ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Sports and Recreation»
  • Olympics

History of the 1908 Olympic Games in London

Updated on May 11, 2013
THE KING OPENING THE OLYMPIC GAMES
THE KING OPENING THE OLYMPIC GAMES | Source

London was the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times. The first time the city played host to the games was in 1908.

The events opened on 27th April 1908 and lasted until 31 October 1908. 2,008 athletes (37 women, 1,971 men) took part in the 110 events which made up the games.

London Replaced Rome as Host for 1908 Olympics

Initially Rome was set to host the 1908 Olympic Games. However, on 7 April 1906, Mount Vesuvius erupted, causing great damage to the city of Naples. Obviously, dealing with the aftermath of a volcano blowing its top took priority over a sporting event. Italy couldn't possibly finance the event, so London stepped in.

Preparing London for the games in just two years was quite a challenge. The man who took on the task not unfamiliar with a challenge or two. The previous accomplishments of Lord Desborough, the chairman of British Olympic Association, included climbing the Matterhorn, rowing in the boat race for Oxford and swimming across the base of Niagara Falls.

Lord Desborogh arranged for a venue to be built. The White City stadium was built in ten months. The venue, which was designed to hold 68,000 people, had a swimming pool and cycle track as well as facilities for track and field athletics.

What is the Distance of a Marathon?

The standard length of a marathon was decided at the 1908 summer games in order to keep the royals happy.

The original distance for a marathon was 25 miles. This distance was changed to 26 miles so that the marathon could start at Windsor Castle. A little extra was added to that so that the finish line could be at the royal box in the London stadium.

This distance which runners had to run was finally fixed at 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km). This became a standard distance for future marathons.

Edward VII at the 1908 Olympics in London

The opening ceremony for the 1908 Olympic Games was attended by His Majesty The King Edward VII.

The 1908 Olympics was the first time that teams paraded around the stadium with flags before the games kicked off.

One big controversy came when the United States's flag bearer, Ralph Rose, refused to dip the flag to the royal family. "This flag dips to no earthly king," he said.

The games provided examples of great sportsmanship though. One example was when the middleweight Greco-Roman wrestling final between Frithiof Martensson and Mauritz Andersson was postponed by one day so that Martensson could recover from a minor injury. Martensson got better and ended up winning the event.

DORONDO PIETRI AT THE MARATHON FINOSH AT THE 1908 OLYMPIC GAMES IN LONDON
DORONDO PIETRI AT THE MARATHON FINOSH AT THE 1908 OLYMPIC GAMES IN LONDON | Source

Who Was Dorando Pietri?

Probably the most dramatic moment of the 1908 Olympic games came during the marathon when Italian runner Dorando Pietri collapsed four times from exhaustion.

Close to the finishing line, Pietri was helped by some officials, which later prompted rival runner Johnny Hayes from the USA to protest.

Pietri was disqualified in the end and Hayes got the medal, but Dorando didn't walk away empty handed. His refusal to give up was rewarded and he was given a trophy for his achievement.

Top Medal Winners

  • Henry Taylor, Great Britain, 3 Golds
  • Melvin Sheppard, USA, 3 Golds
  • Benjamin Jones, Great Britain, 2 Golds, 1 Silver
  • Martin Sheridan, USA, 2 Golds, 1 Bronze
  • Oscar Swahn, Sweden, 2 Golds, 1 Bronze

Who was Ray Ewry?

Another athlete who performed well at the 1908 games as well as some that came before was Ray Ewry. The American athlete won eight Olympic gold medals in 1900, 1904 and 1908. This makes him one of the most successful Olympians of all time.

Despite such success, Ewry is not widely known today, largely because the events he was successful in are no longer held: the standing high jump, the standing long jump and the standing triple jump.

The achievements, disputes, rows and incidents of the 1908 games are all detailed in a well-researched book written by Keith Baker.

The 1908 Olympics celebrates the first London Olympics and reveals what happened to the stars of the Games in later life. It is a fascinating insight into sporting and social history.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • tastiger04 profile image

      tastiger04 4 years ago

      This was a fun read, I do enjoy history of things as well as sports. It was fantastic to watch the Olympics in London last summer. Voted up and interesting!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)