When The Games Came to London in 1948
Date of publication: April 2012
Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
Janie Hampton's acclaimed The Austerity Olympics vividly depicts the last time the Games came to London, and was shortlisted for the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Her tales of teams ferried to events on double-decker buses, billeted in army camps or sewing their own kit are a world away from the lavish 2012 arenas such as Zaha Hadid's swimming pool, and the massive regeneration of Stratford and surrounding areas. The cost of the 1948 Olympics was less than a hundredth of a percent of 2012's massive budget.
Back then, just after the war, London showed how to run a fantastic Games on a tiny spend of just GBP760,000. The main stadium may have hastily been cleared of greyhound racing to allow the athletics to take place, but great runners like Emil Zatopek and Fanny Blankers-Koen thrilled the crowd, and the indomitable spirit of Londoners cheerfully overcame every obstacle, from equipment shortages to terrible weather.