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National Portrait Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Olympic Encounters in 1908
St Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE
United Kingdom

May 29th, 2012 - January 15th, 2013
Prize Winners in the Olympic Games, Sir (John) Benjamin StoneSir (John) Benjamin Stone,
Prize Winners in the Olympic Games,
29 July 1908
© Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery
+44 020 7321 6620
Open daily 10am - 6pm; Late night opening Thursday and Friday until 9pm
Room 25: case display Free

Looking back to the first London Olympic Games held in 1908, this small display focuses on a visit made to the House of Commons by athletes from the American Olympic team following their participation in the event. Taken by the politician and photographer, Sir Benjamin Stone, the group photographs of the smartly dressed athletes include John Baxter Taylor Jr, the first African American to win an Olympic Gold Medal, and Lewis Tewanima, a talented long distance runner and member of the Hopi people from Arizona.

Comprised of three works, chosen out of a set of ten, the display highlights the political dimension of the Games. Many of the athletes featured in the photographs belonged to the Irish American Athletic Club based in New York, and their support of Irish Nationalism had caused some tension during the Games. Stone’s images, such as the one of John J. Hayes, the Irish American marathon winner, seen in a group with John Cullinan, the Irish Nationalist MP for South Tipperary, provide further confirmation of the visiting athletes’ political affiliations.

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