Thursday, 5 January 2012
As we enter the year of London 2012 we would like to present our hand picked 104th anniversary commemorative trivia collection from the first London Olympics, 1908.
The most famous incident of the games came at the end of the marathon. The first to enter the stadium, Dorando Pietri of Italy, collapsed several times and ran the wrong way. Not far from the finish, two officials took him by the arms and brought him to the line. As a consequence, after crossing the line he was disqualified and the medal went to American Johnny Hayes. The glory however went to Pietri and since he had not been responsible for his disqualification, Queen Alexandra next day awarded him a gilded silver cup.
Motorboating featured at London 1908, held a month late to better fit the diaries of the affluent participants. The Duke of Westminster ran aground in his boat Wolseley-Siddeley and Lord Howard's boat Daimler II developed engine trouble. The victory was therefore handed to the only other competitor, France's M Thubron in Camille and the sport was never included in the Olympics again.
For the first time the Olympic creed that "the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part" was uttered.
Oscar Swahn from Sweden, who won the gold medal for running deer shooting, became the oldest Olympic champion of all time.
Over one third of the budget of the organizing committee was labeled "entertainment expense".