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Rowing at the 1904 St. Louis Summer Games

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Host City: St. Louis, United States
Date Started: July 30, 1904
Date Finished: July 30, 1904
Events: 5

Participants: 44 (44 men and 0 women) from 2 countries
Youngest Participant: USA Charles Aman (16 years, 309 days)
Oldest Participant: CAN Joe Wright, Sr. (40 years, 198 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): USA John Mulcahy and USA Bill Varley (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (13 medals)


The 1904 rowing events were held at [Creve Coeur Lake]. They were contested on 29 and 30 July 1904 as part of the Olympic Games. The bulk of the entrants were from the United States, although the Toronto Argonaut Club did send an eight-oar crew which competed in the Olympic senior eight-oared shells. The events doubled as the United States Championships of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen (NAAO).

Multiple ancillary events in addition to the Olympic events were contested such as association single sculls, intermediate eight-oared shells, intermediate single sculls and intermediate coxed pairs. The Americans dominated, with the only foreign competitor in the events that are usually considered of Olympic caliber having been the Toronto Argonauts' coxed eight. There were other entrants from Canada as well as from Germany in the ancillary events. These cannot be considered Olympic caliber because they were essentially restricted events for rowers of lesser skill.

The single sculls event had the potential to be a great event for the time, as the world's top two amateur scullers, James Ten Eyck (USA) and Louis Scholes (CAN) both entered. Scholes had won the Diamond Sculls at Henley earlier in the year but neither he nor the American champion Ten Eyck participated.

Creve Couer Lake still exists today. In 1995, during the filming of some television shows concerning Olympic history, I had the opportunity to spend part of an afternoon there. It is still the training grounds of several of the St. Louis rowing clubs. When I told one of the local fisherman that the 1904 Olympic rowing events had been contested here, his comment was that of incredulity, "This place? It's just a mud hole." Perhaps. But for two days in 1904, it was a very famous mud hole.

All the races were over 1½ miles (2,414.02 metres). The fours and eights were held straightaway. The pairs, and both sculls rowed out 3/4 mile (1,207.01 metres), turned and then rowed back over the same course.