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Treasure 70: Official Report of the Fourth Olympiad, London, 1908
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Treasure 70: Official Report of the Fourth Olympiad, London, 1908

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 70: Official Report of the Fourth Olympiad, London, 1908
Historic Documents
270
Treasure 70: Official Report of the Fourth Olympiad, London, 1908
To celebrate the 31st modern Olympic Games taking place in Rio 2016, we have chosen a treasure which sheds some light on how the games have evolved over time by looking at the official report of the 4th Olympiad, held in London in 1908.

Originally scheduled to take place in Rome, the Italian organisers declared themselves unable to host the competition, citing amongst other reasons, an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. As the runner-up in the award of the 1908 Games selection, it was proposed that they be held in London instead.

The London Olympics of 1908 was the first to feature a purpose-built stadium and set the standard for all future Games. Another Olympic first was the fact that the sports arena included a swimming tank, whereas previous swimming competitions had taken place in open water. It also fixed the official distance of the modern marathon at 26 miles and 385 yards - the additional yards being added to ensure the finish line was in front of the Royal Box.

The Summer Olympics of 1908 featured 2,008 athletes from 22 countries. By comparison, Rio de Janeiro will host over 10,000 male and female athletes from 207 nations, and feature 306 events in 28 Olympic sports.

The 1908 Games were hailed as a great success - particularly considering the short preparation time, and they founded several key features of modern Olympic Games.


View our touchscreens to find out more about the controversies of the 1908 Olympics, and some of the record-breaking medal winners.
TR10_22
Olympic Games
Aberdeen Local Studies
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