About the Games
During the games, a total of 2,008 athletes from 22 countries participated 110 events. Most medals won (from a total of 19 teams) by: 1. Great Britain – 146 (56, 51, 39), 2. USA – 47 (23, 12, 12), 3. Sweden – 25 (8, 6, 11).
The 1908 Summer Olympics were scheduled to be held in Rome, Italy.[ However, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 caused Italy grave financial problems, therefore, a decision was made to relocate the Games to London.
Despite the short notice, the Games were organized exceptionally well. For the first time in history, a stadium was constructed specifically for the Olympics, and swimming events took place in an indoor pool. London 1908 Sumer Olympics became famous in the whole world, therefore the participation in the Olympic Games became the ultimate goal for the planet’s best athletes.
Also, for the first time the Olympic Games Opening ceremony featured the parade of participants. The 1908 Summer Olympics lasted for 187 days, thus becoming the longest in the history of modern Olympic Games. The Games were held alongside the Franco-British Exhibition. Diving, field hockey, and figure skating were introduced to the Olympic Games programme. A joint delegation of Australian and New Zealand athletes competed under the name of Australasia. The Great Britain’s team included Irish athletes. Meanwhile the representatives of Finland which at the time belonged to the Russian participated as a separate team. The organizers changed the distance of the marathon from 42 km to 42 km and 195 m. The last 195 meters were added in order to place the finish line in front of the royal box in the London stadium. This distance became official from the 1924 Games onwards.
London 1908 Summer Olympics website: