Ulrich Salchow, such a good skater they named a jump after him

The first Olympic figure skating champion was Sweden’s Ulrich Salchow, winner at London 1908 when the sport was included as part of the Summer Games. Salchow, the winner of seven World Championships titles before the Olympics, easily won the gold medal. The Danish-born Swede won another three world titles after London 1908. In 1909, Salchow landed a jump in competition in which he took off on the back inside edge and landed on the back outside edge of his other foot. This jump is now known as the Salchow jump in his honour. After his competitive days, Salchow remained active in the sport and was President of the International Skating Union from 1925 until 1937.

Only two athletes in Summer Olympic history have won medals competing for different countries

Two athletes have won Summer Olympic gold medals competing for two different nations. Daniel Carroll first won gold in rugby union representing Australia at London 1908 and then again at Antwerp 1920 for the United States after he had stayed in the country following a tour there. The Georgian-born Kakhi Kakhiashvili won his first gold medal in men’s weightlifting under-90 kilograms competing as part of the Unified Team at Barcelona 1992 and later as a Greek citizen at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 in the under-99kg and under-94kg categories.

Taylor becomes first African American to win an Olympic gold medal

John Baxter Taylor Jr. was the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal. Born in Washington D.C. to former slaves, Taylor was a member of the gold medal-winning men's medley relay team at the 1908 Olympics in London. He ran the third leg, performing the 400 metres. Less than five months after returning from London, Taylor died of typhoid fever on December 2, 1908 at the age of 26. The New York Times called him “the world's greatest negro runner”.

Polo made its second appearance in the Olympic Games at London 1908

Polo made its second appearance in the Olympic Games at London 1908 when it took place at the Hurlingham Club, who presented a Challenge Cup to the winner of the tournament. The event consisted of three teams, who all represented the British Olympic Association. There were two teams from England and one from Ireland. The two English teams played each first, with the winner playing against the Irish team. Roehampton won both matches, taking the gold, while the other two teams did not face each other to break the tie for second place and were each awarded silver medals. Polo last appeared on the Olympic programme at Berlin 1936.

London replaces Rome to save the 1908 Olympics

The 1908 Olympics were due to be held in Rome, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 left Italy needing to divert resources into disaster relief and rebuilding. With time running out, the International Olympic Committee asked Britain to step in as host. That gave London less than two years to prepare. But with Lord Desborough, the British Olympic Association's chairman, to the fore, and the support of King Edward VII, the challenge was accepted. A Franco-Britannic Exhibition was to be held in West London in 1908, and Desborough signed a deal that meant, in return for a share of gate receipts, the exhibition organisers agreed to fund and build a 66,000-capacity stadium next to their site, and even donated £2,000 towards its running costs.