JULY 25 LONDON IS THE ONLY CITY TO HOST OLYMPICS THREE TIMES
We are sooooo excited here at the DUNER BLOG. The Olympics start on Friday! We simply love the OPENING CEREMONIES. We all gather around the Big Screen TV and watch the "Parade of Nations." It's when the athletes from each country march into the stadium. The order is very important. Since the ancient Olympic games started there, Greece always gets to go first. Then, the other nations proceed in alphabetical order. Finally, tradition states that the host nation...Great Britain, this year...parades last. It's always fun to watch and critique the "national costumes," which often include silly things like Bowler hats or pink bandannas. But most of all, we just love to see the whole world come together as one...just like in a Pepsi commercial.
It's a fact: LONDON is the only city in the world to ever host the Olympics three times. You might be saying...No fair! That's British favoritism! However, once you hear the stories of the first two Olympiads, you might change your mind...
The fourth Olympiad was supposed to be in Rome, not London. However, Mount Vesuvius suddenly erupted. It was hastily decided the games would be moved. Since London's bid came in second place, they got the nod. (The move wasn't because of Rome's air quality...the Italian polizia were needed to shovel ash in Naples!). Anyhow, here are some of the notable events from the 1908 Games:
|Women's sporting attire looked different in 1908!|
First Parade of Nations. King Edward thought it would be nice to have all participating nations march around the newly built stadium behind each of their flags. There were twenty-two nations at the time. This means it took a lot less time than the five hours it will take the 204 countries scheduled to march on Friday.
Flag Dipping Controversy. Even though these games were 104 years ago, one thing remains constant...there will always be misplaced political squabbles in the Olympics. Back then, it was Finland. Having been recently annexed, the Finns grudgingly marched with the Russian Empire's team. Likewise for unhappy Arab athletes behind the Turkish flag bearers. But things got chippy when the US captain refused lower the Stars & Stripes to King Edward. "This flag dips to no earthly king!" he quipped.
Marathon Distance Changed. The Royal family thought it would be nifty if the marathon began at Windsor Castle (specifically...below the windows of the Royal Nursery) and ended at the stadium. The only problem was this distance was twenty-six miles...not the accepted twenty-five. To accommodate the king, the number was changed. The official marathon distance has remained at 26.2 miles ever since.
Just like the 1908 Games, London was not the first choice to host the 1948 games. See, the previous two Olympiad had been cancelled due to World War Two. Prior to the war, the International Olympic Committee had given the 1944 Games to London...but the city was still in shambles after the German air-raids. The 1948 Games were all ready to go to BALTIMORE...when King George announced that the games were staying RIGHT HERE!
The Austerity Games. The London Sun coined this term to describe frugal mood of this Olympiad. Nothing new was constructed...Wembley Stadium wasn't even given a fresh coat of paint. Food rationing took place in the dormitories. Athletes scalped their tickets to make an extra buck! (Wait a second...they still do that today!) Perhaps the mood of the XIV Olympiad was best summed up by the New York Post: "These games are Spartan as well as Greek!"
No Germany or Japan. Back in ancient Greece, an Olympic Truce was held throughout the Aegean region so that all could travel safely to Olympia to participate. During the games, all political differences were temporarily put aside for the sake of the sports. Unfortunately, modern humans simply cannot do this. We continue to ruin the proud spirit of the Games with other matters. This was true in 1948. Germany and Japan's applications were denied due to their "roles as aggressors."
It's Filmed In Color! Eight years prior, Hollywood had released "The Wizard of Oz" in beautiful Technicolor. Excited about furthering the use of this wonderful technology, it was announced the London Olympic games would be captured using a new "Bi-pack Technichrome Technique." Talk about fancy!
This time around, Londoners won't have to worry about any volcano erupting or any World War still smoldering. Nope, this time everything has gone just as planned. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy the satellite feed! Go USA!