Three Olympians who did it for their country, way back in 1948. Portraits by Brijesh Patel & Sonali Puri:
“The training that we went through was very inadequate compared to what takes place these days. £700,000 to stage the entire games! We had a lot of rationing, and red meat was hard to come by to build muscles. So instead we substituted with tinned rabbit from Australia, or white meat. King George sixth opened the games just with the Olympic oath. In 1948 the games were a great boost for the country, to get us back on our feet”.
“It was almost a friendly get-together in 1948, have a race and see what happens! Now it’s terrible – the commercialization and the intensity with which they want to win. One wants to win but not at any price. Get on and do your damnest! Keep off the drugs! Rowing is so very professional now. It is a very expensive sport to be involved in – you need the right equipment, training and funds to make it possible. The future of Olympics is limited. It is being spoilt”.
“I am a very emotional person. I am very patriotic and I learnt that from living in America. I was very emotional about the games in 48. It was a wonderful feeling. London was in very bad situation. Food parcels of tins and meat and toad in the hole/fritters/bacon and eggs were delivered to us. The Germans where not there but it was well represented. The French, Italians and Belgians were the top countries in cycling at that time. We picked up the tab for the games as no one wanted to”.