Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1948 London Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony
1944 London - Helsinki 1952

The Games of the XIV Olympiad
London, England

Opening Ceremony of the 1948 Olympics at Empire Stadium (Wembley Stadium) in London

Olympic Ceremony Records
italics indicate records at the time
  • First City to Win Election as Host City Three Times (1908, 1944 not held, 1948)
  • First Opening Ceremony Requiring Athletes to Not Give Olympic Salute (This was a salute with the hand held up and outstretched with palm down - identical to the Nazi salute - you will notice many old films on this site show the Olympic salute.  Because of the similarity, the salute was banned.)
  • Only Olympics Awarded Without a Vote (unanimously given host after the 1944 London Olympic games were cancelled)
  • Most Nations Participating (59) - Previous Berlin 1936 (49)
  • Most Athletes Participating (4,104) - Previous Berlin 1936 (3,963)

Olympic Torch Records
italics indicate records at the time
  • First Torch Carried by Ship
  • Longest Olympic Torch Relay - 3,160km (Previous Berlin 1936 3,075km)
  • Most Nations Traveled - 7 (tie - Berlin 1936)

Opening Ceremony
Empire Stadium - Wembley Stadium (85,000)
July 29, 1948

(substantial color video) It may take a while for the video to load depending on your internet connection.

Opening Ceremony Highlights
The Opening Ceremonies for the 1948 Olympics were modest and highly ceremonial.  No announcements were made within the stadium during the ceremony and very little artistic elements were utilized outside of an enormous choir.  It had been 12 years since the last Olympics in Berlin and the London organizers agreed to run a torch relay to generate excitement, hoping the Olympic Games wouldn't become a casualty of WWII.  This was a contentious debate since the Nazis originated the torch relay. Thankfully, the relay was very successful and the Olympics survived; unfortunately, the ceremony program was significantly simplified because of interest within the UK, budget, time constraints, and television broadcasting.  An artistic highlight was music by Roger Quilter, one of the greatest composers in music history, who composed the Olympic Hymn.  Here is the short summary of the ceremony:
Gold Medal from the 1948 London Olympics

1948 London Olympic Torch

Official Poster of the 1948 London Olympics

The 1948 Olympic Cauldron at Empire Stadium (Wembley Stadium)

1 comment:

  1. Non Nobis Domine was not composed as an Olympic hymn per se. However the Olympic massed choir was conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent who was a great advocate of the piece.


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