Originally awarded to Rome, the 1908 Olympic Games were reassigned to London in 1906 when it became apparent that the Italian city was not prepared and money from the government had to be diverted to rescue and recovery efforts following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm were a model of efficiency, setting a standard for organization for decades to come. The Swedish hosts introduced the use of electronic timing equipment, the photo finish, and a public address system to the Olympic Games.
The 1920 Olympic Games were awarded to Antwerp to honour the suffering that had been inflicted on the Belgian people during World War I. These were the first Games at which only National Olympic Committees could enroll participants.
The second Olympic Games to be held in Paris were much more successful than the first. The number of participating National Olympic Committees jumped from 29 in 1920 to 44. There were more than 1000 journalists in attendance as well as 625,000 spectators, signalling the arrival of the Olympic Games as a major event with widespread appeal.
The 1928 Olympic Games marked the first appearance of the Olympic flame. The main stadium design included a tower topped with a large stone bowl in which a symbolic fire burned for the duration of the Games. Seen for miles around, it indicated where the Games were being held.
Because the 1932 Olympic Games were held in the middle of the Great Depression and in the relatively remote city of Los Angeles given the modes of transportation at the time, the number of athletes participating was the lowest since 1904. Nevertheless, the level of competition was extremely high and 18 world records were either broken or equalled.
One of the lasting legacies from Berlin 1936 is the Olympic torch relay, created to link the modern Games to the Ancient Games. The Games were documented in the first noteworthy official Olympic film, Olympia, by Leni Riefenstahl. These were also the first Games to be broadcast on television, with 25 viewing rooms set up in the greater Berlin area to allow locals to follow the action.
London had been selected to host the 1944 Olympic Games before they were cancelled due to World War II. So after the hostilities ended in 1945, Lord Burghley, chairman of the British Olympic Council, went to the IOC to discuss the possibility of London being the site for the resumption of the Games in 1948. That allotment became official in March 1946, giving organizers just two years to prepare.