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Month: January 2017

On This Week – 30th January 2017

30th – Born on this day 1864 in Tipperary, Ireland was James Michel, and, as an athlete, represented the United States at the 1904 Olympics. Mitchell competed as a member of the New York Athletic Club at the games, which were held in St Louis, Missouri. In the 56 lb weight throw he won the bronze medal. In the hammer he finished fifth and in the discus throw he finished sixth. He belonged to a group of Irish-American athletes called The Irish Whales or “The Whales”, they were a group who dominated weight-throwing events in the first two decades of the 20th century. This group dominated the field events,...

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Scientific Management, Sanitation, and Scandal: The Incipient Development of Sports Statistics in Sports Reporting

Sport statistics, sports analysis, and sports analytics are terms used increasingly frequently in the sphere of professional sport. It is evident that the collection and evaluation of ‘data’, to examine past events, or inform future practice, as some form of predictive modelling, is seemingly increasingly necessary in modern-day sport. The quantification of sports performance, which reduces a series of complex interactions, in the playing arena, to numerical data is, at least for the scientist, a process that can viewed as an attempt at increasing objectivity in observing human, and sometimes animal, sports performance. Whilst we view the use of...

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Sam Fritty: A Life in Athletics and Trotting

In January 1912, the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), having decided to appoint ‘a supervising trainer’ and subsidiary trainers prior to the Stockholm Olympics, asked F. W. Parker to accept the position of Chief Athletic Advisor. In March, they accepted his nominations for trainers, selected from a ‘very large number of applications’, including Alec Nelson, William Cross, Bill Thomas, and one S. Fritty. Parker considered Fritty ‘one of our best trainers and if not required for Reading would advise his appointment to one of the London tracks’. While the life courses of many trainers are gradually being uncovered, Fritty has...

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On This Week – 23rd January 2017

23rd – Frederick Holman, British swimmer died on this day in 1913. Born in 1883 he was a member of the Dawlish Swimming club in Devon. Holman represented Great Britain at the 1908 London Olympics winning gold in the 200m breaststroke in a then world record time of 3:09.2 He died of typhoid fever in Exeter aged 29. His brother Frank, learning from Frederick’s great swimming skill, kept himself afloat two hours in the North Atlantic and was rescued from the sinking of the Lusitania.  One of the most successful managers in Football League history, Bob Paisley, was born in...

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Pens at Play in the Low Countries Derby – How football friendlies helped shape sports journalism before the Great War

On Sunday the 10th of March 1912, 13.000 football enthusiasts saw Belgium’s national team lose to the Netherlands one goal by two in Antwerp. The so-called ‘derby of the Low Countries’ had established a venerable history by then. In April 1905, the two national teams had played their first official fixture in Antwerp. Soon, they would square off semi-annually in Antwerp or in Dutch towns like Rotterdam. The derby attested to the growth of football in both countries since the foundation of the Dutch (1889) and Belgian (1895) football associations. A snapshot of the ‘real’ Low Countries derby of...

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