From Smithsonian Magazine comes an article by sports writer Frank DeFord titled, "The Little-Known History of How the Modern Olympics Got Their Start." Smithsonian Magazine also has a guide to the Olympics.
From CBC News we get Welcome to London's recession Olympics:
We probably can't call them the Austerity Games. That was the title given to the 1948 Olympics that London hosted in the midst of post-war rationing when visiting athletes had to bring their own food and towels and were housed in dormitories, hostels and RAF bases.For more Olympic news check out NBC Olympics and London 2012.
But despite the high-tech glitz — and suddenly ballooning security costs — that is London 2012, there are a couple of hard, recession-lined realities to keep in mind as you take in this year's Summer Games.
One is that London's price tag — approaching $17 billion in public outlays — is far less than the previous Beijing Games and breaks an historical trend of escalating cost for hosting the Olympics.
The other is that the London Olympics will see 538 fewer competitors than the 11,028 athletes who participated in Beijing. That represents the fewest participants in a Summer Olympics in 16 years, since the 1996 Games in Atlanta — when there were 31 fewer events.