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Olympic Games 1932, 1936 and 1948: Blast from past

With the Tokyo Olympics approaching, we take a look at interesting facts and trivia about the Games from its previous editions.

Published: 18th July 2021 05:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2021 01:43 PM   |  A+A-

1948 London Olympics saw the American Bob Mathias (C), only 17 at the time, become the youngest gold medalist in the decathlon. He had apparently taken up the sport only four months earlier.

1948 London Olympics saw Bob Mathias (C), only 17 at the time, become the youngest gold medalist in the decathlon. He had apparently taken up the sport only four months earlier. (Photo | AFP)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: With the Tokyo Olympics approaching, PTI takes a look at interesting facts and trivia about the Games from its previous editions.

Here are some highlights and fun facts from the Olympics Games held in 1932, 1936 and 1948.

Los Angeles Olympics (1932) 

*An Olympic Village was built for the first time and became a model for future games, in Baldwin Hills, occupied by male athletes. Female athletes were housed at a hotel.

*The three-tiered victory podium was used for the first time at the Summer Games.

*It was also the first time the national anthem from the gold medalist's country was played and the flag of the winner was raised.

*In field hockey, only three nations took part. The USA lost both matches, 1-24 to India and 2-9 to Japan, but still won a bronze medal.

*Olympic Boulevard, one of LA's most well-known streets, was renamed to honour the Games. It was formerly called 10th Street.

*Due to an official's error, the 3,000 m steeplechase went for 3,460 m or one extra lap.

*Colombia made its first appearance at the Olympic Games.

Berlin Olympics (1936)

*The Berlin Games are best remembered for Adolf Hitler's failed attempt to use them to prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority.

*The 1936 Games were the first to be broadcast on television. Twenty-five television viewing rooms were set up in the Greater Berlin area, allowing the locals to follow the Games free of charge.

*A new 100,000-seat track and field stadium was built for the Games, as well as six gymnasiums and other smaller arenas.

*The 1936 Games were the first to employ the torch relay.

*USA's Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events and became the most successful athlete to compete in Berlin.

*USA's Marjorie Gestring, 13, won the gold medal in springboard diving. She remains the youngest female gold medallist in the history of the Summer Olympic Games.

*Twelve-year-old Inge Sorensen of Denmark earned a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke, making her the youngest medallist ever in an individual event.

*Japanese pole vaulters Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe tied for second place and after that, they refused to compete against each other and then they decided to cut the two medals in half and paste half silver and half bronze into one.

*Basketball, canoeing and field handball all made their first appearances.

*Basketball was played on outdoor tennis courts made of clay and sand.

London Olympics (1948)

*The 1948 Games were held after a 12-year hiatus, caused by the outbreak of World War II.

*Germany and Japan, the defeated powers in World War II, were not invited to participate.

*The Soviet Union did not participate, but the Games were the first to be attended by communist countries, including Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Poland.

*They were known as the "austerity games" because of budgetary restraints.

*There was no Olympic Village; the male athletes were housed at an army camp in Uxbridge, while the women stayed in dormitories at Southlands College.

*Starting blocks for athletes in sprint races (100m to 400m) were introduced for the first time.

*Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen, a 30-year-old mother of two children, won four gold medals. She entered four sprint events and won all four.

*American Bob Mathias became the youngest gold medalist in the decathlon, winning the event at age 17, only four months after taking up the sport.

*Hungarian shooter Karoly Takacs, whose right hand was shattered by a grenade in 1938, taught himself to shoot with his left hand and 10 years later, he won an Olympic gold medal in the rapid-fire pistol event at the 1948 Games.

*Americans, led by diver Sammy Lee, won every men's swimming and diving event.

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