London does it again!
Its third Olympics & Paralympics Games make historyby Victoria Gill
London hosts the fourth ever Olympic Games, in the start of a lasting legacy. The world prepares for the fourth Olympiad – at a time before the face of the world changes. It’s the Belle Époque, the age of optimism, and Britain has a new king after the sombre Victorian years.
It almost never happened... How a volcano blew the Games to London
The fourth Olympics – which followed the Games in Athens, Paris and St Louis - were originally awarded to Rome, however in the advent of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906, Italy needed to switch its focus – and economy – towards domestic efforts, and so the host city was transferred, instead, to London, which had just two years to prepare.
Here today, gone tomorrow. Some unusual sports make an entrance
You won’t find jeu de paume, tug of war, motorboating, bicycle polo or lacrosse in today’s fixtures. After much debate, these sports were accepted, unlike motoring, motorcycling and aviation, which were eventually dropped. Golf was also seriously considered, before being cut. Similarly, it will most likely be the last and only Olympic Games where Great Britain collects 146 medals.
Marathon Man: the marathon didn’t just make headlines due to its length
Somewhere near Wormwood Scrubs, a diminutive Italian confectioner named Dorando Pietri, dressed in red knickerbockers and a white vest, suddenly takes the marathon’s lead. As he soars into the White City Stadium, he takes a wrong turn, trips, falls, stumbles another four times before British umpires and, rumouredly, Arthur Conan Doyle, help him up and over the finish line first. After much complaint, he is disqualified, but Queen Alexandra gives him a special gilded silver cup and Pietri becomes an international celebrity.
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