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The Olympic Journey: the story of the Games

Release date:
10 July 2012

Steve Redgrave, Olga Korbut, Balbir Singh, Kelly Holmes, Jesse Owens And Aleksandr Karelin’s

Personal Stories Featured In

  • The Olympic Journey: The Story of The Games
  • Saturday 28 July until Sunday 12 August 2012
  • 10am until 7pm, last admission 6.15pm
  • Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
  • Free entry
  • Watch the trailer video now www.theolympicjourney.co.uk

The personal stories of 16 great Olympians including Steve Redgrave, Olga Korbut, Balbir Singh, Kelly Holmes, Jesse Owens and Aleksandr Karelin are featured as part of The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games at the Royal Opera House from Saturday 28 July until Sunday 12 August.

The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games is a free and unique experience specially created by The Olympic Museum in collaboration with the Royal Opera House and BP, and is part of the London 2012 Festival. It showcases some of the incredible artefacts and images from The Olympic Museum in Lausanne and tells the story of the Olympic Games from its creation in 776BC through to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The stories of the representative 16 athletes are told through interviews, historic footage, photographs and artefacts. Each story tells of human strength and endeavour, of passion, determination, hard work and achievement and demonstrates the values of the Olympic Movement; respect, excellence and friendship.


Steve Redgrave (GBR)


Steve Redgrave was part of the Coxless Four team that triumphed at Sydney 2000. The story demonstrated what could be achieved through intense and disciplined teamwork. It was also five gold medals over five Games for Steve Redgrave.


Olga Korbut (BEL/USSR)


Olga Korbut captured everyone’s heart at the 1972 Munich Olympics when she became the first gymnast to achieve international stardom, receiving 20,000 fan letters from all over the world.


Kelly Holmes (GBR)


Kelly Holmes is only the third woman in Olympic history to win the 800 metres and 1500 metres at the same Games which she did in Athens in 2004 nearing the end of her career.


Balbir Singh (IND)


Balbir Singh’s outstanding performance in the 1948 men’s hockey final saw India secure a win over Great Britain. It was a symbolic victory following India’s independence in 1947.


Jesse Owens (US)


Jesse Owens was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As a black American, his legendary performance and friendship with German competitor Luz Long was a prime example of the Olympic value of friendship.


Charlotte Cooper (GBR)


In 1900 Charlotte Cooper became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Her pioneering achievement inspired a whole generation to prove themselves the equal of men.


Yaping Den (CHN)


Considered too short for competition Yaping Deng was almost prevented from joining the 1996 Chinese table tennis team. However, she turned her height to an advantage with a unique perspective on the game to develop a gold medal winning technique.


Aleksandr Karelin (RU)


One of the greatest Greco-Roman wrestlers of all time, he is famed for the ‘Karelin’ lift. Nick-named the ‘Siberian bear’ he went undefeated for 13 years.


Elana Meyer (RSA) and Derartu Tulu (ETH)


Representing South Africa and Ethiopia, Elana Meyer and Derartu Tulu dominated the final of the 10,000m at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Their joint celebration symbolised a united Africa following the abolition of the apartheid movement.


Abebe Bikila (ETH)


When Abebe Bikila was unable to find a pair of running shoes that fitted, he ran and won the 1960 Olympic marathon barefoot becoming the first black African to win an Olympic gold medal.


Krisztina Egerszegi (HUN)


At just 14, Krisztina Egerszegi amazed the world by beating her seemingly more powerful and experienced opponents and setting a new Olympic record in the women’s 200m backstroke.


Cathy Freeman (AUS)


After taking gold in the 400m final at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Cathy Freeman ran her lap of honour with both the Australian and Aboriginal flags, celebrating her origins and sending out a powerful message of unity around the world.


Edoardo Mangiarotti (ITA)


Although right-handed by nature, Edoardo Mangiarotti learnt to fence with his left hand. His innovative hand-switching technique gave him an advantage over his opponents and helped make him one of the few athletes to have won gold medals in four different Olympic Games.


Nawal El Moutawakels (MAR)


The first Arab woman to compete in the Olympic Games, Nawal El Moutawakels triumphed in the 400m hurdles in Los Angeles marking a landmark moment in the history of the Olympic Games as not only the first to compete but also winning gold in the process.


Teofilo Stevenson (CUB)


Téofilo Stevenson secured his status as the ultimate amateur heavyweight boxer when he won his third gold medal in Moscow. With success came lucrative offers to turn professional, yet he always declined motivated by his love for his nation, not of financial reward.


Fanny Blankers-Koen (NEL)


Nicknamed the ‘flying housewife’, Fanny Blankers-Koen was already 30 years old and a mother of two when she competed in the 1948 Olympics. She silenced her detractors by winning an unprecedented four Olympic gold medals.


For further information and imagery please visit www.theolympicjourney.co.uk/press

Further information



Sheila Williams, BP press office, London, 020 7496 4851, sheila.williams@uk.bp.com

Elizabeth Bell, Royal Opera House, London, 020 7212 9717, elizabeth.bell@roh.org.uk

Simon Magill, Royal Opera House, London, 020 7212 9230, simon.magill@roh.org.uk

IOC Press Office, +41 21 621 6000, pressoffice@olympic.org