How Many Times Has Sweden Won The World Cup The Swedish Olympic Games Revivals of 1834, 1836 and 1843

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The Swedish Olympic Games Revivals of 1834, 1836 and 1843

Pierre de Coubertin was by no means the first person to revive the ancient Olympic Games. The idea was born much earlier in the Renaissance period, with its great interest in the classical world. So the first Cotswold ‘Olympic Games’ were held annually in England from the early 17th century, apart from Cromwellian times, and there were many similar events in other countries long before the first of the modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

An Olympic Association formed in the south of Sweden organized its Games in a racecourse in Ramlösa (Helsingborg) in 1834, with four series of events which included jumping over a horse and climbing a mast, as well as running various distances. They were all held on the same sunny summer day in July.

The first event was a type of gymnastics competition, where there were seven competitors. It was won by a student from the old Lund university. He was awarded not a laurel wreath, but a gold ring. This was followed by a race where a blacksmith’s apprentice finished ahead of nineteen other runners, being rewarded in the same way, while a silver jug ​​was given to the winner of the wrestling tournament, where seven men took part.

The competitors in the final event had to climb a slippery pole some 10m (33ft) high, with a silver cup going to the first person to bring it down from its perch at the top. As this favors the first to try, a lot was drawn to decide the order. However, the hearts of the crowd did not go to the winner, but to a young lad who later shone on the soap pole in great style, and they made a collection for him.

The prime mover behind the Helsingborg Games was Gustaf Johan Scharteau, master of gymnastics and fencing at Lund University. Originally he intended to hold the Games every year, but waited until 1836 before trying again. The events were the same, with the addition of a writing competition where those who took part had to compare the old Olympic Games with medieval tournaments and the utility of reviving combat sports.

Scharteau later turned to Stockholm, where similar Olympic events were organized for 1843 in the large open area known as Gärdet. Unfortunately, they were a dismal failure, not for lack of public support, but quite the opposite. They were too popular! Many more people came than the officers expected or could handle. Tickets had been sold, but there were thousands of gates and all ended in chaos. Furthermore, the winner of the slippery mast climbing event had only just received his prize when it was snatched away from him by one of the spectators, whereupon a new event was added to the schedule, a big chase after the culprit, which turned out to be to be a 14 year old boy.

Scharteau did not attempt to hold its Olympic Games again and sixty-nine years were to pass before Stockholm was once again the host city of the Olympic Games. This time, however, they were on a much grander scale and enjoyed much more success.

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