1908 - London

Last Updated: 20/06/12 2:08pm

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John Hayes: Took gold after Pietri was aided.

John Hayes: Took gold after Pietri was aided.

The 1908 Olympics, originally awarded to Rome, was moved to London at short notice when it was clear the Italian capital would not be able to host such an event - and it saw athletes march into the opening ceremony by nation for the first time.

In this Year...

  • Wilbur Wright makes the first official public demonstrations of controlled powered flight in Le Mans, France.
  • Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company release the Model T motor car, priced $825.
  • Bradford Park Avenue and Tottenham Hotspur elected to the Football League after Lincoln City and Stoke FC are expelled.
  • Robert Baden-Powell begins the Boy Scout movement.
  • The Chicago Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers to win the 1908 World Series - their last victory in what is the longest title drought of any major American sports team.
  • Italian football club Internazionale Milan are founded.

A stadium specifically prepared for the Games was sued for the first time and the swimming events took place in a pool, and not open water, for the first time.

British archers William and Charlotte Dod became the first brother and sister medalists when they took gold in the men's and women's individual events.

Oscar Swahn, aged 60, was the oldest-ever competitor to earn an Olympic gold medal winning the running deer shooting, single shot.

Ray Ewry won the standing high jump and the standing long jump for the third time and became the only person in Olympic history to win a career total of eight gold medals in individual events.

The marathon finished in dramatic fashion when a dazed Dorando Pietri, of Italy, entered the stadium first after 26 miles but first went the wrong way, then collapsed on the track five times and was disqualified when officials carried him across the finish line.

American John Hayes was eventually awarded the gold medal.

The marathon event was also a memorable one as it raced from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium, with the distance measuring in at 42km and 195m - the last 195m being incorporated to ensure the runners finished under the Royal Box inside the stadium.

That then became the official Olympic distance from 1924 onwards.

Another new introduction into the program were the Olympic Relays, which were run for the first time over distances of 200m, 400m and 800m.Olympic Stars:

John Taylor was an historic Olympic champion as he became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal when running as part of the United States medley relay team, running the third leg of 400m.

A member of the Irish American Athletic Club, Taylor also ran in the individual 400m and made the final, but there was controversy as John Carpenter was disqualified, all the fellow Americans refused to go in the re-run and Briton Wyndham Halswelle won in the only Olympic walkover in history.

Henry Taylor was jointly the most successful athlete at the 1908 Olympics and was the only Briton to win three golds at one Games until Sir Chris Hoy matched that achievement in Beijing in 2008 - exactly 100 years later.

Taylor won the 400m and 1500m freestyle in London, along with the 4x200m freestyle relay and later went on to win bronze medals in both Stockholm and Antwerp.

Mel Sheppard was the other success story in London with three gold medals of his own, as the American track star won the 800m/1500m double and was also part of the USA medley team - running he final leg.

New Jersey runner Sheppard failed to get into the New York Police Department because of a slightly enlarged heart, but it obviously did his track career no harm as he also added a gold and silver in Stockholm four years later.

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