Frederick LORZ

The marathon is not just any event. Sporting triumphs, acts of bravery and cases of cheating all featured in the early Olympic marathons.

St. Louis 1904 – Drawing depicting American Frederick LORZ, disqualified for accepting a lift in a car for part of the race.

Portrait de Frederick LORZ (USA) (1904) by Comité International Olympique (CIO)The Olympic Museum

St. Louis 1904

Frederick LORZ, born in New York in 1884, used to train for the race at night, because he had a day job as a bricklayer. He took part in the qualifying race for the St. Louis Olympic Games in 1904 : the top eight finishers of a five-mile race at Celtic Park were offered a place on the trip.

Saint-Louis 1904, le départ du marathon Hommes (1904) by Comité International Olympique (CIO)The Olympic Museum

An incredible race

A thrilling race unfolded as the Olympics coincided with the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
Most of the marathon participants had no experience in long-distance running,  and two men even arrived at the starting line barefoot ! Fred LORZ wore bib number 31.

La mauvaise blague de Frederick LORZ (1975) by Comité International Olympique (CIO)The Olympic Museum

Frederick LORZ's bad joke

After 15 kilometres, LORZ succumbed to cramps and hitched a ride in one of the accompanying cars, which brought him to within 10 kilometres of the finish line. The first to cross the finish line, his deceit was uncovered as President ROOSEVELT's daughter was about to award him the gold medal.

Londres 1908 - Des membres de la délégation américaine (USA) (1975) by Comité International Olympique (CIO)The Olympic Museum

LORZ returns to competition

Despite being banned for life, Frederick LORZ was soon granted permission to resume racing after offering a heartfelt apology. In 1905 he won the Boston Marathon, completing it in 2 hours, 38 minutes and 25 seconds. He travelled to the 1908 Olympics in London, but ultimately didn't start the marathon.

Credits: Story

For more information about the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, visit

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps