Stockholm – Olympic Centennial Jubilee
Edition of the Games: 1912 Summer Olympic Games
Act III – Denouement
Legacy of the Celebrations
Linking Past, Present and Future
The whole idea of the Centennial Jubilee in 2012 was to be future-oriented with the successful 1912 Games as a historic base. The 1912 Olympic Stadium was the hub and other still-existing venues were given attention. One vital part of the Jubilee was to get children and young people interested in sports and physical movement. The historical Olympic angle got support from the fact that 2012 was an Olympic year (London 2012). The different events and activities were spread out all over the City of Stockholm and nearby communities who were involved in the 1912 Games. This gave great opportunities for neighbour communities such as Solna, Sollentuna and Nynäshamn to be important partners in the celebrations. Thanks to excellent cooperation with the NOC during the so-called “Sunshine Days”, the Olympic spirit and its symbols were represented and children and young people were welcomed.
When trying to connect people with an event that has long since passed, it is important to integrate a real and human element into the approach. The Jubilee organisers managed to do this through a number of innovative ideas. For example, relatives of some of the star athletes of the 1912 Games from all over the world were invited to various events, bringing them to the very sites where their ancestors had triumphed. Similarly, the Jubilee Marathon was fully themed in the style of the beginning of the last century. Vintage cars lined the streets and traditional clothing was worn by many of the organisers, athletes and spectators in attendance.
In a nutshell, the legacy of the centenary is threefold:
- Connect the Stockholm residents with their Olympic past and pride;
- Reinvigorate sport practice, physical exercise and an active lifestyle in the City;
- Showcase Stockholm as a world-class City for sports and events.
Heritage of the Jubilee is now considered to be an important part for developing Stockholm as an event City.
History & Story
A historical moment in the spotlight
The 2012 celebrations put particular emphasis on the 1912 Olympic Marathon Race which is considered to be one of the most memorable and dramatic moments in Olympic history. A diverse set of athletes performed on that infamous, hot day: the winner, Kenneth Kane McArthur, born in Ireland and competing for South Africa; the Swedish favourite, Sigge Jacobsson, who ended up in sixth place due to new shoes that chafed his feet; the very young Portuguese runner, Franscisco Lazaro, who tragically fell twice and died the following day; and, the most memorable of them all, Shizo Kanakuri – “The Japanese runner who disappeared”. The latest still embodies today the 1912 Olympic Games. He has been and is honoured in a number of ways in Stockholm.
During the 2012 centenary, special commemorative events were organized with representatives from Japan, Portugal and South Africa who paid tribute to these historic figures.
The 2012 marathon was run on the 100 year-old route. Many runners and spectators were dressed in the spirit of 1912 and many vintage cars could be spotted at many places. Even the water checkpoint had a 1912 flavour.
Zoom on an (extra)ordinary story
The Story of Shizo Kanukari, the Missing Marathonian from Japan
To learn what happened to the “Japanese runner who disappeared” and to see how this story is echoed in the centenary celebrations, read the annexed text!
Reviving the Olympic Flame
The task of reviving the Olympic flame so long after hosting the Olympic Games was not easy. The organisers found that there was a lack of awareness and understanding about the great importance of the 1912 Stockholm Games amongst the local residents except the Olympic Stadium and some long-living human touch stories such as “The Japanese runner who disappeared”.
The educational and cultural aspects of the programme aimed to address this by informing the citizens of the City of the marvellous Olympic history all around them and the important contribution that the Stockholm Games made to the modern version of the Games.
Getting the whole City involved
One of the fundamental goals of the Jubilee was to ensure all areas and all communities across the City felt involved in the celebrations. The 1912 Games took place in a particularly concentrated area within the City and Stockholm has grown immensely since that time. This presented a challenge in trying to balance the connecting with the physical element of the City’s Olympic past and involving the wider communities from across Stockholm.
To do this, special efforts were made to host additional events in targeted areas outside of the centre of the City to get more people involved. While many of the activities and events were based at Olympic sites, these were complimented by others that were dotted evenly across greater Stockholm.
Evaluation of the Jubilee was done on a both formal and informal basis. A huge amount of knowledge and experience was generated by the organisers and the various City departments involved in delivery which has already begun to be used in hosting further international sporting events. The Jubilee celebrations are seen as having been key in this success.
Key indicators have been used to measure the success of the event: 115 events; 25 international competitions; 65 arenas or venues, 10 municipalities involved; 130,000 participants; 20 Olympic historical markers displayed; 10 exhibitions; 68,000 web visits from 101 countries; 55 countries represented in competitions.
In addition to these figures, longer-term projects have been generated thanks to the celebration of the centenary: Sunshine Days (Olympic days; constant preservation work on the Stadium; Permanent Stadium 1912 OG exhibition; discussions on a potential bid for the 2026 YOG, etc.).
The legacy of the Jubilee was an important part of the planning from the very beginning. There are a number of examples:
Almost 30 Olympic Jubilee signs have been put up in and around Stockholm. A special Marathon Pavilion has been opened at the race´s turning point north of Stockholm. Up to 90 percent of the 1912 marathon track is still original. It has now been described in a special brochure as The Marathon Track in order to inspire people to run, walk or to cycle this truly historical track. The permanent Olympic Stadium and 1912 Games exhibition is in use and open for individuals and groups. The idea is to expand the marketing of the “museum” to get more people, both Swedes and international visitors interested. The Stockholm Centennial Jubilee, as we see it, is very suitable as a model for jubilees in other Olympic Cities. The City of Stockholm in cooperation with The Stockholm Sports Historical Association will be happy to offer assistance to those Cities who want to arrange similar jubilees.
The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal.
In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details.
The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional resources can be found through the following links: