The Games of the IX Olympiad: Amsterdam, 1928
By the time the Amsterdam Olympics opened in 1928, the success and popularity of the Paris Games had left little doubt in anyone's mind that the Olympic movement had arrived to stay. The uncertainty of the early Olympiads that had led to rumors of the downfall of the movement was gone at last. Unfortunately, Pierre de Coubertin was gone as well. Now retired as president of the IOC, Coubertin was not well and remained home for the first time since 1904. He did send a message to the Opening Ceremonies, though, saying farewell to those gathered to celebrate the Games. Coubertin's prediction of his own demise was premature, however. He lived until 1937.
The Amsterdam Games featured several Olympic innovations, including the lighting of a torch at the Olympic stadium, and the inclusion of women in the track and field competition (they had previously competed in such "appropriate" sports as golf, tennis, and diving). Both Coubertin and Pope Pius XI opposed this change. The women who competed on the track were required to wear shorts that came within twelve centimeters (about four inches) of their knees. The marathon was considered too difficult for women, a misconception that would linger for several more decades. The longest race the women competed in was the 800 meters.
The marathon was started just after 3:00 P.M. on August 5, and featured sixty-eight runners from twenty-three nations. The American contingent included Clarence DeMar and Joie Ray, who had failed to medal in the