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Helsinki got its chance in the spotlight, 12 years later than scheduled. The Games were destined for Finland in 1940, but were cancelled due to World War II.
Emil Zatopek was the star man in athletics, as he landed a unique treble of 5000m, 10,000m and marathon and the Czech is still the only athlete to have won gold in all three events at the same Olympics.
The Soviet Union entered the Olympics for the first time and their women's gymnasts set about their domination of the team competition. Their stranglehold on the event continued for the next 40 years until the country broke up into separate republics.
Germany and Japan returned to the Games, having been banned in 1948. There were no athletes from East Germany in the team and it was the first and only time German athletes failed to win a gold medal.
The Finnish public were treated to the sight of boxing great Floyd Patterson getting his hands on a gold medal in the middleweight division.