The first Olympic Games held in London, in 1908, was noted for partisanship and acrimony, starting at the opening ceremony. A stadium was decorated with flags of the participating nations, but the United States flag was missing. "The pat British explanation was that they could not find one," according to "Pursuit of Excellence, The Olympic Story." The U.S. delegation was well supplied with flags, however, and during a parade of athletes the Americans refused to dip their flag as they marched past King Edward VII, starting a U.S. tradition. American discus thrower Martin Sheridan said: "this flag dips to no earthly king."

-Source: "Pursuit of Excellence, The Olympic Story" by The Associated Press and Grolier

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