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1952 Helsinki Olympics

Wells represented Great Britain at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.


in early 1952, 2 years after settling in New Zealand, and newly married, Peter, with his wife Shirley, caught the Ragitiki passenger ship to England. Peter had decided he wanted to try out for the Great Britain team for the Olympics. He spent the season in London, and a string of strong performances saw him duly selected for the Helsinki Olympic Games.

English News Report: For Wells, 22-year-old Barnetonan, who lives with his parents at 36, Byng Road, the postmans's knock on Monday, when he received the invitation to Helsinki, set the seal on an ambition which had brought this brilliant young high jumper back from New Zealand in February. Wells, who settled in New Zealand after competing in the Empire Games there in 1949-50 returned with one aim in view: a place in the Olympics.

Although he cleared only 6ft. 2in. for second place in the A.A.A. championships at the White City on Saturday ("I must have had an off day" he told me afterwards), Wells' early-season feats earmarked him as a certainty for the team. To his English native record (6ft 6¼in), he added a new Hertfordshire best (6ft 5in) last month. While nobody pretends that Wells or his teammates Alan Paterson and Ron Pavitt can win an Olympics gold medal against the fantastic heights reached by springheeled Americans, all are certain to acquit themselves well.

After the Games, Wells will be returning to Barnet before sailing back to his job in New Zealand.

Travel to Helsinki

The Great Britain team travelled to Helsinki in a chartered Avro York aircraft, the journey taking about 10 hours. The pilot gave the passengers the option of either rough trip through turbulence, or a cold trip above the turbulence. The team opted for a cold trip above the turbulence.

Although the team were unaware of it at the time, the plane got intercepted by a couple of Russian MIG planes when not far from Helsinki, the plane got slightly off course and entered a no fly zone around the Porkkala Naval Base, which was leased to the Soviet Union at the time. Post war relations with the Soviet union were not too good in those days, and their athletic team would not stay in the same accommodation where the rest of the teams stayed.

High Jump Competition

He made it through the qualifying round jumping 1.87m. In the finals, Wells had successful first jumps at 1.70m,1.80m and 1.90m, but missed all three attempts at 1.95m, finishing 11th equal out of 28 finalists.