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Portraits of Athletes Who Competed at the 1948 Olympic Games


Mal Whitfield, 87, Track

New York Times photographer Damon Winter shot a neat portrait project earlier this year during the London Olympics. Titled Their Golden Years, the Times tracked down former athletes who represented the United States of America during the 1948 Olympic games, which were also held in London. The project provides a neat little biographical glimpse into each athletes life, using before-and-after photos, a brief description of what they did, and short audio interviews in which they share some memories.

Patty Elsener, 82, Diving

Sammy Lee, 91, Diving
Laddie Bakanic, 88, Gymnastics
Bill Smith, 88, Swimming

These athletes experienced a very different Olympic games than the athletes that visited London this year. The 1948 Games were the first ones held after a 12-year break caused by World War II. The New York Times writes,

The United States sent more than 300 athletes, most of them arriving in England on the S.S. America. In London, they found a city wracked by years of bombings. A food-rationing program was still in effect. The organizers could not afford to build an Olympic Village to house the athletes.

Their Golden Years [New York Times]

Image credits: Photographs by Damon Winter/The New York Times and used with permission