This day in Olympic history: August 14


Beijing : This day in Olympic history: August 14.

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1952 – Debbie Meyer is born in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1968, as a 16-year-old, she becomes the first-ever female swimmer to win three Olympic gold medals in one competition as she takes the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle. She had earlier won the US Olympic trials over the three distances in world record time. She broke 20 world records during her career.

1948 – The London Olympics close. The Games were due to be held in the English capital in 1944, but had to be called off because of the Second World War and were then held in London four years later. The 1940 Games, which were due to be held first in Tokyo and then moved to Helsinki, had also been called off.

1936 – Basketball first enters the Olympic programme, with the final being played on Aug 14 between the US and Canada. The US took the gold after beating Canada 19-8.

Surprisingly the basketball tournament attracted the highest number of entries of all team sports with 23 nations participating. The governing body used the tournament to see whether the game could be played outdoors and used tennis courts. This caused some problems when the weather was bad.

1932 – The Los Angeles Olympic Games close. The American city had virtually been awarded the right to host the Games by default as there were no other cities bidding. As the word-wide economy was in dire straits at the time, many nations and athletes could not pay for the trip to the US and could not compete. As a result there were fewer than half the competitors as there had been in Amsterdam four years earlier.

1920 – The 1920 Olympics in Antwerp open. The Belgian city had been awarded the right to host them in recognition of the suffering they had incurred during the First World War.

The Games had been scheduled to be hosted by Budapest, but as the Austro-Hungarian Empire had fought alongside the Germans during the war, they were given to Antwerp in April 1919. Hungary, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Turkey were not allowed to participate owing to the war.