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Olympic Follies: The Madness and Mayhem of…

Olympic Follies: The Madness and Mayhem of the 1908 London Games: A… (2008)

by Graeme Kent

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As an Australian my initial reaction to the 1908 London Olympics was of the infamous moment where Australian boxer (and future movie star) Reginald “Snowy” Baker was defeated in the final by English boxer (and future English cricket captain) J.W.H.T. Douglas. The infamous bit was that the referee was Douglas’s father.

Apparently, there is so much more to the 1908 Olympics than infamy; indeed, the London games had everything one needed to make it a disaster, including mad aristocrats, gold medallists who weren’t even aware they had competed in an Olympics, controversy in the Tug of War (they really need to bring the Tug of War back to the Olympics) and Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle inadvertently breaking all sorts of rules and regulations helping a marathon runner cross the finish line.

Kent does a sound job covering the Games, including the chaotic lead up, the often chaotic Games itself and the lasting changes to the Olympic tradition that the 1908 Games wrought. He also covers the some of the more surprising life paths that some of the leading figures took (Baker claimed to have taught Valentino how to kiss properly, while Douglas and his father drowned in a collision in the Baltic Sea). ( )
  MiaCulpa | May 7, 2017 |
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The 1908 Olympics were a watershed in the history of modern athletics.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A cautionary Olympic history of the games that went badly, with lessons to be drawn for Britain's organising of the 2012 games.

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