1948 Olympics - London

The Summer Olympics were scheduled for Tokyo in 1940, but by mid-1938, Japan was at war with China and withdrew as host. The IOC immediately transferred the Games to Helsinki and the Finns eagerly began preparations only to be invaded by the Soviet Union in 1939.

By then, of course, Germany had marched into Poland and World War II was on. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor two years later, and the bombs didn't stop falling until 1945. Against this backdrop of global conflict, the Olympic Games were cancelled again in 1940 and '44. Many of the participants in the 1936 Games died in the war.

Eager to come back after two dormant Olympiads, the IOC offered the 1948 Games to London. Much of the British capital had been reduced to rubble in the blitz, but the offer was accepted and the Games went on–successfully, without frills, and without invitations extended to Germany and Japan. The Soviet Union was invited, but chose not to show.

The United States reclaimed its place at the top of the overall medal standings, but the primary individual stars were a 30-year-old Dutch mother of two and a 17-year-old kid from California.

Fanny Blankers-Koen duplicated Jesse Owens' track and field grand slam of 12 years before by winning the 100-meter and 200-meter runs, the 80-meter hurdles, and anchoring the women's 4x100-meter relay.

And Bob Mathias, just two months after graduating from Tulare High School, won the gold medal in the decathlon, an event he had taken up for the first time earlier in the year.


Event   Time  
 100m Harrison Dillard, USA 10.3 =OR
  Norwood Ewell, USA 10.4  
  Lloyd LaBeach, PAN 10.4  
 200m Mel Patton, USA 21.1  
  Norwood Ewell, USA 21.1  
  Lloyd LaBeach, PAN 21.2  
 400m Arthur Wint, JAM 46.2  
  Herbert McKenley, JAM 46.4  
  Mal Whitfield, USA 46.9  
 800m Mal Whitfield, USA 1:49.2 OR
  Arthur Wint, JAM 1:49.5  
  Marcel Hansenne, FRA 1:49.8  
1500m Henri Eriksson, SWE 3:49.8  
  Lennart Strand, SWE 3:50.4  
  Willem Slijkhuis, NED 3:50.4  
5000m Gaston Reiff, BEL 14:17.6 OR
  Emil Zátopek, CZE 14:17.8  
  Willem Slijkhuis, NED 14:26.8  
10,000m Emil Zátopek, CZE 29:59.6 OR
  Alain Mimoun, FRA 30:47.4  
  Bertil Albertsson, SWE 30:53.6  
Marathon Delfo Cabrera, ARG 2:34:51.6  
  Thomas Richards, GBR 2:35:07.6  
  Etienne Gailly, BEL 2:35:33.6  
110m H Bill Porter, USA 13.9 OR
  Clyde Scott, USA 14.1  
  Craig Dixon, USA 14.1  
400m H Roy Cochran, USA 51.1 OR
  Duncan White, CEY 51.8  
  Rune Larsson, SWE 52.2  
Thore Sjöstrand, SWE 9:04.6  
  Erik Elmsäter, SWE 9:08.2  
  Gösta Hagström, SWE 9:11.8  
10k Walk John Mikaelsson, SWE 45:13.2  
  Ingemar Johansson, SWE 45:43.8  
  Fritz Schwab, SWI 46:00.2  
50k Walk John Ljunggren, SWE 4:41:52  
  Gaston Godel, SWI 4:48:17  
  Tebbs Lloyd-Johnson, GBR 4:48:31  
4x100m USA (Barney Ewell, Lorenzo Wright,
Harrison Dillard, Mel Patton)
  Great Britain 41.3  
  Italy 41.5  
4x400m USA (Art Harnden, Cliff Bourland,
Roy Cochran, Mal Whitfield)
  France 3:14.8  
  Sweden 3:16.0  
Event   Mark  
High Jump John Winter, AUS 6- 6  
  Björn Paulson, NOR 6-43/4  
  George Stanich, USA 6-43/4  
Pole Vault Guinn Smith, USA 14- 11/4  
  Erkki Kataja, FIN 13-91/4  
  Robert Richards, USA 13-91/4  
Long Jump Willie Steele, USA 25- 8  
  Thomas Bruce, AUS 24-9  
  Herbert Douglas, USA 24-83/4  
Triple Jump Arne Åhman, SWE 50- 61/4  
  George Avery, AUS 50-43/4  
  Ruhi Sarialp, TUR 49-31/2  
Shot Put Wilbur Thompson, USA 56- 2 OR
  Francis Delaney, USA 54-81/2  
  James Fuchs, USA 53-101/4  
Discus Adolfo Consolini, ITA 173- 2 OR
  Giuseppe Tosi, ITA 169-101/2  
  Fortune Gordien, USA 166-61/2  
Hammer Imre Németh, HUN 183-11  
  Ivan Gubijan, YUG 178-01/2  
  Robert Bennett, USA 176-3  
Javelin Tapio Rautavaara, FIN 228-10  
  Steve Seymour, USA 221-71/2  
  József Várszegi, HUN 219-101/2  
Decathlon Bob Mathias, USA 7139 pts  
  Ignace Heinrich, FRA 6974  
  Floyd Simmons, USA 6950  


Event   Time  
 100m Fanny Blankers-Koen, NED 11.9  
  Dorothy Manley, GBR 12.2  
  Shirley Strickland, AUS 12.2  
 200m Fanny Blankers-Koen, NED 24.4  
  Audrey Williamson, GBR 25.1  
  Audrey Patterson, USA 25.2  
 80m H Fanny Blankers-Koen, NED 11.2 OR
  Maureen Gardner, GBR 11.2  
  Shirley Strickland, AUS 11.4  
4x100m NED (Xenia Stad-de Jong, Jeanette
Witziers-Timmer, Gerda
van der Kade-Koudijs,
Fanny Blankers-Koen)
  Australia 47.6  
  Canada 47.8  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Alice Coachman, USA 5- 6 OR
  Dorothy Tyler-Odam, GBR 5-6  
  Micheline Ostermeyer, FRA 5-31/4  
Long Jump Olga Gyarmati, HUN 18- 81/4  
  Noëmi Simonetto De Portela, ARG 18-41/4  
  Ann-Britt Leyman, SWE 18-31/4  
Shot Put Micheline Ostermeyer, FRA 45- 11/2  
  Amelia Piccinini, ITA 42-111/2  
  Ine Schäffer, AUT 42-103/4  
Discus Micheline Ostermeyer, FRA 137- 6  
  Edera Gentile-Cordiale, ITA 135-01/2  
  Jacqueline Mazeas, FRA 132-9  
Javelin Herma Bauma, AUT 149- 6  
  Kaisa Parviainen, FIN 143-8  
  Lily Carlstedt, DEN 140-61/2  
Note: Coachman and Dorothy Odam of Britain tied for 1st place, but Coachman was awarded gold medal for making height on first try.