LONDON - Great Britain
In 1908 and just after the war in 1948, the British capital played host to the summer games.Rome had been chosen to organize the 1908 games, but the Italian capital stepped down. Pierre de Coubertin, then still President of the IOC, was not much in favour of the idea, thinking that the Brits would never be ready in time. But, contrary to expectations, in just ten months, the British organizers built all the necessary facilities.These games were to reveal American athletes Sheppard, Ewry, Flanagan and Sheridan, and Hungarian swimmer Von Halmay.In 1948, the President of the British Olympic Committee moved heaven and earth to host the games and make the phoenix of the Olympic movement rise from the ashes of six years of world war.The Germans and Japanese were not invited. They were held responsible for a war that had cost 45 million lives.The opening ceremony took place at Wembley Stadium in a London that lay partly in ruins from the war that had ended just three years before.Heralding the coming of a new world, two women stood out from the rest: Frenchwoman Michèle Ostermayer and Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen who both collected gold medals.