Olympics 1948

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The 1948 Olympic Games were the first to be held after the Berlin games of 1936. During the Second World War, the two scheduled games were cancelled (Tokyo 1940, and London 1944). After the war, the Olympic Committee decided to offer the Olympics to London for a second time.

The 1948 games, or XIV Olympiad, was a relatively Spartan one for participants and spectators. The main athletics events were held in Wembley Stadium, where a temporary running track had been laid. No Olympic village was built: the foreign athletes were accommodated in old wartime barracks and schools, the London-based British athletes lived at home. Food was still subject to ration restrictions.

Despite the frugal conditions, 4,099 contestants from 59 nations took part. The countries held responsible for the Second World War, Germany and Japan, were excluded from the games and the Soviet Union decided to abstain. The games began on 29 July 1948 with King George VI presiding over the opening ceremony in the presence of more than 80,000 spectators. Seven thousand doves were released, sending a message of culture and peace across the globe.

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