by John Greatrex - South London Harriers / Crystal Palace Foundation

Saturday 7th August 1999

International athletics has taken place here for well over a century and in the early 1900's Crystal Palace was considered to have the fastest cinder track surface in London!

In the 1960s, under the inspired leadership of its first director Emlyn Jones, the new Crystal Palace National Sports Centre took over from London's White City as the regular venue for the national AAA's athletics championships. It possessed the first all-weather track in the country.

During the 1970-90s Crystal Palace was the nation's premier athletics stadium: the top choice for international meetings. Here our Olympic, Commonwealth and European Games and World Championship medalists, in the company of a galaxy of other international stars, regularly thrilled the excited crowds with their world class performances.

Prior to the 1976 Montreal Olympics the Palace served as a major training venue for our Gold Medal Olympic Pentathlon Team. Following from this, for the 1988 London Olympic bid, Crystal palace was chosen as the potential site to host the Olympic Pentathlon - it's five events being swimming, horse jumping, shooting, fencing and cross country.

With an athletics tradition older than the modern Olympics and the staging today of the world class CGU British Grand Prix, Crystal Palace can again look forward to building on its past successes and entering the new millennium with renewed confidence. THE PALACE WOULD BE READY TO PLAY ITS PART IN A POTENTIAL 2012 LONDON OLYMPIC BID.

A permanent exhibition of the history of the Crystal Palace can be seen in the Crystal Palace Museum at the top of the park. It tells the story of the first Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851 (The First World Expo) and later moved to this site, where it stood for over eighty years as Britain's world famous cultural mecca for sport and the arts. The museum is open Sundays 11am to 5pm. There is no entry charge.

Transcript of the article on page 12 of the 1999 "CGU Grand Prix - World Class Athletics" official programme, Saturday th August 1999; held at the "Crystal Palace National Sports Centre" and organised by UK Athletics under IAAF rules.

Photograph of 26th July 1902 880 yards:
first - P B Dodd2min 14.2 sec.
second - E Langlais(HCF)
third - J P Denahem

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13/5/03 Last updated 13/5/03; 17/5/03