London 2012 Olympics brings back fond memories for 91-year-old Ken Hunting

Ken Hunting, 91, helped organise the 1948 London Olympics

Ken Hunting, 91, helped organise the 1948 London Olympics

First published in News Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE START of the 2012 London Olympics has brought back fond memories for 91-year-old Ken Hunting.

Mr Hunting, who lives at Richmond Village retirement complex in Painswick, was responsible for organising the swimming event as part of the pentathlon during the 1948 London Olympics.
 

"First I had to find an Olympic swimming pool that was the right length. It was then entirely my responsibility to ensure the swimming event ran smoothly," he explained.
 

"I made sure competitors were happy, provided light refreshments and organised hundreds of athletes from 60 competing nations."


While the country was recovering from the Second World War, Mr Hunting was working as an officer instructor at the Army School of Physical Training in Aldershot.
 

The school was charged with the organisation of the modern pentathlon event, which consists of cross country running, swimming, pistol shooting, fencing and horse riding.


A couple of weeks before the games started, Mr Hunting was told that some nations wanted white lines painted on the floor of the pool, in addition to cork and rope lanes.


The local council was unable to empty the pool because the event took place the day after the August bank holiday, however, Mr Hunting had an idea.
 

He said: "It is the biggest brainwave I have ever had. We painted bricks white and dived to the bottom of the pool, placing them in straight lines."
 

Mr Hunting spent two years planning the event and received complimentary tickets to athletics events, boxing matches and the opening and closing ceremonies.


The 1948 games were dubbed The Austerity Olympics and Mr Hunting said he has noticed the vast differences between then and 2012.


"The difference between the games this summer and back then is enormous. It was austerity and we stuck by it," he said.


"We weren't able to erect magnificent buildings, we had to make do with the stadiums that were available.


"The games were beautifully organised and went like a dream without all the razzmatazz you see now. The whole games cost £750,000."
 

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