The countdown has begun! After hosting the Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948, London is all set to blaze the stadium for the third time! History reveals that London has always been a favorite nation for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host Olympic Games. London has strong historic roots in the Olympic Movements. Whether it was in 1908 or 1948, each time London has played an excellent Olympic host. Through its innovations and efficient deployment of technical and human resources, London stood by difficult times such as during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 in Rome and also during World War II. Again, London is committed to display its best at various sports events to be held in 2012, which are scheduled between 27 July to 12 August 2012. With this, London will become the first city to host modern Olympic Games three times!
London Olympics 1908
London Olympics 1908 were officially the Games of the IV Olympiad. Initially, Rome was supposed to host the Olympics Games 1908. However, due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906, Rome couldn't showcase the Games. It was then that London was selected by International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the host venue. The London 1908 Games was officially opened on 27 April 1908 by HRH King Edward VII and the event was spread over a period of three months. Majority of games hosted in 1908 are still very much part of Olympics (except for the games like motor boating or tug-of-war) and will be featured at London Olympics 2012. In 1908 Olympics, for first time standard rules for sports were established, and judges were selected from various other nations rather than just the host nation.
Number Of Participating Countries 22
Number Of Athletes 2,008 - 1,971 men, 37 women
Events Held 110 in 22 sports
Date Of Opening Ceremony April 27, 1908
Date Of Closing Ceremony October 31, 1908
Officially Inaugurated By King Edward VII
Venue For The Games White City Stadium
Venue at London Olympics 1908
The Olympic Stadium, "White City", was constructed urgently, especially for the Olympic Games. Surprisingly, it took less than a year to build "White City", which is considered to be a technological miracle even in today's times. It had a capacity of 68,000 spectators and comprised of a running track that was enclosed by a cycle track. The stadium track was three laps to the mile (unlike the current standard measurement of 400 meters), with a swimming and diving pool and platforms for wrestling and gymnastics were built in the center.
The Games came to a close on 31 October 1908 with the host city topping the medal list with a total of 145 medals in its kitty. The United States were the first runner-up with 47 medals, while Sweden came third owning 25 medals. Despite such a short duration, the London Olympic Games 1908 were widely announced a success and established the foundations of London Olympics Heritage!
London Olympics 1948
London Olympics 1948 were officially the Games of the XIV Olympiad. After World War II, the entire world was going through economic crisis. Once again, London took the onus to host the first Olympic Games after World War II. Despite shortage of time and scanty resources, the city hosted dynamic games in this Olympiad. The Olympic Games were also featured on home television for the first time! A volunteer programme was established to help athletes as well as the organizers during the Games. The Empire Pool became the first covered Olympic pool in history!
Number Of Participating Countries 59
Number Of Athletes 4,104 - 3,714 men, 390 women
Events Held 136 in 17 sports
Date Of Opening Ceremony July 29, 1948
Date Of Closing Ceremony August 14, 1948
Officially Inaugurated By King George VI
Athlete's Oath Took By Donald Finlay
Olympic Torch Lit By John Mark
Venue For The Games Wembley Stadium
Venue at London Olympics 1948
Post World War II, due to economic constraints, no new venues were constructed. Wembley Stadium became the venue for hosting London Olympics 1948. The opening and closing ceremonies, and sports like athletics, equestrian (jumping), football finals, field hockey finals were showcased here. Boxing, diving, swimming, water polo were hosted at the "Empire Pool" which had a capacity of 8,000 spectators. And the "Palace of Engineering" was explored to host the sport of fencing.
Outstanding performers at the Olympics 1948 included a Dutch sprinter "Fanny Blankers-Koen", a 30-year old mother who won four gold medals in athletics. She was eventually given the title of "the Flying Housewife". At the end of the Games, the USA topped the medal list with 84 medals. Second came - Sweden with 44 medals, and finally France with 29 medals. The host nation owned 23 medals, out of which three of them were gold.
To conclude, over a century London has risen as a very promising nation to host Olympic Games, especially during the times of world crisis. We all are looking forward to experience its expertise during Olympic Games 2012. Long live London Olympics Heritage and continue to inspire other nations as well!
Eagerly waiting for the inaugural ceremony at London Olympics 2012? Why not? After all, London has a very rich and cultural Olympic heritage. Read this article and delve deep into it!