In 1908 the Olympics were held in England for the first time. The norms for what we like to regard as the “Olympic spirit” had not yet been established in the renewal of the ancient games. As it turned out, nationalist pride took over in those games and they were tainted by several controversial actions.
We will never know why, but the English did not display the United States or Swedish flags at the stadium prior to the games. The Swedes packed up to go home, but did finally compete. The U.S. team stayed, but in the opening ceremony ignored the custom of dipping the national flag to the head of state of the host country. The American carrying Old Glory made it clear that this was not an oversight.