The Madeleine Brand Show for July 23, 2012

A look back at the 1948 London 'Austerity' Olympics

London Olympic 1948 Torch

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A torch from London's 1948 Olympics is displayed on February 26, 2008 in London.

In 1948, London played host to the Olympic games just three years after World War II had devastated Europe.

The games were called the "austerity" Olympics - the bare bones event cost only about £750,000, or about $33.1 million in today's currency. The Parliament's estimate of the 2012 Games is £11 billion.

To keep costs down, no new venues were constructed and there was no Olympic village to house the athletes. They were put up in hotels, rooming houses and even private residences. They also had to bring their own food and find their own transportation to the events.

At the decathlon event, the flood lights turned off after dark and the stadium had to be lit by car head lamps.

Olympic historian and NBC commentator, David Wallechinsky, joins the show to talk about the history of the 1948 Olympics.


David Wallechinsky, Olympic historian and commentator for NBC

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