The Austerity Olympics– London 1948 and 2012

Posted by pt91 at Oct 20, 2011 10:16 AM |
Public lecture examines how London last hosted a ‘budget’ Olympics

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 20 October 2011

The current economic climate has put financial pressures on hosting the Olympic Games in London for 2012, but a public lecture at the University of Leicester will reveal how Britain managed it once before – and even made a profit.

Janie Hampton, author of The London Olympics – 1908 and 1948 will speak on ‘The Austerity Olympics - How the games came to London in 1948’ for the University’s ‘Insights into the Games’ lecture series on Thursday 3rd November.

Janie Hampton said, “In 1948, food, clothing and petrol were rationed. Athletes brought their own food and slept in school classrooms. The stars were Fanny Blankers-Koen, Emil Zápotek and troupes of Boy Scouts. The British male athletes each got a free pair of Y-front pants. The cinder running track at Wembley came from Leicester.

“I will answer such questions as:

  • Which companies sponsored the 1948 Olympics?

  • What food did the competing nations eat in 1948?

  • How many pairs of Y-fronts were issued to the British Olympic team in 1948?”

Director of Sport at the University Colin Hide said, “Excitement for the London 2012 Games is palpably building, yet we have been here before – twice – and we will become the only country to have hosted the Olympic Games three times. As we look forward it is timely to look back and examine previous games in London and reflect on what they can teach us. We are delighted that Janie can join us and share her knowledge on past Games.”

The lecture will be held on 3 November at 5.30pm in Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1. Open to all, request your free tickets in advance via or on the door on the night.

Notes to Editors:

Janie Hampton has written more than fifteen books, including the biography of Joyce Grenfell and How the Girl Guides Won the War.  The Austerity Olympics, was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize and the British Sports Book Awards’s best biography prize.

Janie lives in Oxford and is available for interview.   Contact her on

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