by Mika Meskanen from the British Sauna Society
A historic sauna discovery in the UK? That’s right! Only few people knew, that
over 70 years ago
the Finnish team brought a massive sauna bath house to the 1948 London Olympics.
Originally installed in Richmond Park, it was used for relaxation and recovery not just by the Finns, but also many international athletes staying in the Olympic Village.
After the games, the sauna was moved to the sports grounds of Reed Paper Mills in
Kent – where’s it’s been run and used almost daily by a local sports and social club until very recently.
Finnish teams used bring to saunas with them to Olympic Games around the world. Starting
at Paris 1924, where the nine-time gold medallist, long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi credited his successes to regular sauna bathing and sports massage.
Most of the Olympic saunas are however lost. This one is likely the oldest surviving