Recollections of the 1948 London Olympic Games
During the euphoria of the 2012 London Olympics, I was proud to say that I had seen the 1948 London Olympics.
Why it was special to see the 1948 Olympics
Yet everyone younger than me was not particularly impressed. After all, anyone could see any event of the 2012 Olympic Games simply by turning on the television. So it was just assumed that the same was true for the 1948 games. However, of course, televisions did not start getting into homes until the early 1950s, and to see anything of the games, one actually had to be there. The vast majority of the population saw nothing of them other than what they read in the newspaper or saw on cinema newsreels.
What I saw of the games for real
I did not come from a wealthy family. So tickets for an Olympic event was out of the question. What I saw was the Olympic men's marathon, and I saw it by standing with thick crowds of others, along the route which passed near where I lived in Edgware. I was only nine years old at the time and small for my age, so people let me stand in front of them, and I had a good view.
At the same spot, although I can't be certain that it was on the same day, I also saw the Royal Family sweep by in a car. What struck me about them was how quietly magnificent they looked. I realise now that this was because I had never before seen clothes colour-coordinated - due to the austerity and 'make do and mend' policies of all my young years.
Impressions of the athletes
What strikes me now, looking back, is how thin and small the runners were. That must have been due to the austerity and suffering of World War Two but it didn't occur to me at the time as I had nothing else to compare it with.