The YMCA Sponsored the Inter-Allied Games after World War I
Following World War I, many Allied Soldiers remained in France while they were waiting to be sent home. Officials did not expect the war to end so abruptly and therefore had not fully prepared processes of getting men home. In an effort to keep Soldiers busy and build further companionship, the Inter-Allied games were created. These games consisted of different sporting events that waiting troops could partake in. It was very similar to the Olympics we know and love today. Men from over 14 Nations took part in the events; sharing in comradery together after the war.
The Inter-Allied games may never have come to fruition without sponsorship and aid from the Young Men’s Christian Association. Not only did the YMCA put up $100,000 to fund the games, but they also helped buy sporting equipment for troops during wartime.
In February 1919, construction of Pershing Stadium began. It was decided that the sports stadium would be named for John Pershing — a renowned U.S. Army general and AEF commander. French soldiers and American troops worked together relentlessly to complete the stadium within three months.
Masses of people came to the stadium to witness the Allied games. American sports like basketball and baseball were played, allowing them to be shared with other parts of the world. Winners received certificates and medals in different colored cases depending on the awards they won. The games revealed extreme athleticism in many men — some of whom went on to compete in actual Olympic games, like Norman Ross and Charley Paddock.