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1908 Olympics in photos

Mount Vesuvius erupts in 1906

The 1908 Games passed from Rome to London after the 1906 eruption of Vesuvius forced Italy to switch Olympic funds to rebuilding Naples

Lord Desborough was the British Olympic Association chairman and leader of the Great Britain team

Lord Desborough, the British Olympic Association chairman and leader of the Great Britain team, took on the job of organising the Games

The cost of building the Olympic Stadium was met by organisers of the Franco-Britannic Exhibition

A 66,000-capacity stadium was built at White City in west London for 44,000 next to the site of the 1908 Franco-Britannic Exhibition

Martin Sheridan, the American team captain, said: "This flag dips to no earthly king"

Early controversy came with the USA team refusing to dip the Stars and Stripes before King Edward VII at the opening ceremony

British track officials claimed the American had interfered with Wyndham Halswelle, seen here crossing the line

When their 400m winner JC Carpenter was disqualified, the USA sat out the re-run, leaving GB's Wyndham Halswelle to win unopposed

The City Toastmaster in action before a bumper crowd at the 1908 Olympics

Attendance levels at White City fluctuated wildly during the Games - no wonder, as they lasted from late April until the end of October

Reggie Walker wins the 100m

The 100m was won by South Africa's Reggie Walker (right), who only made it to London after a collection back in his home state of Natal

British police teams also won silver and bronze in the 1908 tug of war competition

Several sports at the 1908 Games no longer feature in the Olympics, including the tug of war, won by a City of London Police team

Powerboating made its one and only appearance as an Olympic discipline in 1908

Another now long-vanished Olympic sport was powerboating, with Britain taking two races in 1908 and France winning another

Ray Ewry clears the bar

Having dominated at two previous Olympics, American Ray Ewry won double gold in the standing high jump and standing long jump

The gold was won by Queenie Newall, aged 53 - still the oldest female Olympic champion

Britain was the only team represented in the women's archery event, thus guaranteeing a clean sweep of medals for the host nation

A javelin is weighed at the 1908 Olympic Games

Disputes over judging in 1908 prompted the establishment of standard rules and neutral officials in later Games

Heavy rain during the Games contributed to the pool being less than crystal clear

Swimming events were staged in an outdoor pool at the stadium which, thanks to poor weather, soon became a muddy health hazard

Ireland beat Germany 3-1 in the bicycle polo

Alongside the more conventional sports of polo and water polo, bicycle polo made an appearance as a demonstration event

The 26-mile race was extended by 385 yards to cater for its royal audience - and is still run over that distance

The most famous event of the 1908 Olympics was the marathon, which started at Windsor Castle at the request of the King

Dorando Pietri

The 1908 marathon has gone down in Olympic history thanks to the exploits and eventual misfortune of Italian runner Dorando Pietri

Dorando Pietri was barely able to stand as he broke the tape in White City

Staggering through total exhaustion, the plucky Pietri crossed the line first but was disqualified for receiving assistance from officials

John Hayes nears the marathon's finish in the White City Stadium

The Olympic marathon gold medal went instead to American John Hayes, but Pietri's heartbreak made headlines around the world

Queen Alexandra presents the trophy to Pietri at the White City Stadium

Widespread public sympathy for the little Italian led to him being presented with a specially commissioned trophy by Queen Alexandra

A large crowd enjoys the men's 100m final at White City

Despite several disputes and plenty of rain, the 1908 Olympics were viewed as a success and laid down a blueprint for subsequent Games

BBC Television Centre takes shape in the late 1950s with White City Stadium nearby

The White City Stadium survived into the 1980s, when it was finally demolished to make way for a new BBC building

The memorial to the 1908 Olympics at the BBC Media Centre

In 2005, a memorial listing the 1908 medals table was unveiled on the site of the stadium, which is now occupied by the BBC Media Centre




see also
Photos of 1908 memorabilia
26 Apr 08 |  Olympics


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