19 Nov: London’s First Olympics

After Mount Vesuvius erupted – and original hosts Rome pulled out – the British Olympic council sent a letter, dated 19th November, 1906, agreeing to host the fourth modern Olympic games.

With just two years to go, the event was put together hastily, and on a paltry budget; a stadium erected at the White City home of the Franco-British exhibition, and the chosen events ones that British athletes excelled at, including polo, lacrosse, tug of war, deer-shooting, and duelling.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal what a ‘flip-flap’ was; consider the calculation done to establish the length of the modern-day marathon; and establish how a small swig of champagne contributed to one of the Games’ greatest ever controversies…

Further Reading:

• ‘The 1908 London Olympics – extracts from surviving footage of Track & Field and Marathon events’ (BFI, 2012): 

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