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Athletics at the 1948 London Summer Games

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Sports:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 30, 1948
Date Finished: August 7, 1948
Events: 33

Participants: 745 (601 men and 144 women) from 53 countries
Youngest Participant: USA Mae Faggs (16 years, 118 days)
Oldest Participant: GBR Lloyd Johnson (48 years, 116 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): NED Fanny Blankers-Koen (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (27 medals)

Overview

After the ravages of World War II, London seemed an unlikely choice to host the Olympic Games, but as Antwerp had done in 1920, London hosted an austere Olympics, and it has been written that “London saved the Olympic Games.” Track & field was held in Wembley Stadium, which sat 83,000 people. The weather was wet and cool throughout most of the competitions, with several of them being held in downpours. The athletics star was a Dutch housewife, Fanny Blankers-Koen. Koen had competed at the 1936 Olympics in the high jump and running on the 4x100 relay team. By the time of the London Olympics, she was 30 years old, but she was the world record holder in the 100 metres, the 80 metre hurdles, high jump, and long jump. She elected to compete in the 100, 200, high hurdles and on the Dutch relay team, and she won gold medals in all four events, sitting out two events in which she was the world record holder. The 1948 Olympics also saw the Olympic début of two of its great stars, Czech runner Emil Zátopek and American decathlete Bob Mathias. Mathias won the decathlon when only 17-years-old, still the youngest man to win an athletics gold medal at the Olympics, while Zátopek won the 10,000 and placed second in the 5,000. They would both be back for more. As would Blankers-Koen, who competed again in 1952, although she was then past her prime and did not win a medal.

Medalists

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres USA Harrison Dillard USA Barney Ewell PAN Lloyd LaBeach
Men's 200 metres USA Mel Patton USA Barney Ewell PAN Lloyd LaBeach
Men's 400 metres JAM Arthur Wint JAM Herb McKenley USA Mal Whitfield
Men's 800 metres USA Mal Whitfield JAM Arthur Wint FRA Marcel Hansenne
Men's 1,500 metres SWE Henry Eriksson SWE Lennart Strand NED Wim Slijkhuis
Men's 5,000 metres BEL Gaston Reiff TCH Emil Zátopek NED Wim Slijkhuis
Men's 10,000 metres TCH Emil Zátopek FRA Alain Mimoun SWE Bertil Albertsson
Men's Marathon ARG Delfo Cabrera GBR Tom Richards BEL Étienne Gailly
Men's 110 metres Hurdles USA Bill Porter USA Clyde Scott USA Craig Dixon
Men's 400 metres Hurdles USA Roy Cochran SRI Duncan White SWE Rune Larsson
Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase SWE Tore Sjöstrand SWE Erik Elmsäter SWE Göte Hagström
Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States GBR Great Britain ITA Italy
Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay USA United States FRA France SWE Sweden
Men's 10 kilometres Walk SWE John Mikaelsson SWE Ingemar Johansson SUI Fritz Schwab
Men's 50 kilometres Walk SWE John Ljunggren SUI Gaston Godel GBR Lloyd Johnson
Men's High Jump AUS Jack Winter NOR Bjørn Paulson USA George Stanich
Men's Pole Vault USA Guinn Smith FIN Erkki Kataja USA Bob Richards
Men's Long Jump USA Willie Steele AUS Bill Bruce USA Herb Douglas
Men's Triple Jump SWE Arne Åhman AUS George Avery TUR Ruhi Sarıalp
Men's Shot Put USA Wilbur Thompson USA Jim Delaney USA Jim Fuchs
Men's Discus Throw ITA Adolfo Consolini ITA Giuseppe Tosi USA Fortune Gordien
Men's Hammer Throw HUN Imre Németh YUG Ivan Gubijan USA Bob Bennett
Men's Javelin Throw FIN Tapio Rautavaara USA Steve Seymour HUN József Várszegi
Men's Decathlon USA Bob Mathias FRA Ignace Heinrich USA Floyd Simmons
Women's 100 metres NED Fanny Blankers-Koen GBR Dorothy Manley AUS Shirley Strickland de la Hunty
Women's 200 metres NED Fanny Blankers-Koen GBR Audrey Williamson USA Mickey Patterson
Women's 80 metres Hurdles NED Fanny Blankers-Koen GBR Maureen Gardner AUS Shirley Strickland de la Hunty
Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay NED Netherlands AUS Australia CAN Canada
Women's High Jump USA Alice Coachman GBR Dorothy Odam-Tyler FRA Micheline Ostermeyer
Women's Long Jump HUN Olga Gyarmati ARG Noemí Simonetto de Portela SWE Ann-Britt Leyman
Women's Shot Put FRA Micheline Ostermeyer ITA Amelia Piccinini AUT Ine Schäffer
Women's Discus Throw FRA Micheline Ostermeyer ITA Edera Cordiale-Gentile FRA Jacqueline Mazéas
Women's Javelin Throw AUT Herma Bauma FIN Kaisa Parviainen DEN Lily Carlstedt-Kelsby