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New display at St Fagans celebrates Wales’ Olympic stars

Written by on 22nd July 2021

A new display showcasing objects from Wales’ top Olympians and Paralympians will open at St Fagans National Museum of History on Friday 23 July to mark the beginning of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The display is a partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru and the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and will be available to see in the Wales is…gallery at the Museum.

Explore the stories of some of Wales’ best sportspeople including Welsh water polo player and swimmer, Paulo Radmilovic, who remains Wales’ most successful Olympian with four gold medals from six appearances at the Games; world record breaking freestyle swimmer Irene Steer, the first Welsh woman to win a gold medal, who learned to swim in Roath Park Lake; and Lynn ‘The Leap’ Davies, who won gold in the long jump at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Objects on display will include medals, official Olympic clothing, certificates and photographs. Irene Steer’s gold medal and swimming outfit from the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm is among the star items. It would be 96 years before her achievement was repeated by cyclist Nicole Cook in 2008 in Beijing – on what would have been Steer’s 119th birthday.

Other notable objects include Lynn Davies’ gold medal and running spikes worn during his long jump triumph in Japan 57 years ago; one of equestrian icon Richard Meade’s three Olympic golds, and the silver and bronze medal won by swimmer David Davies.

Fflur Morse, Senior Curator Cultural Life at Amgueddfa Cymru said:

“It is great to be able to display these iconic Olympic objects in the Wales is…gallery for the public to enjoy ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Wales has a strong history of success at the Olympic and Paralympic games, and we are pleased to showcase these objects in partnership with the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.”

Welsh Sports Hall of Fame President, Lynn Davies, said:

“Wales has a wonderful relationship with the Olympic Games that traces all the way back to our first competitor in a British team, Newport gymnast William Lloyd Phillips in Paris in 1900 The great Paulo Radmilovic launched a gold rush in 1908 with two medals at the first London Olympics and there all told there have been 27 gold medals won by Welsh athletes down the years. 

“Nothing can prepare you for the life-changing experience of winning a gold medal at the Olympics. You really do become a member of a very special and exclusive club and being an Olympic champion comes with responsibilities, the main one of which is to inspire future generations through your actions. 

“I hope as many people as possible will take the time to come and have a look at what we’ve been able to put together at St Fagans. It is a small representation of the massive contribution Welsh Olympians have made to Welsh sport, life and culture.” 

The objects will be on display from 23 July until the 2nd October 2021. Entry to St Fagans National Museum of History is free, but all visitors must pre-book their tickets via the museum website.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is a family of seven museums and a collections centre, which are all free to enter thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Together, it is home to the nation’s art, history, heritage and science collections, which will continue to grow so that they can be used and enjoyed by both present and future generations.

St Fagans National Museum of History which explores the history and culture of Wales, won the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019.

As a registered charity, Amgueddfa Cymru is grateful for all support. The events and exhibitions programme is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.