London Olympics 1948

The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in London, United Kingdom. After a 12-year hiatus because of World War II, these were the first Summer Olympics since the 1936 Games in Berlin. The 1940 Games had been scheduled for Tokyo, and then for Helsinki; the 1944 Games had been provisionally planned for London. This was the second occasion that London had hosted the Olympic Games, having previously been the venue in 1908, forty years earlier. (The Olympics again returned to London in 2012, making it thus far the only city to host the games three times.) The 1948 games were the first of two summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Sigfrid Edström.

The event came to be known as the Austerity Games, because of the economic climate and rationing in the aftermath of World War II. No new venues were built for the games (with events taking place mainly in Wembley Stadium and the Empire Pool at Wembley Park), and athletes were housed in existing accommodation in the Wembley area instead of an Olympic Village, as were the 1936 Games and the subsequent 1952 Games. A record 59 nations were represented by 4,104 athletes, 3,714 men and 390 women, in 19 sport disciplines. Germany and Japan were not invited to the games; the Soviet Union was invited but chose not to send any athletes. The United States team won the most total medals, 84, and the most gold medals, 38. The host nation won 23 medals, three of them gold.

One of the star performers at the Games was Dutch sprinter Fanny Blankers-Koen. Dubbed “The Flying Housewife”, the 30-year-old mother of two won four gold medals in athletics. In the decathlon, American Bob Mathias became the youngest male ever to win an Olympic gold medal at the age of 17. The most individual medals were won by Veikko Huhtanen of Finland who took three golds, a silver and a bronze in men’s gymnastics.

Sri Lankan Participation at London Olympics