Change and the Olympics

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LONDON — The Olympics are coming to London for the third time.  But they won’t be the same Olympics.

In 1908 they were held all around my house… I mean in this part of South West London.  The events are most famous for causing the odd Marathon distance…

  • The Windsor to West London distance was altered from 25 to 26 miles so that it could start at Windsor Castle.  And then altered again at the request of Princess Mary so that it could start under the royal nursery window. 26 miles, 385 yards it became then.

But they also included an odd list of sports.

  • The events included “tug of war”, lacrosse and Jeu de paume.

The 1948 “austerity games” were also quite exceptional.

For one thing Germany and Japan weren’t invited.  Which seems churlish now…  The USSR was invited but chose not to attend.  And no new venues were created for any event or as accommodation.

(And — I hadn’t know — London won rights to the event ahead of a list of cities that included my home town of Montreal.)

And so the Olympics reinforce some things we heartily believe to be true:

  • Change is good.
  • It’s hard to foresee.
  • What we did last time won’t always work this time.


P.S. If you are interested in reading up on the Olympics, the one to look at is 1904 in St Louise.  Mud fighting.  I need say no more.

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