Olympic facts high above the River Thames
At the 1908 London Olympics, Dorando Pietri of Italy was helped across the Marathon finish line because he was near collapse. His win was later disqualified. (Tower Bridge Exhibition/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dizzyingly high above the River Thames, and competing with excellent views of London from Tower Bridge’s glass walkway, is a small but interesting exhibition titled Cities of the Modern Games, running through 30 September.
Spanning the globe and the history of the modern Olympics which began in 1896, the series of 26 posters feature iconic pictures of the host cities and, far more interestingly, facts, medal counts and trivia on each of the Games.
Did you know that the well-known Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmüller won three gold medals for swimming at the 1924 Paris Olympics? Did you know that Australia’s strict quarantine laws meant that the equestrian events of the 1956 Melbourne Games had to be held in Stockholm? More to the point: do you care? If you do, you’ll be briefly engrossed.
This exhibit could be anywhere -- even online -- but it isn’t. It’s suspended 42m above the river, and your admission ticket includes the full historic Tower Bridge tour. You can also time your visit to witness the opening of the drawbridge on the iconic and uniquely combined bascule (balance) and suspension bridge, thanks to an online lift schedule.
Final medal count of the competition? View from Tower Bridge: gold. Olympics exhibit: silver.