2012 London Olympic Games

In a little more than a week, London will become the first city to host the Summer Games for the third time. Previously London has hosted the games in 1908 and in 1948. London was scheduled to host the games in 1944, but the war caused the games to be cancelled.

In 1908 London stepped in to host the games after the city of Rome withdrew due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The Italians were ready to host the games, but funding was needed to repair the city of Naples which had been severely damaged by the volcano. White City Stadium was constructed in a short amount of time, and the venue seated 68,000. The stadium was set up with many sport venues set up in the middle, including a pool for the swimming and diving events, and areas for gymnastics and wrestling. The stadium was set up with 3 laps constituting a mile, instead of the current lap length set at 400 meters.

The marathon distance was set at these games, since the Olympic officials wanted the event to start at Windsor Castle. It moved from 25 miles to 26 and was adjusted a little further as Princess Mary wanted the start to be under the window of the Royal nursery. To ensure that the race would finish in front of the King, the finish line was moved, thus was given the set marathon distance of today at 26 miles 385 yards.

Twenty-two sports were contested at these games, coincidentally 22 Olympic Committees participated, including Finland, Turkey, and New Zealand. The United Kingdom participated as one organization which upset many under the Crown; Ireland felt they should have competed as Ireland. A concession was made and Ireland was able to participate as Ireland in several team sports.

Great Britain dominated the medal count winning 146 total medals 56g, 51s, 39b. The US was second with 47 medals 23g, 12s, 12b, with Sweden finishing third with 25 total medals 8g, 6s, 11b.

The 1948 Games are referred to as the ‘Games of Austerity’ since no new venues were constructed and there was not really an Olympic Village for the athletes, they used existing accommodations. A record 59 nations chose to participate in these games. Germany and Japan were not invited to attend, due to being the aggressors in World War II. These were the first Games since the 1936 Berlin Games.

Events were contested in 19 sport disciplines with the United States winning the Medal Count. More on that in a bit. This Olympics marked the advent of the Pictograms used to note the events. Although they would not be used again for 16 years, they have been used at every summer games since that hiatus.

This was also the first Games contested since the death of the modern games founder Pierre de Coubertin died in 1937. The Games opened in Wembley Stadium on the 29 July. 60 hours of the Games were televised on the BBC. The BBC paid £1000 for the broadcast rights.

These games marked the first political defection as Marie Provaznikova, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation refused to return to Czechoslovakia citing a lack of freedom.

The US finished with 84 total medals 38g, 27s, 19b, Sweden was second with 44 medals 16g, 11s, 17b, with France rounding out the top three with 29 medals 10g, 6s, 13b.

The 2012 Games start on 27 July. Hopefully the weather will be cooperative and these games will not be a soggy mess as one German magazine has predicted.

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3 responses to “2012 London Olympic Games

  1. I would say Japan would be the favourite to win the games. Spain just had them [well 1988 doesn’t seem that long ago} and I can’t see Turkey getting them…. I didn’t know that about the 1908 games and Rome..or if I did I forgot all about it… What is your favourite summer games that you have seen?

  2. not sure. japan had the winter games in Nagano in 1998, but i dont think that will play into the process. honestly if i were going to bet i would lay the mortgage on Istanbul.

    My favorite games was the 1980 moscow games. that was some impressive feats during that whole – oh wait um what is that – they did not show the 1980 games. well.

    On a serious note I would put the games that i have seen in this order:
    2000 Sydney – i liked the whole presentation of the games
    1992 Barcelona – will always be the dream team games though
    1996 Atlanta – it was nice to have games in real time but this is when it started becoming the american games not the olympic games
    1988 Seoul – good games, i still remember ben johnson winning the 100. they DQed him for steroids, but that was a cut dude. roy jones jr was ripped off in boxing.
    2004 Athens – good games only 8 years too late
    2008 Bejing – the phelps games. and in my opinion the chinese broke the rules.
    1984 LA – i discount these games because of the russian boycott same as i discount the 80 games. still remember ‘only you mary lou’ gymnastics in vogue as the first american woman wins the all around. overshadowed in this was julianne mcnamara who i think was the first american woman to medal on beam. it was uneven bars. gymnast lost to history.
    1976 Montreal – i just do not have enough memories on these to rate them properly.

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