London 1908
1908 Olympiad official report

The IV Olympic Games were originally awarded to Rome, but were reassigned to London when it became apparent that Rome would not be ready. An eruption of Mount Vesuvius had caused major disruption and London was offered the Games instead. London's formal acceptance came in November of 1906, with a mere 18 months in which to prepare. Despite the short notice, the Games were exceptionally well organised. For the first time, a stadium was specially prepared for the Games, and swimming events did not take place in the open water.

The Games opened on 27th April 1908 and closed on 21st October 1908. The main venue for the 1908 Olympics was the White City Stadium, which had been built as part of the Franco-British Exhibition in west London. The stadium included running and cycling tracks, an open-air swimming pool and a pitch for football, hockey, rugby and lacrosse. The grandstands accommodated 93,000 spectators. The 1908 Olympics had 3,000 competitors from 21 teams. This was the first games to award gold, silver and bronze medals, and the first in which all entrants had to compete as members of national teams, rather than as individuals.

This 1924 film shows the 1908 Stadium


22 sports, representing 24 sporting disciplines, were contested. Swimming, diving, and water polo are considered three disciplines of the same sport, aquatics. At the time, tug-of-war was part of athletics and the two different football codes (association and rugby union) were listed together. The 1908 Games were also the first to include Winter events, as had originally been proposed for the Games. There were four figure skating events, although held months after other events.

The Official Report of the 4th Olympiad can be found on the web.

Useful links

You can find out more about the 1908 Games at these sites

The BBC London Olympics 1908 Gallery
London 1908
Winning Endeavours

Images of the 1908 London Olympics

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