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1948 London Olympics

The 2012 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, begin in London, England on July 27  and run to August 12, 2012.  British citizens have been in full swing  preparing for the thousands of visitors, from participates to the spectators, from across the globe at the Olympics in London.

For many people of Great Britain they still hold fond memories of the 1948 Summer Olympics, which were officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad. True, many of those who witnessed the games from July 29 to August 14, 1948 were young people and now they are the senior members of society since it has been 64 years since the last Olympics were held in London.

It was King George VI, the father of the U. K.’s present Queen Elizabeth II, who declared the Games officially opened in 1948. It was then that some 2,500 pigeons were set off into the clear blue sky and the Olympic Flag was raised to 35 feet on the Wembley Stadium’s flagpole with some 85,000 people in attendance. Everyone was so proud of having come back from the suffering and hardships of years of war during the Second World War to be able to host the Olympics. Not just the thousands of people in attendance, but there was the broadcast of the Games on the BBC television, offering the astonishing events to more people.

If you check you will surely have a family friend or a relative who was either at the London 1948 Games or watched the television broadcast or heard it on the radio.  Those who recall London in 1948 first hand and have lived there for decades have wondered since announcement of the 2012 Olympic Games in England what impact it will have on the nation. I interviewed Ken Rydings, a native of Essex County, England who attended the 1948 Games.  He stated; “I recall London’s last Olympics in 1948, we were only just emerging from the most devastating war the world had ever experienced. London had been blitzed almost to extinction, we were a bankrupt Nation, rationing was still in force, and yet with very little time for planning the Games went ahead. There was no razzmatazz opening ceremony, a few Boy Scouts carrying National flags, unlike the choreographed pyrotechnical displays of the modern era, where each country strives to outperform the previous holders.”

Those who knew first hand that special 1948 London Olympics should be asked their recollections so those remembrances can be saved in written or recorded form.  I asked Rydings as a young man of 17-years-old in 1948 his fondest memory of the Games. He expressed his fondest memory was that of the athlete, Fanny Blankers-Koen who was nicknamed the ‘Dutch Mum’. As Ken stated Fanny was a mother of two, “who had experienced the horrors of living under the Nazi occupation of her homeland, who comes to London and shows the spirit and determination to pocket four gold medals, the stuff of which dreams and legends are formed!! No wonder we loved her and have never forgotten her achievements.”

Who can you locate that remembers the 1948 Games?  Have them tell their own version before those stories are lost forever.

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