London 1908 Summer Olympic Games

[Translate to English:] Poletne olimpijske igre London 1908

According to the original plan, the 1908 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Rome, but due to poor organization the role of host was taken over by the British capital.


Time and Place: London (Great Britain); 27 April – 31 October 1908
Other candidates: Berlin, Milano and Rome
Participation: 22 countries, 2008 athletes
Number of sports: 22 sports, 110 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: /
Fire lit by: the Olympic fire was lit for the first time in Amsterdam in 1928. King Edward VII
Olympic oath: beginning in 1920


After Paris and Saint Louis, where the Games were part of the World Fair, the meeting of the world's best athletes in London was held independently. The British organizers stepped on the scene practically in the last moment. When it became clear that Rome did not take organization seriously enough, London was able to make all the necessary arrangements in a very short time. They also provided a unified sports facility: the stadium included a running and cycling track as well as a swimming pool with a diving tower.


The London Olympics were stretched out over a very long time. Some of the ball games took place in spring and figure skaters (as the first "winter" athletes at the Olympics) did not begin competing until October. Olympic events included motorboat races and a British specialty - polo.  All the medals in polo were won by teams from Great Britain.


Female representatives at the Games competed in figure skating, tennis and archery. The British women were the most successful. Generally speaking, Britons won most of the medals including 56 gold medals. Three of those were contributed by swimmer Henry Taylor (400 m and 1500 m freestyle and 4x200 m relay). A similar achievement was reached by American track and field athlete Melavin Sheppard.


Another notable hero of the Games was American Ray Ewry who finished his rich Olympic career of ten gold medals with a win in the high jump. The tragic hero but moral winner became marathon runner Dorando Pietri. The exhausted Italian collapsed several times in the last few meters of the marathon but always got up and continued through sheer iron willpower. When it became clear that he would not be able to continue, two local attendants jumped to his aid and escorted him over the finish line. He was stripped of his Olympic title due to "outside assistance" and the gold was awarded to American John Joseph Heyes.


Yet London was not perfect in all respects. The American team, for instance, accused the British judges of being unfair. The IOC stepped in and decided that in the future judges' teams would be made up of representatives of various countries.

Slovenians and the 1908 Olympics

The meeting of the best athletes from all over the world in the capital of Great Britain took place without any Slovenian athletes.