Wimbledon hosted another historic moment during London 2012 when Andy Murray fired his way to gold, but it wasn't the only time SW19 has hosted the Olympics...
When you think about the type of objects in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum collection, what do you think might be the biggest? A ball throwing machine? A lawn mower? How about the podium used at both the Olympic Games tennis event at Wimbledon and the Paralympic Games wheelchair tennis event at the Olympic Park in Stratford!
For six weeks after The Championships, the AELTC grounds were taken over by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). The Wimbledon purple and green was transformed into the Olympic magenta. Backdrops were changed and new signs were installed, all in preparation for the nine days in which Wimbledon would play host to the Olympic tennis event. The last time Wimbledon was used as an Olympic host venue was 104 years earlier in 1908. During the 1908 games, two tennis events took place – the covered hard court event at Queen’s Club, and the grass court event at the AELTC’s then ground, Worple Road, also in Wimbledon. Despite only taking place one week after The Championships, the newly crowned Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s singles Champions (Arthur Gore and Charlotte Sterry) did not attend. Other great players such as Anthony Wilding also did not attend, which left some of the participating countries’ medal hopes on the younger unknown tennis players.
Tennis was played at the Olympics until 1924, but then it was not until 1988 that it was finally put back on the Olympic schedule.
During the 2012 Olympics, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum was actively collecting objects of interest in relation to the event. One of the items collected was the Olympic podium. At 39cm high and 480cm wide, it is the largest object within the collection. The podium was commissioned by LOCOG who asked students at London’s Royal College of Arts to come up with a fresh design on the traditional podium. The winning design was created by five students who took the lines of the 2012 logo, and re-imagined it as a podium. The main difference between this podium and others was that it was designed with a slope instead of a step – ensuring that it could be used for Olympic and Paralympic events. A total of 40 podiums were created from glass reinforced plastic, for use in 30 venues.
In addition to the podium, one of the more unusual items from the Olympic event is an example of the floral bouquet given to the medallists. Yes, that’s right, a bouquet! In order to preserve it in the collection, we dried the flowers out by hanging the bouquet upside down for 9 days. Other items collected include signs, Games Maker outfits, and the outfit Andy Murray wore when he won Gold.
Did you collect anything from the Olympic Games?
See more of Wimbledon's Olympics collection in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum ...
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all