Clare Balding looks back at the time the Olympic Games came to London in 1948. Three years after the end of the Second World War, Britain was still gripped by austerity. Rationing was still in force, severe bomb damage was still much in evidence, and no new sports facilities could be built. Visiting athletes were put up in schools and RAF camps. Yet the Games were a resounding success and actually made a profit.
Clare Balding meets athletes who competed in 1948, including cyclist Tommy Godwin, who won two bronze medals, and Dorothy Manley, who won silver in the athletics. She also talks to Roger Bannister who saved the day for the British team in the opening ceremony. The program also includes fascinating voices from the archives.
Keeping with the momentum of a gripping Olympic summer, it was fascinating to listen to Clare Balding recount the last time London held the Olympics, just after WWII. Incorporating a soundtrack from the time and speaking with veterans of the 2nd London Games, this is a thoroughly entertaining and informative perspective on life after the war and in particular London's second Olympic event.
Bring your own towel.
Food in short supply.
Billeted in old schools and air bases.
Bomb damage all around.
Oh and a visit to Buckingham Palace to meet the King.
Welcome to the 1948 London Olympics.
Great archive interviews and speeches, and veteran Olympians wistfully recounting their experiences are all woven into a fascinating narrative held together by Clare Balding. And the Games made a profit.
Well worth a listen.