Host City: St. Louis, United States
Venue(s): Life Saving Exhibition Lake, Forest Park, St. Louis
Date Started: September 5, 1904
Date Finished: September 6, 1904
Water polo was contested at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair on 5-6 September at the man-made Life Saving Exhibition Lake. There is only marginal justification for considering this an Olympic event.
Three teams competed in the 1904 water polo event: New York Athletic Club, Chicago Athletic Association, and Missouri Athletic Club. The New York AC defeated Missouri 5-0 and Chicago 6-0. A fourth team tried to enter representing Germany. However, the Germans were not allowed to compete because their athletes did not represent a single club. This discrimination should probably eliminate water polo as an Olympic event in 1904, but it is still recognized by the IOC.
A sad footnote did occur after the water polo event. The artificial lake created in the middle of the World's Fair for the life-saving exhibition was also used for some of the agricultural exhibits, and many of the cattle at the agricultural exhibits grazed in, and wandered into the lake. Although the swimming and water polo events were held at the other end of the lake from the cattle, before the middle of 1905, less than one year after the water polo events in the lake, four of the water poloists died from typhus.