Stockholm 1912

The 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm were the fifth modern Games and a great success. Swedish organisers benefited from having the full four years to prepare and they learned a lot from previous mistakes. They ensured the Games were a stand-alone event and the schedule was shortened to two months. 

It was the first truly international Olympics, attended by athletes representing all five continents. There was a real sense of unity and harmony at the Games, with no significant protests or disruptions. A 22,000-seat stadium and a new swimming pool were built, and accommodation provided for visiting athletes.

The 1912 Games featured a number of innovations. The Swedish hosts introduced the use of unofficial electronic timing devices (capable of registering to the tenth of a second) for track and swimming events. Public address systems helped organise athletes and allowed the crowds to follow events. Chalk was used instead of cord to outline the lanes for races in the main stadium.  

Australia at these Games

Twenty men and two women competed for Australia in athletics, rowing and swimming in Stockholm as part of the Australasian team. New Zealand swimmer Malcolm Champion carried the flag in the Opening Ceremony.

Australian athletes won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the Games, with all being won in the pool. Sarah ‘Fanny’ Durack became the first female swimmer to win Olympic gold when she beat teammate Wilhelmina ‘Mina’ Wylie in the 100m freestyle. Durack set a new world record in each round of her event. Les Boardman, Harold Hardwick and Cecil Healy teamed with NZ’s Champion to win the 4x200m freestyle relay. Healy also won silver in the 100m freestyle, with Hardwick winning bronze medals in both the 400m and 1500m freestyle.