Between 2005 and 2007, we set out to create portraits of the British Olympic medal winners from the 1948 London Olmpics.  These were the first post-war games and also the first games that were televised in the UK.  London was still suffering from the ravages of World War II but the spirit of the city and the British public made the Games a great success and gave London a renewed sense of pride and strength.

Over the coming weeks I will be posting images from this series as the 2012 London Games take place on my doorstep.  Each portrait is supported by text, quoting from our conversations with the athletes.

All images copyright Brijesh Patel & Sonali Puri

“The Olympics were on a shoestring budget, no Olympic village, specialist facilities, or official training.  We were put up in the local barracks, trained hard and kept fit by practicing.   Eating the right food was the only way and HM Stationers produced a diet book.  We did it with our own sweat”.

“When I came back from the war, I participated in the trial races and got into the team. Almost immediately I got into the top four in the country for road race and continued racing until 1953.   I was 11 when I started cycling with neighbors in the neighborhood club.  Every Saturday I was out and I then joined the Yorkshire road club that got me racing on the weekend and three evenings a week after work.  I got picked for the games and rode for 4 world champions in 1948, 49, 51 and 52″.