I don’t suppose there are many people still around who attended the 1948 Olympics held in London.
With the 1908 Olympics also held in London, this year’s event makes the capital the only city to have held the Games three times.
Although he never saw much of the Games, Ron Norman of Lee-on-the-Solent was chosen to be a flag holder at the closing ceremony on August 14, 1948.
Aged 18 at the time, Ron lived in Ealing, Middlesex, and Scouts from that area were chosen to carry the national flags and banners for the ceremony.
Ron carried the Polish flag. He says: ‘There was no hype like there is today. I rode to the ceremony on my cycle, parked up, did my bit and made my way home.
‘Of course there was no television and commentary was on the radio. At the cinema, Pathe News showed quite a lot of footage but I have never seen myself.’
In his working life, Ron was a linotype operator for the Financial Times and retired to Lee some 24 years ago. He’s since become an avid reader of The News.
In the 1948 Olympics, Great Britain finished 12th with 23 medals – three gold, 14 silver and six bronze. It was known as the austerity games owing to the economic climate and rationing just three years after the end of the war.
Germany and Japan were not invited as they were the original aggressors and Russia, although invited, decided in a fit of pique not to send anyone.
I don’t know what any of the competitors of the 59 competing nations would have thought of today’s athletes with all their posh accommodation, but they had to put up with whatever was available.
No new venues were built for the occasion. I wonder how many know that our own Fratton Park was a venue for the preliminary rounds of the football?
The overall winner of the ’48 Games was the United States with 84 medals.