The budget for the 2012 Olympic village alone is already a billion pounds short. The likelihood of corporate sponsorship recedes with every day of the credit crunch. How on earth are we going to match the opening and closing ceremonies of Beijing, let along top them? Fortunately, London has been through just such hard times before in the run-up to an Olympics, and in 1948 it showed just how to run a fantastic Games on a tiny budget indeed, make them all the better for it.Janie Hamptons book about the last time the Olympics came to London is a tale of female competitors sewing their own kit, teams ferried to the Games on red London buses and billeted in Spartan hostels or even army camps, and the main stadium being hastily cleared of greyhound racing to allow the athletics to take place. The total budget was 760,000, great athletes like Emil Zatopek and Fanny Blankers-Koen thrilled the crowds, and at the end a profit was turned! This is a book that becomes more relevant and ironically entertaining every day nearer to 2012.

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