Host City: St. Louis, United States
Date Started: July 4, 1904
Date Finished: July 4, 1904
Participants: 116 (116 men and 0 women) from 11 countries
Youngest Participant: Walter Dray (18 years, 166 days)
Oldest Participant: Jim Mitchel (40 years, 217 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Jim Lightbody (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): United States (64 medals)
The track & field athletics events held from 29 August through 3 September 1904 at [Francis Field] in St. Louis were considered to be the main event of the Olympic Games by all the media which covered them in that year. To some media, they were the only event worthy of being considered a "true" Olympic event.
There were many other track & field meets held during the summer of 1904 in St. Louis and James Sullivan, Director of the Department of Physical Culture at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, insisted on calling all of them "Olympic" events. There were also handicap events conducted during the same days as the Olympic meet. We've included the results of everything below, although the "true" Olympic events are listed first and with the most detail.
Although there were a few foreign competitors, the meet was essentially a U.S. championship, although the Olympic meet was not the 1904 AAU Championship. That had been held in St. Louis, however, but earlier in the summer, on 4 June (results given below).
The track was specially built for the Olympic Games and was very modern - for 1904. It was 1/3 of a mile in length (586 yards, 2 feet = 536.44 metres), with one very long straightwaway, four turns, and three shorter straights. It was built on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis and was composed of cinders. (Through the mid-1980s, the track existed in its original form, but Washington University has now replaced it with a synthetic surface track. Amazingly, however, the stadium still exists in its original form.) The weather was excellent. It was sunny every day of the Games, with temperatures in the high-70's to mid-80's (F.) (25-30° C.).