The 1940 Olympics were awarded first to Tokyo and then, after the outbreak of war between Japan and China, to Helsinki. They were cancelled after the outbreak of the Second World War.
The 1944 Games were awarded to London and then postponed as the conflict continued. They finally took place in 1948 with the world at peace but the economy in pieces. Rationing was still in place and for the second time Great Britain delivered a cut-price Olympics.
More than 4,000 athletes attended from 59 countries but there was no shiny new Olympic Village; the men stayed in Royal Air Force or Army barracks and the women were upgraded to colleges. Some reports indicate that the Dutch delivered 100 tons of fruit to London for the Games, with the Danes contributing 160,000 eggs.
The action centred on Wembley Stadium, and TV pictures were beamed to about 80,000 receivers in the area. Germany and Japan were excluded from the event. Newcomers included Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, whose success at the Games has been modest, and Jamaica, who have made rather more impact.
In the absence of Japan, the United States cleaned up in the swimming events, winning all the men's gold medals. And with the Germans only able to watch from afar there were opportunities for others in the equestrian competitions, including two gold medals for Mexico, their first in Olympic history.
There was no one from Russia either, with the result that Finland claimed six gold medals for gymnastics and Switzerland three.
The United States finished top of the medals table with Sweden runners-up, the Swedish collection including five gold medals for athletics, five for wrestling and four for canoeing, plus the football title.
The Czech distance runner Emil Zátopek announced his arrival with silver in the 5,000m and gold in the 10,000m. Jamaica theirs with gold and silver in the 400m, and another silver at 800m.
After winning the 100m, Blankers-Koen set Olympic records in the 80m hurdles and the 200m, a new event for women. In then winning the sprint relay she became the only woman to secure four athletics gold medals at the same Games, a record which still stands.
Blankers-Koen's achievement may have been all the greater. She arrived in London as the world record holder for the long jump and high jump, but in keeping with the theme of the Games decided to ration her effort and concentrate on the four events that brought gold.