The Games of the IV Olympiad*, 1908
The plan was to have the 1908 Games in Rome, but in 1906 Italys notorious volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted, causing so much damage that the Games were moved to London. The 1908 Games were praised for being very well organized - no mean feat given the short two-years notice the organizers had - and it was at these Games that manyOlympic traditions were started, including the use of gold, silver and bronze medals to represent first, second and third place. These were also the first Games to hold an elaborate opening ceremony (previously the Games were opened with a brief speech and not much else), in which the athletes walked in the stadium holding their countrys flag. The stadium itself, White City Stadium, was a first as well – it was the first stadium built especially for the Olympic Games.
The 1908 Games were also the first to be remembered as much for controversy as athletics. To start with, the Swedish and American athletes were put out when the organizers failed to include the two countriesflags in the adornment of the stadium. The Finnish athletes, protesting Russian rule, refused to march under the Russian flag in the opening ceremony. The American athletes refused to bow before the British King. Ireland boycotted the Games entirely, protesting British rule.
The events themselves didnt escape controversy either, and there were many debates over official rulings and final standings. Most famous of these was the marathons contentious finale in which the Italian Dorando Pietri, far in the lead, collapsed from exhaustion near the end, was helped across the finishing line by officials, and is subsequently disqualified because of this help.
Poor Pietri might have won on his own had the length of the course not been lengthened for the 1908 Games. The marathon course, set at the traditional length of 40km (the distance from the town of Marathon to Athens), originally started two kilometers away from Windsor Castle, home of the British Royal Family. However, members of the family requested the race start on the grounds of the castle so that they could have a view of the start. This lengthened the course to 42 km. The planned finishing line, in White City Stadium, was also moved forward so that the race would end just below where King Edward VIII would be seated. This brought the total distance of the race to 42.195 km, which has been the official length of the marathon ever since.
*Youll notice that the Olympic Games are formally numbered using Roman Numerals. In this system, I = 1, V=5 and X=10. So for example, VI = 5+1 = 6, and (a bit trickier) IV = 5-1 = 4. The Beijing Olympics are the Games of the XXIX Olympiad: 10+10+(10-1) = 19. Youll also see that British Kings also use these numbers in their titles, e.g. King Edward VIII. VIII = 5+1+1+1 = 8.
*你也许会注意到奥林匹克运动会正式使用的数字都是罗马数字。在罗马数字系统中， I = 1, V=5 ，而 X=10。所以举例来说， VI = 5+1 = 6, 而(更为复杂) IV = 5-1 = 4。北京奥运会是第24届奥运会：即 XXIX: 10+10+(10-6) = 24。你还可以看到英国国王也在他们的头衔上使用这些罗马数字，例如爱德华国王八世VIII = 5+1+1+1 = 8。