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Wellcome Image of the Month: Golden oldie

10 Aug, 2012

1912 400m Women's relay swim team

Team GB are flying at London 2012. So far we’ve racked up gold medals in cycling, sailing, tennis, equestrianism, canoeing, rowing, shooting and athletics. But how did we do exactly 100 years ago at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden?

We came third, behind Sweden and the United Sates, with a total of 41 medals; 16 bronze, 15 silver and 10 gold. One of those victorious gold medals was for the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay.

The team, pictured above, was made up of Bella Moore, who was only 17 at the time, Jennie Fletcher, Annie Speirs and Irene Steer. The foursome won the race beating Germany, Austria and Sweden (the only other competing nations in this event) to first position. The team also took part in the individual 100m freestyle; Moore and Steer failed to reach the final, Speirs finished fifth and Fletcher picked up bronze.

Stockholm 1912 was the first Olympic games to stage women’s swimming. Great Britain set the first world record for the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay with a speedy time of 5 minutes and 52 seconds. For comparison, Australia won gold in this event at London 2012 with a time of 3 minutes and 33.15 seconds, a staggering difference of over 2 minutes.

Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. All our images are available in digital form so please click the link above if you would like to use the picture that features in this post, or to quickly find related ones. Many are free to use non-commercially under the terms of a Creative Commons licence and full details of the specific licence for each image are provided.

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