Athletes and Olympians: Royal Air Force Museum gets sporty for London 2012

By Ruth Hazard | 06 August 2012
A photo of a blue and white sports trainer on top of a folded Olympic British flag
© RAF Museum
Exhibition: Athletes and Olympians: Sport in the RAF, Royal Air Force Museum, London, until September 22 2012

Teamwork, self-confidence, daring, initiative and, of course, physical fitness – these may sound like the qualities needed to be an Olympic athlete, but the same list applies to anyone training as Royal Air Force training personnel.

A photo of a sculpted white skier inside a dimly lit museum space with white walls
© RAF Museum
So it should come as no surprise that many members of the RAF have represented Great Britain at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with a host of officers currently competing at London 2012.

Exploring the relationship the RAF has with sport, this exhibition looks into the histories of a selection of personnel who have competed in both Winter and Summer Games, such as hurdler Don Finlay, who achieved bronze and silver medals in during the 1930s.

It will also feature the stories of marathon runners, rowers, discus throwers, skiers and members of bobsleigh teams who were all once officers, alongside the equipment they used to compete.

The display goes onto explore the wider role that games play in the force, not only as a way to develop officers’ key skills, but as a much needed source of morale during operations, especially in during times of crisis.

“As an ex-Serviceman I know how important sport is to retaining military ethos, developing team spirit and allowing post deployment decompression,” says retired Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Butler.

“RAF sport deserves our support.”

  • Open 10am-6pm. Admission free.

More pictures:

A photo of two sweatbands coloured black and white with British Olympic flags on them
© RAF Museum
A photo of a white sculpture of a diving figure protruding from a dimly-lit gallery wall
© RAF Museum
A photo of a flyer for the 11th Olympiad in Los Angeles in 1932, mainly coloured orange
© RAF Museum
A photo of a black ink cartoon illustration of a grinning man running on water with a gun
© RAF Museum
A photo of a white sculptor of a figure hurdling over a barrier labelled royal air force
© RAF Museum
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