Stockholm 1912 Summer Olympic Games

The flawlessly organized Stockholm Olympic Games hold a special place in Slovenian sports history. Rudolf Cvetko was the first Slovenian athlete to take part in the Olympics and the first Slovenian to win an Olympic medal.


Time and Place: Stockholm (Sweden); 5 May – 27 July 1912
Other candidates: /
Participation: 28 countries, 2407 athletes
Number of sports: 14 sports, 102 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 1
Fire lit by: the Olympic fire was lit for the first time in Amsterdam in 1928. King Gustav V
Olympic oath: beginning in 1920


Trivia from the Stockholm 1912 Summer Olympic Games

Swedish organizers invested a lot of effort in the great event and set a high bar for all following organizers. Politics did try to interfere with Olympic events but despite certain disputes the sports aspect retained its prominence. The Olympic ideas spread out to all five continents for the first time and the first Slovenian Olympic participant Rudolf Cvetko won a silver medal in team fencing.

Technological development brought greater accuracy. Electronic timing in Sweden allowed results to be timed to a tenth of a second. Special attention was paid to close finishes in running events with the advent of photographic documenting. The solution was used to judge the 1500 m run in which the silver medalist was decided by a type of "photo finish".


Another interesting introduction was made by the Swedes to the shot put, javelin and discus throw competitions. Competitors were able to use their stronger arm in one throw while the other throw had to be made by both hands and the distances were added together.

Stockholm introduced several new events. For the first time, athletes competed in the modern pentathlon which included: cross-country running, fencing, equestrian, swimming and shooting. The initiator of the event was none other than Pierre de Coubertin.

The unluckiest participant of the Games was American Him Thorpe who was accused of violating the rules on amateurship. The decathlon champion supposedly once accepted payment for appearing in a baseball match. Penalty? Disqualification.


Slovenians and the 1912 Olympics


The Olympics held in the capital of Sweden were the first to bring together athletes from all five continents and they also hold a special place in the history of Slovenian sport. Slovenian Rudolf Cvetko, born in Senožeče in 1880, was a member of the then Austrian fencing team which won a silver medal.

The pioneer of Slovenian fencing became the first Slovenian Olympian and medal winner. Cvetko went on to coach the fencing section of the Ilirija club and along with Ilirija leaders E. Betteto, S. Lapajne and S. Bloudek greatly influenced the development of Slovenian sport. He died on 15 December 1977 in Ljubljana.