Games of the XIV Olympiad
The 1948 London Games were the first to be shown on home television, although very few people in Great Britain actually owned sets. A women’s canoeing event was held for the first time – and won by Karen Hoff of Denmark. 17-year-old American Bob Mathias won the decathlon only four months after taking up the sport. He is the youngest athlete in Olympic history to win a men’s athletics event. Two athletes who were Olympic champions in 1936 managed to defend their titles twelve years later. They were Ilona Elek of Hungary in women’s foil fencing and Jan Brzak of Czechoslovakia in the canoeing Canadian pairs 1,000m. Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands was the world record holder in six events, but, according to the rules of the day, was only allowed to enter four. She won all four: the 100m dash, the 80m hurdles, the 200m and the 4x100m relay. Concert pianist Micheline Ostermeyer of France won both the shot put and the discus throw. Karoly Takacs was a member of the Hungarian world champion pistol shooting team in 1938 when a grenade shattered his right hand – his pistol hand. Takacs taught himself to shoot with his left hand and ten years later he won an Olympic gold medal in the rapid-fire pistol event.
Participating Nations: 59
Participants: 4,104 athletes (390 women, 3,714 men)
The top three winners were: United States of America, Sweden and France.