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‘Lynn the Leap’ launches Welsh Olympic tribute exhibition at Parkgate hotel 

23 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Lynn Davies ‘Olympic Tribute’ launch

Some of Wales’ greatest sporting treasures have been assembled for a special ‘Olympic Tribute’ exhibition at Cardiff’s Parkgate Hotel in Westgate Street.

Alongside one of Richard Mead’s three Olympic gold medals is, until it goes to auction next week at Rogers Jones auctioneers at least, the vest in which the great rugby playing athlete Ken Jones was presented a gold medal after the 4 x 100 relay at Wembley Stadium in 1948.

The British sprint quartet finished second to the USA, who were then disqualified. That meant Jones and the British squad went up to receive the gold medal in what was the last track event of that day.

Jones only had the medal for a day because the Americans were reinstated, and the British team was relegated to the silver medal position. It took three months before he received his silver medal in the post.

The vest has been put together with the 1948 Olympic silver medal won by the Abergavenny hockey player Bill Griffiths.

He was in the British team along with fellow Welshman Ron Davies that finished as runners-up to India.

Ken Jones’ running vest

“It is fantastic that we’ve been given this space at The Parkgate Hotel to show off some of our wonderful memorabilia,” said 1964 Olympic gold medalist Lynn Davies, president of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.

“Wales has enjoyed so much success at the Olympic Games down the years and it is great to be able to showcase some of our greatest competitors. With the Paris Olympics just around the corner, this is a timely reminder of the rich Welsh legacy at what is the greatest sports show on earth.

“We’ve also got a very special exhibit from the 1908 Games when Wales actually sent a team to the Olympics. It is a Welsh hockey trials cap and the team went to London and came home with a bronze medal.”

Lynn Davies, 1964. Wikicommons

Davies has contributed the spikes and tracksuit he wore in Tokyo 60 years ago when he stunned reigning champions and world record holder Ralph Boston to win the gold medal with a jump of 8.07 metres.

The exhibition has the length of his victorious jump on the floor. It is accompanied by a health warning – ‘don’t try this at home!’

Gold medals

The Welsh Sports Hall of Fame have also unveiled the special replica gold medals they have had struck for the exhibition to mark the incredible Olympic career of one of Wales’ greatest sporting heroes, Paulo Radmilovic.

Born in Tiger Bay, he became an international water polo player at the age of 15 and played and swam at six Olympics. He captained and coached the British water polo team at four Games and came home with four gold medals – one for swimming (1908) and three for water polo (1908, 1912, 1920).

“The ‘Ramilovic Replicas’ are there to help illustrate the incredible career of one of Wales earliest sporting giants.

Shark man ‘Paulo’, Ely river C.1910 by Cardiff Waterways Map is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

He began swimming in the Cardiff canals and ended up winning four Olympic gold medals, winning a host of British swimming titles and becoming the second British swimmer to be inducted into the World Swimming Hal of Fame in America,” added Davies.

“He went to six Olympics, while David Broome went to five. His riding hat is included among the exhibits, as are blazers from the four time diving competitor Robert Morgan.

“I hope the exhibition will act as a reminder to our great history at the Olympics – we have a list of every Welsh medalist – as well as an inspiration for any youngsters who hope one day to become a gold medalist.”

The public are invited to go and see the exhibition at the Parkgate Hotel in Westgate Street. Report to reception and they will guide you to it.

The latest auction of sporting memorabilia at Rogers Jones Auction house will be on Monday, 1 July at 10.00am. Full catalogue details are available here:

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