1934 - London

London steps in to host the British Empire Games that were schedule to take place in South Africa

The 1934 Games were originally awarded to Johannesburg however; the second British Empire Games eventually took place in London.

The reason for this change was to avoid a political crisis over South Africa's Apartheid policy and its implications on visiting Commonwealth athletes and officials. The move came after concerns, particularly from Canada, about the way South Africa would treat black and Asian athletes.

London though, responded well to the change and produced a memorable British Empire Games. In total, six sports were featured in the Games. They were athletics, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, swimming - including diving - and wrestling. 

The majority of the events took place at the White City Stadium in London. The only exceptions to this were the swimming and diving, which took place at the Empire Pool in Wembley and the cycling, which was held outside the English capital at Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester. 

In addition to the 11 nations that had competed at the first ever British Empire Games in Hamilton four years earlier, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Trinidad all made their Commonwealth Games debut in London.

A notable inclusion at the 1934 Games was the Irish Free State. The 1934 Games were the only Games in which they participated, although the 1930 British Empire Games included a team that represented the whole of Ireland.

The 1934 British Empire Games will be well remembered as the first to include women in them. However, careful consideration was given to the events that women competed in to ensure that they were not "too exhaustive". Women’s running events were restricted to the short sprints and a shortened 4 x 220 yard relay, instead of the 4 x 440 yard relay figured in the men's programme.

Despite this, being able to compete in the 1934 British Empire Games was a breakthrough moment for women in sport that would eventually lead to full recognition and programming for women's athletics on the international stage.

The athletes' oath, which is traditionally read at the beginning of every Commonwealth Games, was read by the captain for the England Athletics team, R.L. Howland as follows:

"We declare that we are loyal subjects of His Majesty the King, Emperor, and will take part in the British Empire Games in the spirit of true sportsmanship, recognising the rules which govern them and desirous of participating in them for the honour of our Empire and the Glory of Sport." 

England again topped the medal table ahead of Canada and Australia.

Date Games held: August 4-11

Number of nations represented: 17

Number of competitors: 500

Number of medals awarded: 204

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