Olympics 1908

Date start:
27 Apr 1908
Date end:
31 Oct 1908
Olympics 1908

The 1908 Olympic Games were originally awarded to Rome. Italian authorities were preparing for the games when Mount Vesuvius erupted in April 1906. The eruption devastated Naples, and Italy's Olympic funds were redirected to help with the city's reconstruction. London was selected to host the games.

Although given just two year's notice, London successfully completed the necessary infrastructure. The main venue for the 1908 Olympics was the White City Stadium, 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. Other Olympic events took place at venues throughout London.

The Olympics ran from 27 April to 31 October and involved 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.

Diving and field hockey first appeared at the 1908 Olympics. Less successfully, powerboat racing and tug-of-war were held for the first and last times. This was also the first Olympics to include winter events. However, the four on-ice figure skating events were held months after most of the other events had taken place.

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