Nine days to go for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games before I get onto that I should deal with a much more mundane drama on the home front.
Around 6.30 last evening the NHS lounger chair decided to give up the ghost and stop working. Fortunately, it was up bright-in fact do the right to die was virtually being jilted out of it, we rang the emergency number from which we are told there is a 24 of the seven callout service and indeed it a computer message telling us that the number has changed but it did not give us the number which he has been changed in effect no we must stuck to tomorrow
Back to the 1948 Olympics, which were put on for a song and a prayer service in answer to the end of the Great World War One The inevitable scandal over black-market tickets for events thousands of people balloted for unsuccessfully now we hear suspicions that some of the additional Olympic representatives were allocated large blocks of tickets and were trying to sell them on the black market. However that is much more to do with the present Olympics than those of 1948.
The following is a direct quotation from the report by Ben McIntyre in this special edition of The Times , July 17, 1948.
The photographs evoked, an earlier simpler sporting world: unglamorous, and unsophisticated, threadbare and yet, in its positive, chin up and make do spirit, profoundly moving. The athletes had knobbly knees and bad teeth. They ran in home-made shorts on a converted dog racing track lined with cinders collected from the domestic hearths of Leicester. They bought their own towels, ate cheese sandwiches and slept in huts; they competed ferociously to win medals, and to celebrate peace. The London Olympics of 1948, staged just three years after the end of the Second World War was and avowedly political event.
This was the DIY Olympics, scraped together from whatever could be found, adapted or borrowed. At Richmond Park, 2000 athletes slept on iron bedsteads in wooden army huts. Many competitors sewed their own kit. Basketballs and boxing gloves were sold off afterwards to recoup some of the cost. Milk, egg and cheese were still rationed, although the Olympians were permitted twice the normal calorific ration.
The first chill of Cold War was in the air, but the focus was firmly on the healing the wounds of the last war. On entering Wembley, spectators were greeted with the words:” The essential thing in life is not conquering cycling but fighting well will end of products. The message was clear: had the Allies not fought well, there would have been no Olympics. SThe long distance runner Emil Zatopek caught the emotive significance of these cheap, cheerful history-changing Games. “After all those dark days-the bombing, the killing, the starvation-the revival of the Olympics was as if the sun had, come out
“The very frugality of the. “Austerity Olympics.” was a repudiation of the Hitler’s Olympic propaganda extravaganza him 1936. Britain had put together an Olympics with what was left after Hitler had done his worst. Assembled from shred and patches in a spirit of optimism and friendly intentional rivalry, the 1948’s Olympics mended soul of sport.
There are some wonderful contemporary photographs in this special edition. As they say ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’. The fascinating thing is that ‘my lovely’s’ uncle, (who was to become General’ Johnny’ Sheffield actually completed in these games and got to the final of the 400 metres Hurdles, in the presence of that monster, Adolf Hitler’s. Sadly, Johnny caught tuberculosis after these games and was ordre de combat, for a few years my leaves for this team and disease over which his time and despite walking with an extremely weak left leg still rose through the ranks until he became a general. The single-mindedness of fighting on, instead of adopting the alternative of hiding himself away, was a perfect demonstration of the Olympic message, not conquering but fighting well
It is a sporting day -.the 4th.ODI cricket against South Africa and the first day of the British Open international golf.
As the outcome of competing in the Olympics; and playing cricket and golf, is to win and in winning the player feel momentarily as if he was in heaven. This thought prompted me to include the following little tale. Click here to see how you would answer the question, which part of you would you like to enter heaven. first?.