Ever wondered what the modern Olympics looked like at its
inception in the nineteenth century? Or what women used wear while swimming or
shooting arrows? Hop into our time machine and go way, way back in Olympic
history. It’s time to go vintage!
Fencing at the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in
1896. Two hundred forty one athletes participated, which is a less than half of
the 2012 U.S. delegation currently on their way to London. Fourteen nations
participated in the event, which lasted only nine days but was hailed as the
most successful international sporting event ever.
The Games of the XXX Olympiad will last 17 days. More
than 200 countries are sending roughly 10,500 athletes to compete in over 300
sports. London is spending more than £9 billion in preparation for the Games.
In 1968, hurdler Norma Enriqueta Basilio of Mexico became
the first woman to light the Olympic cauldron flame during the Mexico City
games. To date, only seven women have done so.
This year, the Olympic torch was lit by an actress dressed
as a high priestess in an elaborate ceremony held inside the Temple of Hera,
which stands on the ruins of the home of the ancient Olympic Games. Talk about a reenactment!
This photo, taken before the 1932 Summer Games in Los
Angeles, shows three-time gold medalist Helene Madison teaching four girls how
to swim. During her career, she broke
more than a dozen world records.
During the last Summer Olympic Games, swimmer Natalie
Coughlin became the first American woman to win six medals in a single
Olympics. This year, she returns to the Games in the 4x100-meter freestyle
relay, an event in which she (and Helene Madison, in 1932) won gold four years
Women archers remove arrows from targets at the 1908 Olympic
Games, held in London. Twenty-two sports were offered, including jeu de paume,
or what we now know as tennis, and tug of war.
Veteran Olympian Allison Williamson of the U.K. wields her bow
in the 2008 Beijing Games. She is the
first British archer to win an Olympic medal since 1908—the year of the previous
photo in this slideshow. This year’s London Games will be her sixth Olympic
Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands won four gold medals
in the 1948 Games in London. And when
she won those medals, she was a 30-year-old mother of two tots. Folks called
her “the Flying Housewife.”
Lolo Jones came into the 2008 Beijing games a favorite to
win the 100-meter hurdles. In the final, she was pulling away from the pack when
she tripped. She finished out of the medals in 7th place, but returns to
the Games this year in the same event.
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 7/17/2012 3:33:00 PM
POSTED IN athlete, sports, water sports, running, olympics, London 2012