The 1908 Summer Olympics were originally scheduled for Rome, but
after the 1906 eruption of Vesuvius (devastating the nearby city of Naples) the Italians
needed to divert the funds intended for the Olympics to the reconstruction of Naples.
The London Games (the first to include Winter events) were not without
controversy, however, as the teams paraded behind their national flags; on the opening
day, at the White City Stadium.
As the Grand Duchy of Finland was part of the Russian Empire at the
time, the Finnish team were expected to march under the Russian flag (instead of the
Finnish); but chose to march without a flag at all.
As the United States flag had not been displayed above the stadium
before the opening, the United States' flag bearer refused to dip the flag to the royal
The Swedish flag had also not been displayed above the stadium, so the
Swedish team decided not to take part in the ceremony at all.
And as Irish athletes were obliged to compete for the British team,
many of them withdrew.
A 100 metre pool was used for the first time (inside the athletics
As FIFA wasn't founded until May 1904, the 1908 Olympic Games are the
first football tournament they recognise.
Men's hockey was first introduced to the Olympic Games in 1908, and
returned again at Antwerp 1920.
Sweden's Oscar Swahn
was 60 years old when he won his gold medal in the running deer single-shot event. He also
won a gold in the team event and a bronze in the running deer, double shots.
Four figure skating events were contested at the Knightsbridge
Prince's Skating Club, on October 28th and 29th. It was the first time that a winter sport
was introduced in the Olympic Games; 16 years before the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix 1924. No event had more than seven
competitors though, and two of the events only had three entrants.
Aquatics, Archery, Athletics,
Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting,
Softball, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis,
Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling.