Before the Olympics turned Horse Guards Parade into a giant sandbox, Britons who wanted to go to the beach would have to travel to Brighton or the Canary Islands.
The host nation didn't do so well on the Olympic sand, either, with both the men's and women's teams failing to advance in the beach volleyball tournament.
In fact, the most famous beach in British history may be from Winston Churchill's address to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, which has come to be known as the "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech. You can find out about it at the Churchill War Rooms, right around the corner from the beach volleyball venue in central London.
Facing increasing losses in World War II, Churchill told Parliament: "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
Housed in the bunker where the top British officials plotted World War II strategy, the museum displays military artifacts from the period and from Churchill's life. You can also listen to excerpts from his speeches, including the only one — well, probably — that refers to an Olympic sport.
If you're in London, check it out. It might be your finest hour.
— Jimmy Golen — Twitter http://twitter.com/jgolen
EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.