Gymnasts in 1948

The British women’s gymnastics team at the 1948 London Olympics. This is a few decades before the Soviet and Romanian gymnasts popularised young girls competing at Olympic level (a change that is being reversed again now, helped along by raised age requirements).

Members of the British team at Earl's Court during the gymnastics events at the 1948 London games.

On this day: the opening of the 1948 London Olympics

The XIV Olympic Games opens in London, 29th July 1948. 772px-The_XIV_Olympic_Games_opens_in_London,_1948

After twelve years and the interruption of the Second World War, the Olympic Games were restored when they were opened in London on the 29th of July, 1948. Some 85 000 people packed Wembley Stadium on a brilliantly sunny day, and a speech was made*:

Your Majesty: The hour has struck. A visionary dream has today become a glorious reality. At the end of the worldwide struggle in 1945, many institutions and associations were found to have withered and only the strongest had survived. How, many wondered, had the great Olympic Movement prospered?

Central Office of Information's copy of the official poster advertising the 1948 London Olympics.

While fifty-nine countries sent competitors, Germany and Japan were not allowed to participate, and German forced labour was used to construct some of the facilities.

The Soviet Union chose not to send any representatives.