Teddy Roosevelt secured the first Olympics in the U.S., which took place in St. Louis in 1904. The President was an athlete himself and considered sports and physical fitness an essential component of “manliness.” Afraid America would turn into a nation of wimps, he thought an Olympics on American soil would inspire the nation’s young men and portray an image of virility to other nations — especially rising leaders like Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, according to Bill Watterson’s The Games Presidents Play, a book about sports and the U.S. presidency. But after all of that talk, Roosevelt actually didn’t attend the Olympics, sending his daughter Alice in his place. The games were a dud; only 20 foreign athletes showed up.
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