AS the last pieces of ticker tape are cleaned up at Wembley Stadium and celebratory hangovers finally abate, the country unites in a feeling of pride for Sarina Weigman’s Lionesses and their phenomenal win against Germany in the final of the Women’s Euro 2022.

Although Southampton hosted some of the earlier matches, it wasn’t the first time it played host to a major sporting tournament. In 1908 the Olympics came to town for two days.

The sporting tournament was due to be held in Rome, but London stepped in when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906. The volcano devastated the nearby city of Naples and Rome withdrew from the games.

London was approached by the International Olympic Committee to host the event and with less than two years to prepare the fledgling British Olympic Association (BOA) set to work.

Within 12 months, the world’s first purpose-built Olympic Stadium was erected at Shepherd’s Bush, West London.

The £60,000 bill for the 70,000-seat stadium was met by the organisers of the neighbouring Franco-British Exhibition.

Daily Echo: pic of the boat wolseley siddely which competed in the race on Southampton

The London games, which lasted from July to October, were the first to hold events in different locations to the host city proper.

The yachting events were held at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, while Southampton was selected to host a new sport – motorboating.

There were three categories; the 26ft, 60ft and open class.

The event, strictly for men, involved racing five laps – or 40 nautical miles – around a specific course with average speeds of about 19mph.

Run simultaneously with the annual Motor Yacht Club Regatta, the Olympic races took place on Southampton Water off Netley on August 28 and 29.

Unfortunately, the event was spoiled by the British weather.

Gales blasted the Solent course, which attracted five British boats and one French.

In the first race – a battle between the Duke of Westminster and Lord Howard de Walden – both boats had to withdraw or face sinking.

Daily Echo: 1908 Olympics

However, the club’s headquarters, the ship Enchantress, was the following day packed with supporters eager to cheer on local hero Isacc “Tom” Thornycroft.

The Olympian was the son of Sir John Thornycroft who four years earlier had founded the legendary Thornycroft shipbuilding company on the banks of Woolston.

Thornycroft designed and built his own boat, Gyrinus II, in the family’s boatyard. He won both the Class B and Class C events against scant opposition – in fact, the only other entry in both events failed to complete the course.

While it might not have made for a great spectator sport, Thornycroft was cheered across the finishing line as he completed the course alone in a time of two hours and 28 minutes.

He came very close to making a second Olympic appearance 44 years later. In 1951, at the age of 70, he was an official reserve for the British yachting team and although he went to Finland for the Games, he was not called on to compete.

He died four years later and was remembered as a distinguished sculptor who was integral to the development of the Swallow class.

However, his greatest success as a helmsman came in 1931 when he won the Prince of Wales Cup.

Daily Echo: tom thornycroft, on the right, who won gold, in motorboating at the 1908 olympics

Motorboating was never again seen at the Olympics as it went by the wayside along with other sports such as tug-of-war and polo.

Overall, though, the 1908 Olympics were a triumph. They led to many innovations we now take for granted such as the presence of national teams, the use of international rather than local judges and the awarding of gold, silver and bronze medals.

In all, British competitors won 56 golds – a feat even China would be hard pressed to repeat this month.