Did you know? London Olympic ‘firsts’
20 Olympic firsts for the UK:
- In 2012, London will become the firstcity to have hosted the modern Olympic Games three times (1908, 1948 and 2012).
- Wenlock in Shropshire is where Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the IOC, firstdecided to create the modern Olympic Games when in 1890 he witnessed the annual Games organized by a local doctor.
- Stoke Mandeville is the birthplace of the Paralympic movement. The firstorganised athletic event for disabled athletes took place there in 1948 as the Summer Olympics opened in London. Dr. Ludwig Guttmann of Stoke Mandeville Hospital hosted a sports competition for British World War II veteran patients with spinal cord injuries.
- London 2012 is the firstGames to put so much emphasis on arriving by public transport, walking and cycling. A brand new fast train, the “Javelin” will run from King’s Cross station to Stratford International in just seven minutes carrying up to 25,000 passengers per hour from Central London to the Olympic Park.
- London 2012 is the firstParalympic Games for London. The first official Paralympic Games, no longer open solely to war veterans, was held in Rome in 1960.
- London 2012 is the firstGames where the planning for both the Olympics and Paralympics has been fully integrated from the outset, reflecting Britain’s determination that the Games will set new standards for services, facilities and opportunities for disabled people.
- In September 2011, International Paralympic Day was held for the firsttime in the UK rather than Germany and London’s Trafalgar Square played host to a showcase of elite Paralympic sport.
- London 2012 is the firstSummer Games to calculate its complete carbon footprint. It is also hoping to set a new world record for the largest number of people neutralizing their travel carbon to a single event.
- The Olympic Park is the firstand largest new parkland in Europe for more than 150 years. Wetlands and river habitats have been restored from contaminated land.
- London 2012 is the firstOlympics to have offered an international legacy, by promising to use the power of the Games to connect young people with sport. The International Inspiration Programme has already given over 12 million children in 19 countries that opportunity.
- The firstof the Olympic Park’s main venues to be completed was the Velodrome, completed on time and on budget.
- The Olympic stadium is the first80,000-seat stadium to be this light in structure and environmental impact. It contains less than 10,000 tonnes of steel.
- The firstaction of the London 2012 Olympic Games will be the women’s football tournament which kicks off at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Wednesday 25 July, before the opening ceremony.
- At London 2012, for the firsttime, women’s boxing will be included in the Olympic programme with female boxers able to participate in three events.
- Basketball and BMX were the firstcompetitive sports to take place in the Olympic Park as part of the “London Prepares” series of test events, a year before the Games themselves.
- The first(and only) time tug-of-war appeared at the Olympics as an event was at the London Olympics in 1908. Diving and field hockey were also introduced for the first time at the London Olympics in 1908, but managed to last a bit longer…
- The firsttime a marathon was 26 miles and 385 yards long was at the London Olympics in 1908, which was lengthened to ensure that the Royal Family could see the start and end of the race (it started at Windsor Castle and finished in front of the Royal Box at the stadium).
- The firsttime Athletes paraded under their national flags at a ceremony at the start of the Games was at the 1908 Games in London.
- At the 1948 Games in London, for the firsttime: the Games were shown on home television; starting blocks were deployed for sprint races; and a volunteer programme was created to help run the Games.
- London 2012 will have the first Great Britain football team to compete in the Olympics since 1974, when the Football Association scrapped the distinction between professional and amateur players.