Saturday, July 28, 2012

London Olympics

I love the Olympics! Having no athletic abilities myself, I respect and enjoy watching individuals who are driven and passionate about sports. And I love the celebration of world athletes. “Go World,” as one of my friends said.

My favorite sport to watch is actually rowing. I discovered it during the Olympics in Athens. I actually channel those rowers when I’m at the gym on the rowing machine. But I digress.

London is currently hosing its third Olympic games, the only city to have hosted this many times in history. The last time they hosted was in 1948, right after the conclusion of WWII. We are going to be hearing a lot about the 2012 London Olympics in the coming days, so I thought I would focus on those 1948 Olympics for this post.

London was originally selected as the host city for the 1944 Olympics, however the games were cancelled due to WWII. After the war, London was awarded the 1948 games, and while the country almost handed the games to the United States, decided they would use the game to restore the country.

This Olympics came to be known as the Austerity Games for many reasons. Food was still rationed from the war, and the athletes received the same rations the miners received. No new structures were built for these games; Wembley Stadium was not damaged during the war, and it was the main stadium for the games. There was also no Olympic Village, and the athletes stayed in canvas tents and structures used to house the prisoners of war.

Remarkably, 59 nations were represented with 4,104 athletes. Neither Germany nor Japan was invited to participate because of their role as aggressors in the war, and while the USSR was invited, it chose not to participate. United States won the most metals, with the United Kingdom winning the second most.

Sports at this Olympics included: basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

I am so excited for the Olympic games this year. Each games I discover a new sport I didn’t know of before. This year, archery and badminton have caught my attention. Happy Olympics, and as always Happy History!

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