Olympian looks back at Games of 1948

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The Olympics which take place in London in 2012 will be a world away from the same event that was last staged in the city in 1948 as one Yorkshirewoman knows only too well.

Food, clothing and fuel was rationed as the nation was still suffering from the effects of the Second World War.

Scarred by the Blitz, London had stepped in at the last minute to stage the global event, which became known as the Austerity Games. Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen was one of the 1948 stars winning four gold medals.

Among those taking part was Audrey Rennard, 15, who was part of the British gymnastics team.

The teenager, whose married name is Audrey Beever, now 78, of Baildon, Bradford, said: “It was the be all and end all in gymnastics to be in the Olympic Games.

“It was amazing when I was in London, you could not walk anywhere without being asked for an autograph.”

She was at the opening ceremony in 1948 and in 2012 has tickets to see a new generation of gymnasts in action.

Another Yorkshire athlete has her own Paralympic dream, and is hoping to compete in 2016 in Rio.

Danielle Bailey, 13, of Otley, who lost her legs and hands to meningitis, took up swimming a year ago and has not looked back.

Under the close eye of instructor Chris Silverwood, she has slashed her times and hopes to be ready for the 2016 Games in Rio when she will be 18.

“I don’t know if I can get there but that will be my aim,” she said.

The 1948 Games used the cinder track of Wembley Stadium as a centrepiece while London 2012 will have a new £486m stadium in Stratford, east London, as the main Olympic venue.