Between the start of the modern-day Olympics in 1896 and the year 1928, women had been permitted to participate in tennis, golf and swimming events. The 1928 Olympics were the first to include women's track and field - but only on a trial basis.
A few days after the Games concluded, delegates of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) met to decide whether or not the women's track program should continue. Members of the Federation Sportive Feminine Internationale (FSFI) also attended the meeting to push for women's expanded participation. The FSFI had organized the first Women's Olympic Games in Paris in 1922 after the IAAF had initially refused to allow female track events.
The usual arguments (sport was harmful to women's health, women were not included in the ancient games) were brought out once again at the IAAF meeting. Still, delegates voted 16-6 to continue the program, although not without some controversy. While the Canadian team had proven women's capability for competition beyond a doubt, their country's own representative, Dr. A.S. Lamb, voted against retaining their events.
1. On women in the early Olympic games, see Uriel Simri, Women at the Olympic Games (Netanya, Israel: Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport, 1979)
2. On the Dr. Lamb controversy, see Don Morrow, et al, A Concise History of Sport in Canada (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1989); Ron Hotchkiss, "The Matchless Six," The Beaver Oct.-Nov. 1993, 41-2; Alexandrine Gibb, "Canada at the Olympics," MacLean's Magazine 1 October 1928.