Please, someone put me out of my misery: I need to know what’s happened to these athletes’ legs. This photograph is taken from the 1948 Olympics Official Report. The photo looks like the beginning of a Dr Who episode: aliens masquerading as athletes at the 1948 Olympics. Is it the result of a weird photo-editing technique/shutter speeds/?
Are these 1948 Olympic athletes really aliens?
We’ve just issued our new catalogue: The Best of British. It’s to remind us of some of our sporting heroes and heralds an exciting summer of sport in the UK. I love the image of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird:
As the 2012 West Indies team wend their way up to Trent Bridge, this week’s featured item is a cracking photograph of Martin & Roach going out to bat at Scarborough during the Windies’ 1928 tour. The 1928 tour was the first official international test match between England and the West Indies. There were high expectations for the Windies’ team after their more informal 1923 UK tour when they had played blindingly good cricket to win 12 matches, draw 7 and lose 7.
The 1928 team’s performance in the UK was much more disappointing . They won only five matches. A player like Challenor, a cornerstone of the team, was now 40 and his batting average had recently slipped from 86 to 27. Martin & Roach were relative rookies, whose potential shone through but fought too much of an uphill battle to change the course of events for the West Indies. The 1929 Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack describes Roach as “the best of the new batsmen and a brilliant fieldsman”, while Martin – a left hander – was “probably the most difficult man on the side to dismiss…and had a happier personal experience in the test matches than any of his colleagues”. He was only once out for less than 20 during the tour and never out for a single figure, which was more than all of his other team mates could claim.
There are two theories as to why Emil Zatopek was called ‘The Czech Locomotive’. One suggests it was because he trained so hard and methodically. The other theory, not quite so flattering, claims it was because he would pant and wheeze so much & looked visibly shattered during a race. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been too bothered if the latter were true. Zatopek had little to prove or feel defensive about. His athletic achievements were huge & are still mostly unequalled.
Born in 1922 in Czechoslovakia, Zatopek won his first Olympic Gold for the 10,000 m at the 1948 London Olympics. Not content with one Olympic Gold medal, Zatopek returned to the Olympics at Helsinki in 1952 to take three more there. He won the 5,000m, the 10,000m and won the first marathon he had ever run by two and a half minutes, achieving all this in an eight day period. Just in case that was not enough to ensure he would be remembered as one of the world’s greatest long distance runners, he set eighteen world records over various distances and won 38 consecutive 10,000 m races between 1948 and 1954. Officially not slow.
Hope we’re not going to peak too early re. London 2012, but we thought we’d start an Olympic Monday series: each Monday we’ll look into a little bit of Olympic history. Some of it will be classic, legendary moments; others more esoteric. But at the least, we hope to provide useful information for pub quizzes, if nothing else!
First Off, possibly slightly arcane but we like lacrosse:
The last time Lacrosse was an Olympic sport: It was at the 1908 London Olympics and herewith the gold medallists: Canada
The 1908 Canadian Lacrosse Olympic Team
Britain won the silver medal, having lost 14-10 to Canada. A great achievement, qualified a little, perhaps, by the fact that they were the only two teams in the Olympic competition! They played to a huge crowd at White City Stadium…immediately before the football finals, which might account for the size of the crowd. It was an exciting game even for those who had never witnessed the fast-paced sport of lacrosse being played before: the match was divided into four quarters. At the end of the 1st quarter, Canada were ahead 5-1; at half time it was 6-2; by the end of the third quarter, the score was 9 all. Such is the speed with which a lacrosse match result can change.
In the end Canada won 14-10 but not before the true Olympic spirit of sportsmanship had been demonstrated: when Canada’s Angus Dillon broke his stick & had trouble finding a replacement, England’s RG Martin agreed to stay out until Dillon returned (fool!…only joking of course, Canada!). At the end of the match, the players exchanged sticks and congratulated each other on a cracking game. Maybe lacrosse needs to be reintroduced as an Olympic sport to reignite the true sporting spirit of the Games.