London 1948 Summer Olympic Games

The Olympic concept came to life again after twelve years at the Olympics in London, which was scheduled to host the Games in 1944. Since London, the Olympic have been held regularly every four years without exception.

Time and Place: London (Great Britain); 29 July – 14 August 1948
Other candidates: Baltimore, Lausanne, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia
Participation: 59 countries, 4104 athletes
Number of sports: 17 sports, 136 events

Number of Slovenian athletes: 12
Fire lit by: John Mark (track and field)
Games opened by: King George VI
Olympic oath: Donald Finlay (track and field)


Trivia from the London 1948 Summer Olympic Games

As in the Games following the First World War, athletes from aggressor countries from the War were not allowed to participate. In 1948, the International Olympic Committee banned Germans and the Japanese. The Olympic fire lit in Greece made its way around the world without visiting Germany. Runners did however visit the grave of Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Switzerland.

The opening ceremony was attended by 80,000 spectators along with the King. For the first time in history, people could watch the Olympics on television, although televisions were an exceptionally rare amenity in Britain at the time. Some displeasure was caused by the fact that athletes resided in army barracks and school institutions. 


The games received a breath of new life through new events while polo and field handball were dropped. There were many surprising winners, spectacular duels and interesting stories. A special surprise was the win of 17-year old American Bob Mathias in the decathlon. Beside his youth, the greatest surprise was the fact that he only took up the sport for months before the Olympics. An unique bridge between culture and music was built by French pianist Micheline Ostermeyer who won two gold medals in track and field events. The most successful national team at the London Games were the Americans with 38 gold medals ahead of Sweden (17) and France (11).


Slovenians and the 1948 Summer Olympics


At the first Olympics after the Second World War, Yugoslavia was represented by a team which included 12 Slovenian athletes, including 4 women. After the retirement of an exceptional generation of gymnasts, headed by the unforgettable Štukelj, there was a certain lull in the results, but Slovenians did achieve two fifth places in London, both in swimming. Tone Cerar came fifth in the 200 m breaststroke and Ciril Pelhan achieved the same with the 4 x 200 m Yugoslavian relay team.