics, Korfball 33,025 [16]
Schermzaal Fencing, Modern pentathlon (fencing) 559 [17]
Sloterringvaart, Sloten Rowing 2,230 [18]
Sparta Stadion Het Kasteel (Rotterdam) Football 11,026 [19][20]
Zeeburg Shooting Grounds Modern pentathlon (shooting) 10,455 [9]
Zuiderzee Sailing 2,263 [11]

Participating nations[edit]

Number of athletes

A total of 46 nations were represented at the Amsterdam Games. Malta, Panama, and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) competed at the Olympic Games for the first time. Germany returned after having been banned in 1920 and 1924.[21]

Participating National Olympic Committees

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees[edit]

Medal count[edit]

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1928 Games.

1 United States22181656
2 Germany1071431
3 Finland88925
4 Sweden761225
5 Italy75719
6 Switzerland74415
7 France610521
8 Netherlands*69419
9 Hungary4509
10 Canada44715
Totals (10 Nations)817678235


Official poster

The official poster for the Games was designed by Jos Rovers, and 10,000 copies were made.

The poster displays a running man in a white shirt, with in the background the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic flag.

The IOC never succeeded in obtaining the copyright of the image. Therefore, out of practical considerations, the IOC used a different poster, with the German text Olympische Spiele, and an athlete partly covered in the Dutch national flag, holding a peace leaf in his hand. The poster was made for a German book about the Amsterdam Olympics.[22]

Last surviving competitor[edit]

The last living competitor of the 1928 Summer Olympics was Clara Marangoni, a member of the silver-medal winning Italian team who had been 12 years old during the Olympics.

She died 18 January 2018, at the age of 102. She was also the oldest living Olympic medalist at the time of her death.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zarnowski, C. Frank (Summer 1992). "A Look at Olympic Costs" (PDF). Citius, Altius, Fortius. 1 (1): 16–32. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  2. ^ "Amsterdam 1928". Olympic.org. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  3. ^ van de Vooren, Jurryt (2012-06-12). "Parkeerbord is speciaal bedacht voor de Olympische Spelen van 1928". Sportgeschiedenis.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. 
  4. ^ Chicago Tribune Co. "America Bids for Games: Olympics of 1928 May be Held in This Country", New York Times. 6 April 1923. Page 15.
  5. ^ a b G. van Rossem (ed.) (1928). The Ninth Olympiad Amsterdam 1928 Official Report (PDF). Amsterdam: J. H. de Bussy. pp. 973–985. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Timeline of Women in Sports: Gymnastics". faculty.elmira.edu. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "The Forgotten History of Female Athletes Who Organized Their Own Olympics | Bitch Media". Retrieved 2016-07-28. 
  8. ^ a b 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 193, 203, 205-9, 277.
  9. ^ a b 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. p. 277.
  10. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. p. 264.
  11. ^ a b 1928 Summer Olympics official report, featuring map of the Buiten IJ. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 271-2, 274.
  12. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 167, 271-8.
  13. ^ 1928 Summer Olympic official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 200-1, 205.
  14. ^ FIFA.com 1928 Summer Olympic CHI-MEX results. Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 173-80.
  16. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 173-205.
  17. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 170, 202, 205.
  18. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 172, 267-72.
  19. ^ FIFA.com 1928 Summer Olympics NED-BEL results from 5 June. Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ FIFA.com 1928 Summer Olympics NED-CHI results from 8 June. Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Guttmann, Allen (1992). The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-252-01701-3. 
  22. ^ Henk van Gelder: De Spiele in Amsterdam Archived 29 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine., NRC Handelsblad, 30 June 1996.
  23. ^ Turner, Amanda (23 January 2018). "Carla Marangoni, Oldest Olympic Medalist, Dies at 102". International Gymnast Magazine. Retrieved 15 February 2018. 

External links[edit]