London's Olympic Follies
The Madness and Mayhem of the 1908 London Games
Date of publication: May 2012
Publisher: Biteback Publishing
The London Olympics of 1908, was intended to reveal Britain and its empire at its zenith. Before the games had ended, almost everything that could go wrong had, the organisers were universally condemned and it had caused a number of international incidents. When squabbling between Rome and Milan as to who should host the Games became too much, they were moved, at the last minute, to London.
Two influential, well-meaning but incredibly inefficient English aristocrats picked up the baton and declared that London would show the world how to mount a major international athletics event. The games opened in the pouring rain, which was to continue for the whole two weeks. One country insisted that another country march under it's banner, yet another country complained that it was under the banner of Britain when it shouldn't be, and another refused to dip its banner to King Edward causing uproar.
Decisions on competitions were questioned, contestants were accused of being professionals, a rival dropped the 'shot' of the shot-put on the foot of a competitor and one contestant ended up running a race alone. Amongst the chaos there were some class performances but these were by overshadowed by disputes, back-biting, disqualifications and more, even after it finished two weeks later. Olympic Follies is a superb, entertaining tale of one of the most fascinating, unusual and often hilarious Games ever held - a must for anyone looking forward to the London Olympics of 2012.