How the 1908 London Olympiad


capital of games in 1908 could easily have been Rome. The obstacle was the economic hardship and natural disasters in Italy in 1906, which required additional costs.

In 1908, 23 countries participated in the Olympics. The teams were 22 as Australia and New Zealand sent athletes together. For the first time in the history of the Olympics, more than 2000 athletes participated in it, including several dozen women.

Most of the participants were from Europe, but there were also athletes of the USA, Argentina and, as mentioned above, Australia and New Zealand. A separate team fielded from South Africa, although it was still part of the British Empire at the time. Of Asia, only Turkey was represented.

For the first time, an unofficial team standings by country were announced at these games. First place went to the hostess of competitions – Great Britain. She was followed by the U.S. and Swedish teams by a significant margin.

The Russian Empire also sent its athletes to the games. The delegation from the country was small – only 6 athletes in 3 sports. However, these competitions became successful for the country – the first Olympic gold medal was received. It was won by skater Nikolai Panin, proving Russia’s strong position in winter sports. It should be remembered that in 1908 there was not yet a division of the Olympiads into summer and winter. The

performance of the Russian wrestlers was successful as well – two of them received silver in the weight categories.

Overall, the games in London turned out to be much better organised than the competitions of previous years in Paris and St. Louis. Attention to the games from the royal family played its part – they were opened by King Edward VII and the heir to the throne, the future George V, helped the International Olympic Committee find funding for end of construction of sports facilities.

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