Check Out London's First Ever Olympic Games, Over 100 Years Ago

london 1908


As the Olympics kick off today, many Americans may not realise that this is not London’s first time hosting the event.One hundred and four years ago this summer, London hosted the fourth-ever Olympics of the modern era. We dug up some old images showing what the games looked like before the advent of multinational sponsorships and billion-dollar TV contracts.

The games almost didn’t happen — they were originally awarded to Rome, but were reallocated to London when Italian authorities realised, in 1906, that the country would not recover in time from the recent eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Lady archers gearing up for their event.

The USA tug-of-war team. The event was discontinued in 1920.

Another long-lost event: bicycle polo.

Danish women's gymnastics team practices.

The five-mile race, won by Britain's Emile Voigt.

American Harry Porter taking part in the high jump.

British boxing champion Richard Gunn.

Another Danish lady gymnast practicing at the White City stadium.

Queen Alexandra, King Edward's consort, awarding a trophy.

Italy's Dorando Pietri finishing the marathon.

Parading through the Great Stadium, built specially for the Olympics.

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