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American gymnast George Eyser, who won three gold medals (parallel bars, horse vault and rope climbing), two silvers (pommel horse and all-around) and a bronze (high bar), astonished the world with his success - considering that he was competing with a wooden leg, as his left leg was amputated after he was run over by a train.
Albert Coray, a silver medalist in the marathon, won a medal for France even though the country did not officially compete at the Games. He actually was chosen to compete by the Chicago Athletic Association, with whom he won a second silver in the 4x1 mile relay event.
Feet in the water
The swimming contests were held in an artificial lake built for the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, held at the same time as the Games. Races started from a raft, and competitors sat with their feet in the water. On a regular basis, the presence of eight people on the landing stage resulted in leaking.
Though hundreds of thousands of visitors were attracted by agricultural machines or the museums concentrating on the Civil War, only 2,000 people turned up to watch the track and field events, normally the No. 1 attraction at the Games.