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The First London Olympics: 1908

William Hill Sports Book of the Year, 2008

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780748131389

Price: £10

ON SALE: 25th August 2011

Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure

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In the summer that saw the first successful flight of the Zeppelin, a 140 acre site of scrubland in West London was transformed into the White City, which housed the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition – and a state-of-the-art stadium built to house the first London Olympics. The Olympics were organised by volunteers in just 18 months and at a fraction of the cost of the modern Olympics and yet, just as today, the sport was overshadowed by doping scandals and caused international uproar.

The ferocious competitiveness of a US team dominated by New York Irish Americans led to a succession of ‘scandals’ culminating in the historic marathon when Italian confectioner baker Dorando Pietri’s heroic efforts at the limits of exhaustion so entranced on-lookers that track officials helped him across the finish line.

Coinciding with the 100th Anniversary of the first London Olympics, this delightful social and sporting history – illustrated with over 70 contemporary images – provides a thought-provoking contrast to the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games.