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how far we have come since 1948 - and the joy of sport remains,
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This review is from: The Austerity Olympics: When the Games Came to London in 1948 (Paperback)
This is a fascinating account of the Olympic games held in London in 1948. Each of the events is covered, focusing on the personal stories of the competitors. The tales of those who did not win medals are often at least as interesting as those who triumphed. This is as much a work of social history as it an account of sport, and is clear reminder of how far we have come from 1948 until now. Many of the British competitors, all amateurs of course, still subject to strict rationing, had not eaten steak for nearly 10 years, and many of the younger ones had never seen an orange.
The competitors had to provide their own shorts and equipment was in short supply - the French football team did not have a football to train with and a British high jumper used to train by jumping washing lines.
Social class, racism and sexism still pervaded many aspects of society, and of course the games reflected that to some extent.
Women could not compete in races of over 200m, as it was deemed too dangerous. The equestrian competitors all had to be commissioned officers ( one competitors was stripped of his medal when it was discovered he was a sergeant) , and the South African olympic team was all white. However, as the author makes clear, this was the world in 1948 - only 3 years after the end the world war when much of the world was still reeling from its effects. The joy of sport, the friendships, rivalries and human kindness which developed, and the sense of optimism that Britain could still put on a show shine through this charming , informative and highly readable book.
Highly recommended - for readers with, or without, a passion for sport.