This culminated in a bizarre result whereby an English runner won the mens 400 metre gold medal by running around the track by himself.
(PRWEB UK) 26 July 2012
UK based online retailer FancyDressCostumes.co.uk has identified unusual events that impacted prior London Olympic Games.
Over the last couple of centuries London has not been shy from appearing in news headlines, and the 1908 and 1948 Olympics were no exception to this. From the very beginning the 1908 Games were effected by incidents that dramatically changed its outcome. Notably, the costume retailer points out that Rome was originally designated to host it, but the Italian government was forced to relinquish this responsibility after a huge eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906. With just two years before it was scheduled to begin, London stepped up to the task of hosting the world's greatest sporting event.
The actual operation of the 1908 Games was not short of controversies. At the opening ceremony the stadium flags of Sweden and the USA were forgotten, which resulted in the Swedish team boycotting the ceremony altogether. The US team chose a more dramatic form of protest in the form of their lead flag carrier refusing to dip his flag before King Edward VII, a gross insult for the era.
The 1908 Games were one of the first modern Olympics, so the strict rules that are in place now were not then. For example, the judges were British and there were no defined set of rules to govern with. This culminated in a bizarre result whereby an English runner won the mens 400 metre gold medal by running around the track by himself. All of the other runners were American. They refused to participate because a British judge voided the first race due to an American runner performing an illegal maneuver under British rules.
Another controversial race involving US athletes and British officials was the 26.2 mile marathon around London. The US team protested because the umpires at the event assisted Dorando Pietri to the finish line. The Italian runner had put on a blistering performance but ran the wrong way upon entering the stadium where the race ended and subsequently collapsed with extreme fatigue. For the last ten minutes of the race the umpires in the stadium repeatedly picked the exhausted man up and practically carried him to the finish line. The US team's protest was acknowledged and the gold medal was awarded to the second man to cross the finish line, Johnny Hayes.
Martin Delaney, a company Director said 'It is very interesting how London has changed since hosting its first Olympic Games. In 1908 it was a city at the centre of a vast imperial empire. Forty years later it was in a state of physical ruin but spiritual triumph, and today it is a city that is as international in nature as the event that it is hosting.'
The fancy dress retailer is looking forward to supporting Team GB throughout the upcoming weeks.