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Bradford and the Olympics

The Paralympics and Winter Olympic Games

The Paralympics began when Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised a sporting event for World War Two Veterans who had suffered spinal injuries. The event was held in 1948 in Stoke Mandeville, England. Athletes from the Netherlands joined in 1952 to make the event international.

By the 1960 Rome Olympics a special set of games for disabled athletes had been introduced. As a result the Paralympics is held in conjunction with the Summer Olympic Games and since 1988 at the same venues.

The Winter Olympics is an event held for sports performed on ice or snow and is now held every two years after the summer games. The next Winter games will be held in 2010 in Vancouver.

In 1921 the IOC (International Olympic Committee) decided to host a separate event of winter sports at Chamonix which proved so successful that it became a separate Olympic Games. British highlights of the Winter Games have been the Figure Skaters

Torvill and Dean who won gold with perfect scores in 1984 (a record as yet unbeaten) and ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards, the Ski Jumper who came in last place in 1988.

76-393 Athens
The Ancient Greek Olympic Games

1896 Athens

The French Aristocrat Baron Pierre De Coubertin campaigned for a ‘return’ to the use of the Olympic Games in order to promote national strength and peace between countries through competitive sports. He believed this would help to prevent wars in the future.

14 all male teams competed in the first ‘modern’ Olympics held in the spiritual home of the Ancient Games.

In Bradford - The Manningham Rugby Football Club won the first League Championship. The club later became Bradford City Football Club, but kept its amber and claret strip colours.

1900 Paris

1908 London

1912 Stockholm

1916 Berlin Games cancelled due to World War One

1920 Antwerp

1924 Paris

This was the games immortalised in the 1981 British film ‘Chariots of Fire’, celebrating two British medallists overcoming obstacles of class and religion to succeed. The celebrated USA swimmer Johnny Weissmuller went on to become Hollywood’s Tarzan as a result of his powerful physique and popularity.

In Bradford - The first putting green was built in Bowling Park and the Manningham Mills Ladies Football Team was founded.

1928 Amsterdam

1932 Los Angeles

1936 Berlin

This was the first Olympic Games to be televised, although few people in Europe owned a set. It was broadcast in Germany in public buildings. The games were a public humiliation for Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who hoped to prove ‘Aryan physical supremacy’ and watched African American Athlete Jesse Owens beat all German competitors to win four gold medals.

In Bradford - The BBC began Television broadcasting and the Broomfields Slum area was demolished to make way for new council built housing in an effort to prevent vermin infestation and disease.

1940 Tokyo Games cancelled due to World War Two

1944 London Games cancelled due to World War Two

1948 London

1952 Helsinki

1956 Melbourne

1960 Rome

1964 Tokyo

1968 Mexico City

This Olympic year featured the first drugs disqualification. USA medallists Tommie Smith and John Carlos were both disqualified after making the politically charged ‘Black Power’ salute while on the winner’s podium.

In Bradford - Yorkshire Television was launched at the same time as the new decimal currency began to be used.Yorkshire Television was launched at the same time as the new decimal currency began to be used.

1972 Munich

An otherwise uneventful games was interrupted by Palestinian Terrorists breaking into the Olympic Village and

shooting two Israeli Athletes dead. They took nine others hostages, all of whom were killed in a stand off with police while trying to escape. The games were stopped for two days as a mark of respect.

In Bradford - The last electric trolleybus operated and the Shipley Public Swimming Baths was formally opened.

1976 Montreal

1980 Moscow

At the height of the Cold War, the USA boycotted the games hosted by the USSR. The following games were held in the USA and boycotted by Soviet Countries in retaliation.

In Bradford - The Bradford University Team won ‘University Challenge’ and the former Roxy Silver Dollar Bingo Hall was converted into a large Mosque.

1984 Los Angeles

1988 Seoul

1992 Barcelona

The Ethiopian Derathu Tulu won the 10,000 metres to become the first Black Female African Olympian. In the true spirit of the Olympics, she ran her victory lap with the White South African Medallist Elana Meyer.

In Bradford - The Premier League had been formed, and the Sculpture ‘Granddad’s Clock and Chair’ –
interpretation of a Mill Owners office by Timothy Shutter was installed in Chapel Street, Little Germany.

1996 Atlanta

2000 Sydney

When the 1956 games were held in Australia, very few Athletes were able to travel to compete. Cheaper long haul flights made holding the Olympics here much easier.

The World Doping Agency was present to carry out blood tests on all competitors due to controversy over drug cheating. Steven Redgrave became the first Olympian to win five consecutive gold medals in rowing.

In Bradford - The Bradford Bulls won the Rugby League Cup and the Odeon Picture House on Princes Way was closed and replaced by the Thornbury

2004 Athens

2008 Beijing

2012 London