July 29: London brings Olympics back in 1948

Teresa Mathew

On this day—July 29, 1948—the Summer Olympic Games opened in London after a 12-year hiatus due to World War II. It was London’s second time hosting the Olympics, having hosted previously in 1908. With its recent role as host of the 2012 Summer Olympics, London is also the only city to have hosted the Olympics on three occasions.

The 1948 Olympics came to be known as the Austerity Games because of the economic ramifications of the war. As a result, there was no Olympic Village, and no new venues were constructed for the games. While 59 nations and over 4,000 athletes were in attendance, there were noticeable absences. Due to their roles in WWII, Germany and Japan were not invited to attend and the USSR, though invited, chose not to attend.

The 1948 Olympics was also the first Olympic Games ever to be televised, and the opening ceremony and over 60 hours of coverage were broadcast live on BBC.